Signed in as:
Signed in as:
Education is at its essence, learning about life through participation and relationship in community, including not only people, but plants, animals and the whole of nature. The purpose of education is to engage students in learning processes that facilitate the development of their human potential through creative transformation.”
Gregory Cajete, Look to the Mountain: An Ecology of Indigenous Education, 1994
This year marked the official ‘end’ of the pandemic and a return to ‘normal’ life - at least on the surface of things. For most of us, we find ourselves in the long shadow of COVID, inhabiting an uncertain world that is more visibly fractured, precarious and in need of care. How do we pick up the threads of our lives, such as they now are, and find the courage to live into new stories of our becoming in ways that are open and attentive to the deeper call for healing and connection within ourselves, with others in our community, and with the natural world.
Across all 14 AIRS studios this year, artists have created unique artmaking experiences that invite students across the whole school to slow down and connect with the story of who they are in themselves and in relation through creative transformation. In this exhibition you will find stories of discovery and wonder through co-creative participation and curious play with nature, in the alchemy of plant based inks and flower activated photographic developers, the slow and intimate encounter depicted in botanical inspired drawings, tracings, rubbings and prints, material explorations of mycelium networks, growth patterns and moonlight, and the ephemeral play of light and shadow that reveals the beauty and story within ordinary life.
There are stories too of freedom and self discovery through purposeful mark making explorations, upcycled fashion garments, biomorphic panorama portraits and the transformation of carved formline shapes into imaginary worlds. There are also poignant and personal stories, of love, loss and longing in sculpted vessels, stitched bandages, collagraph prints and the animation of family archives. These are set against the shared stories of who we are together, the stories that emerge through and in the collaborative making processes; embroidered conversations, felted landscapes and the magical art of shadow puppetry.
The artworks, artifacts and their documented process in this exhibition offer just a small glimpse into the depth and breadth of the artmaking encounters of students in the AIRS studios this year. Each mark and expression, whether tentative, emphatic or made in joyful abandon, is an act of intention that carries a story of the self in its truth and its becoming in relation to the world. In this way art making is inherently an act of courage and profound generosity; a reaching out in trust. We honor the work of students in reciprocity, by taking seriously these stories of courage and transformation; to be open to receiving and learning from them – and to be ourselves transformed.
AIRS artists had the privilege of starting our year with an inspirational session with Indigenous artist and educator Candice Halls-Howcroft, Squamish Nation. Candice shared the Circle of Courage developed by Martin Brokenleg, as an educational framework based on the medicine wheel. This framework is grounded in an Indigenous worldview that places the unique gifting of each child at the centre and the learning process as a context for revealing and nurturing this gifting. The circle begins with Belonging, and the knowledge of love and acceptance, through Mastery and the acquisition of new skills, to Independence and the ability to direct learning to creative expression, and finally to Generosity where knowledge is gifted back to the community in reciprocity, a process which reaffirms the child’s belonging. We considered this framework in the context of our studio work this year, as setting an environment for this transformation through art.
Visit our Snapshots from the Studio page for a glimpse into each AIRS studio this year.
We invite you to be part of our story in realizing the transformative potential of the arts for children in schools. All donations, big and small, make a difference.
The Artist In Residence Studio program is honoured to be working together on the unceded, unsurrendered and traditional territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm|Musqueam, Sḵwxwú7mesh|Squamish & səlilwətaɬ |Tsleil-Waututh people, where we learn, live and work. We humbly acknowledge that we are unlearning and relearning and with this acknowledgement comes the commitment to engage in ongoing acts of reconciliation.