In addition to the Bird and Colour storytelling by Simon James the kids ventured outside, we walked the field to seek birds nests in the surrounding trees and were challenged to stay quiet and listen for bird calls amidst the surrounding noise of the urban landscape. Each child was encouraged to pick up a stick as if they were a flying bird creating a nest, this was by intention as it ties into the future workshops later in the phase.
When we gathered back to the canoe garden we gathered the sticks, analyzed it and challenged everyone’s imagination to what the shape of the stick could look like, maybe its a mountain, a wave or even a mustache. The importance of identifying a branch, analyzing its shape helped in the next task of harvesting. A number of plants were harvested and the kids were tasked with separating a small flower, from the leaves and the roots.
Fall is also a traditional fish harvest time for many indigenous peoples, recreational and commercial fishers in acknowledgement of this time a small leather craft and sample of various fish skins was presented. Making fish leather will hopefully be a future activity.
I am a contemporary outsider artist that believes in the healing properties of the natural environment. I paint landscapes in abstract as an expression of my connection with nature and its ability to provide me peaceful inspiration. As organisms on this earth I believe we are interconnected with nature and highly interdependent.
But as the psycho-social environment we live in today gets ever increasingly complex its effects on us are becoming more pervasive, corroding and sophisticated. However the energy, peace and serenity of our natural surroundings can provide a way of grounding our senses and healing our minds. I try to capture the interrelationship between my mind and nature as I see and feel it; it’s an expression of my soul captured on a physical medium and in a point in time. Going through the process in itself contributes to balance.
Driven by my own lived experience, I am a self proclaimed arts-based advocate for mental health and strive to demystify and eliminate stigma around these issues. My initiatives in this regard include being the Vancouver Caucus leader for the Artist Alliance for Mental Health, a collective member (2010) of the artist-run Gallery Gachet in Vancouver and the Producer and Host of Sound Therapy Radio a peer oriented mental wellness show on CJSF 90.1 FM. I have a true belief in human potential and in the statement; ‘art is a means for survival’.
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