Highlighting Cultural Pride With Art

OHSWEKEN – In the afternoon of Tuesday, May 24, three women presented an intriguing art program dubbed the Alapinta Project to councillors within the Elected Council Building.

Aboriginal Student Support Coordinator at Wilfrid Laurier University Bonnie Whitlow, alongside Vanessa Oliver and Kari Brozowski, presented the idea to Elected Council members with the main idea of “cultural pride.”

“Because Bonnie was inspired by the Alapinta mural artists, the idea was to have a cultural exchange with indigenous people as well as non-indigenous people,” said Oliver, who is also an Assistant Professor in Youth and Childrens Studies at Wilfred Laurier University.

“The Alapinta are from Chile and they mostly speak Spanish,” continued Oliver. “They go around the world and create these huge, wonderful murals and they’ve become quite famous for doing it. So, they’re going to come and work with the youth in how to envision traditional teachings in their work,” she said, explaining that the Alapinta artists will arrive in September of this year.

As well, just this passed week within the Six Nations Community, the Group of Six – a talented group of six young artists – showcased their artwork within the “Everything Cornhusk” gallery, but this project in particular is aiming at producing two murals that will last through time.

“This work has to go onto a large space, so it’s really up to the community to decide which wall,” said Whitlow, as she motioned to an image depicting the Iroquois Lacrosse Arena, the Six Nations Tourism Building, and Gaylord Powless Arena and the soon-to-be Youth and Elders Centre.

The project wants to bring together 40-50 young artists to several workshops, whereby at the end, they will paint the two cultural murals with one located in Brantford, and the other within Six Nations.

“We are hoping that the Youth and Elders Centre will be open by September,” she said. “If it works out, and I’m hoping it will, we would like to put [the mural] on the wall of the Youth and Elders Centre,” she said.

But, as of right now, the project has brought together three youth for a Youth Advisory Council, which will be working towards promoting the project until it’s beginning by hosting information booths at youth focused events. With success, this project hopes to host the workshops from September 16-19 of this year, with several functions thereafter; including a Community Celebration for October 1, with A Tribe Called Red hoped to deejay.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Youth Advisory Council (there are three spots remaining), or would like to be an artist participant; simply contact Bonnie Whitlow at: bwhitlow@wlu.ca, or call: (519)756-8228 ext. 5884.

Related Posts