The City of Oshawa began collaborating with Durham College’s Community Collaborations Course in 2015. Over the past four years, student's work has been showcased in three murals located at Civic Square (located on Centre Street at City Hall), vinyl images affixed to the windows of the Arts Resource Centre, and in Alexandra Park adjacent to Lakeridge Health Oshawa as well as inside the hospital. For the 2019/2020 project, we will be choosing locations in our Community Centres and Oshawa Seniors Community Centres.
It is important for me as an artist to witness stories and create visual evidence of the intangible and tangible.
Memories, dreams, experiences, thoughts, feelings, and identity.
Projects described here revolve around my role as a listener and an artist. Listening to participants may involve sitting in the same physical space as another person, collecting content over the internet in writing, collecting pre-recorded audio or stories by mail.
The majority of these projects focus on creating visual art that interprets anonymously contributed stories. Some projects will present the opportunity for the stories to be shared along with the art. Other projects will conceal the story leaving only the visual interpretation accessible to the public. For some projects there will be readings of contributed stories and opportunities for the participants to share their identity if they choose to.
Providing the opportunity for anonymous sharing, protecting the anonymity of participants is important to me. We live in a world where it is 'easy' to share, through various platforms, in various ways, at any time about anything. But some of the most important parts of ourselves, the most challenging, important stories we have to share, if shared directly, publicly, could put us in a vulnerable position we are not ready to be in. I want to provide visual interpretation of stories and parts of people who want to share, who seek to benefit others through sharing, without requiring participants to give up their privacy. As these projects continue I would also like to offer workshops where I help teach others how to create visual interpretations of their own stories, thoughts, feelings, dreams and identities. I would do this through the teaching of basic drawing skills, the use of collage, creation of literal and symbolic imagery.
I have the opportunity to speak through my art about my experiences and identity. I have the ability to create representation of my self. I want to do this for the experiences and identities of other people. I want participants to experience their story being visualized, being witnessed, helping others by making them feel less isolated and maybe even more supported.
I am creating projects that allow for different kinds of social connection, both direct and indirect. Some projects will have a broad focus with others will focus on specific groups of people, with specific experiences. Through these projects I am here to serve as a listener and a visual interpreter. I am a stranger, listening.