Last night was Richmond Advocacy and Support Committee Public Forum. This event created a space for lived experience experts to speak out through story telling, poetry, music, drama, and art on issues that affect them daily. I've been working with the committee for the past few months to create a visual art installation that explores participant's experiences of housing and homelessness.
With disposable film cameras participants documented their first-hand contact with homelessness, poverty, and unstable living situations. We then combined the photos with text generated by the group, and worked together to build a delicate house shaped structure with walls of suspended images.
In this way, participant’s artwork was combined to form an installation which visitors could not only view but also enter, evoking the impression of an ephemeral and unsubstantial shelter.
It was such a delight to work with this group and see all their creativity presented last night. I'm so proud of everyone involved and honoured to have been a part of it.
Thank you so much everyone who joined us at today's Gifts for Neighbours workshop! What a lovely group of creative folks.
We designed and created our own stamps to decorate bags with vibrant patterns. Once the bags were stamped, filled with treats, and labelled, participants took them home to give to a neighbour, friend, or community member. In this way the effects of the workshop will spread outwards, building positive interactions between neighbours, sparking moments of delight, and inviting us to investigate how we can use creativity and playfulness to connect with our community.
Many beautiful patterns were created. I loved watching each art piece grow more and more colourful and layered.
Some stamps were bold simple shapes, other were detailed and delicate.
One efficient participant made a beautiful stamp from other people's tiny scraps!:
And this clever artist figured out how to create stamps with multiple parts, allowing images with multiple colours!:
We had lots of treats on hand to fill up our bags.
I wonder who all the lucky recipients will be?
Wow! We had such an incredible weekend presenting You Are Here at Doors Open Richmond with over 200 visitors to the house!
We displayed the beautiful collaborative art projects created by community members at the last four workshops, including Paper Neighbourhood, a collection of sculptural homes created using mixed media and collage. To create this piece community members delved into their imaginations to build fantastical dream homes, homes remembered from the past, and homes hoped for in the future. Combined, these homes make a delicate and surreal paper neighbourhood.
Archival Photo Shadowboxes: To create Archival Photo Shadowboxes, community members combined photos from the Richmond City Archives with text, ephemera, and found objects to create thought provoking assemblages, each containing it's own story and link to the past of this place.
Altered Map Garland: Altered Map Garland uses maps as a canvas to explore personal interpretations of the local landscape. Community members used printmaking, drawing, painting, and stamping to add symbols, text, and imagery to maps of Richmond, Vancouver, and other parts of the Lower Mainland. We also had an atlas on hand so people could select maps from elsewhere in the world: places we come from, have visited, of have significance to each of us.
And Artist Walking Map: a collaborative portrait of the neighbourhood's meaningful minutiae. Community members went for "artist walks" in the yard or surrounding area, slowing down to notice and sketch overlooked details of the landscape. A balloon caught in a tree, an initial written in the sidewalk, a hummingbird overhead: looking through the eyes of an artist the ordinary becomes captivating, worthy of documentation and celebration.
I also presented my project Walking Atlas. Walking Atlas is an interactive installation of handmade maps, each one representing a different perspective of the same local landscape.
These maps document the process of arrival in a new home and neighbourhood, using personal mapmaking to capture fleeting and often overlooked details of Steveston.
Redrawing the world through a lens of curiosity and wonder, maps include the locations of Steveston’s bird’s nests, where to find the neighbourhood’s most exceptional lawn ornaments, and a commemorative map of last winter's snowmen. Visitors to the installation were invited to take copies of the maps with them to use as navigational guides to re-imagine familiar places.
Walking Atlas documents and celebrates the inconspicuous minutia of Steveston and encourages participants to explore their neighbourhood through a fun, unique and thought-provoking lens.
I was thrilled by visitor's response to You Are Here. Community members who had participated in workshops were proud and excited to see their artwork publicly exhibited. Some people had never been to the house before and were interested to learn about upcoming workshops they could attend. Many folks took maps with them and were excited to check out their unconventional local landmarks.
Photos by Liam O'Brien.