Youth Voices of Neskantaga (finished)
Our team is deeply saddened by the latest news we received from Neskantaga. A young person, involved in creating the art we would like to share, committed suicide this weekend. Together with the community, we have decided to postpone the exhibition to mid-July to give the community time to grieve and to ensure that some of the youth will be able to participate in the art show.
We would like to honor this young life with a candlelight vigil and show our deep concerns and caring thoughts for the community.
We will still meet at Beit Zatoun at 7pm on the 20th of June. You are welcome to join us for this memorial.
In May of 2013, a team of 17 people from Mamow Sha-way-gi-kay-win: North-South Partnership for Children and Ryerson University traveled to Neskantaga First Nation. About a month before we arrived, Neskantaga had declared a state of emergency; the suicide of a youth in the community had taken community members and leadership to a point where they needed support from others.
While in Neskantaga, we made a special effort to connect with young people who so often are able to find hope and comfort in art media. We worked hard with the community to organize an Arts and Music Festival with musical performances and visual art displays from local bands and performers and playful popsicle-stick creations by the children on display. Each of the young people in the community were able to showcase their own talents and abilities in a positive, supportive environment and family and friends felt huge amounts of pride in what their young people had achieved.
This evening did so much to bring the community together and we were truly impressed by the quality of work that was produced in such a short period of time. We couldn't see this night end here; our team and the community had bigger ideas for this event.
With permission from the artists and the community, a number of art pieces traveled back to Toronto with the North-South Partnership. In honor of the strength and vibrance of Neskantaga First Nation and appropriately timed around National Aboriginal Day, we are organizing an event to showcase this work here in Toronto. Opening night will be June 20th and the art will remain on display for two or three days to follow, so please pencil the dates in your calendars and stay tuned for more information!