(Un)Settled

 

(Un)Settled

21 June –  3 August 2018
Hazel McCallion Campus B-Wing Gallery

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What does it mean to be “Canadian”? The answer is not always the same for everyone.

As Settler peoples, we may answer this question without reconciling our relationship with the land, the systems of governance and the stories of how our nation was built. As Indigenous peoples, our answer to this question may recall a dark and troubled colonial history.

Over the 2017-18 academic year, visual arts students and teachers in high schools throughout the Peel District School Board studied the histories of Indigenous peoples. At the same time, they learned about Settlers — both those who have a long history in Canada and those who arrived more recently through immigration or asylum seeking. This exhibition documents the student and teacher unpacking the narrative of Canada as a nation that has, and continues to, engage in a process of settler colonialism.

The collaborative learning of our collective history is the foundation for the artworks you see here. Through their work, these young artists seek to unsettle the Settler status quo and honour the Haudenosaunee Kaswentha, an original covenant for how Indigenous and non-indigenous peoples are to live together on Turtle Island. By examining their own identities and the contemporary relationship between Indigenous and Settler peoples, Peel District School Board students imagine possible futures for a decolonized Canada.

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Walk The Art has been going strong in the Peel District School Board since 2000 thanks to tireless organizers Brett Boivin and Amie Tolton. Walk the Art has expanded its mandate to encourage the exploration of Social Justice Issues in general through Artistic expression. Each secondary school in the Peel District School Board submitted three works to the show annually, yielding a show of about 100 works by youth with a diversity of backgrounds and concerns.

In 2014, Walk the Art found its third partnership of organizers in Arlene San Agustin and Brian Leichnitz. During this transitional period, Walk the Art is was revisioned to continue the promotion of social justice and environmental advocacy that the exhibition has been known. In 2018, in response to the sequicentennial of Canada, Walk the Art once again refocussed its direction, specifically in support of the calls to action in education under the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It is at this time that Walk the Art found its new home and partnership with Sheridan College Creative Galleries (Hazel McCallion Campus) and curator Catherine Hale.

 

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