In November of 2014, The Winnipeg Boldness Project unveiled our PhotoVoice project. “Through my Own Eyes: A Visual Narrative of Life in the North End,” was created through sharing cameras with residents of Point Douglas, and asking them to document what was special to them in their community. The resulting piece combined both research and artistic expression, and was a creative way to engage the community and find out what is really important to the families who live in the North End.
Now that the PhotoVoice is complete and making its rounds at various locations around the city (the United Way, the Millennium Library, The University of Manitoba, and the Legislative Building, to name a few), the project was looking for a new activity in which we could engage with North End families. Creating a research based community mosaic seemed like a productive way to get feedback from the families living in Point Douglas, all while creating a piece of art that could travel around the community, and other locations in the city.
A mosaic is an art piece created by bringing together many small elements to create a large, singular whole. Every individual piece is important, and if one piece were to go missing, the mosaic wouldn’t be complete. This ancient art practice is still being continued today, and the mosaic is often used to create a visual narrative that will document civilizations. From agricultural practices to revolution, throughout history, these art pieces communicate what is most important to the people who made them. Through the adaptation of this art practice into a research tool, the Winnipeg Boldness Project set out to ask North Enders, “What is the most important contributing factor to the success of families living in Point Douglas?”
Over the summer of 2015, the Project invited residents of Point Douglas to design their own tile for this community mosaic art piece. By attending events such as the Austin Street Festival and Picnic and the Park, nearly one hundred different contributions were made. Over half of those tiles clearly stated that “love” was the most important thing to families living in Point Douglas. Other important themes included drawings of happy, smiling families, and Indigenous knowledge rooted in the seven sacred teachings.
Together with the Project’s Parent Guide Group, the project reflected on the overwhelming themes of love and togetherness that are so prominent in Point Douglas. Our Guide Group members agreed that families in Point Douglas share many of the same struggles and experiences, and felt that the mosaic was a valuable tool in sharing their stories. The name, “Our Roots: Where We Belong,” expresses the strength of the North End’s spirit – a community who stands strong together, strives together.
Kevin Shingoose, a Point Douglas father who participates in our Parent Guide Group, painted the black and white background to complete the piece, with his own original artwork.
On October 8th, we are opening the doors of our office space for the big reveal, and hope that community members and those interested in community development will join us for a small reception with refreshments. Afterwards, the piece will start is own journey around the city, similar to the PhotoVoice, and we will start to brainstorm our next art informed research project.
Our Roots: Where We Belong
Mosaic Community Art Piece Unveiling
Date: October 8, 2015
Time: 4:00 – 6:00 PM
Location: Unit 5 – 585 Jarvis Ave