The Art of Reconciliation
Advancing Reconciliation Efforts Through Art
What is the Art of Reconciliation?
The Art of Reconciliation is a program for Indigenous and non-Indigenous young people aged 18-29 to help them explore how they feel about reconciliation. Participants are invited to create artwork based on their own personal perspectives of what Reconciliation means to them. The art making process follows a series of preparatory workshops to help them explore the theme of Reconciliation while being supported therapeutically by an Art Therapist. Participant’s final artwork and their artist statements are thus the result of weeks of reflection, group discussion and deep learning. Public exhibitions help bring the broader community into the Reconciliation dialogue.
Core to the design of the project is equal representation from both Indigenous People and Canadian Settlers. We believe that if Reconciliation is to happen, we need to learn from one another, form new friendships and take action together. The project partnership between Debbie (Settler of European Descent) and Tanya (Teme-Augama Anishnabai) role models this aspiration. We use Indigenous ways of knowing, teachings and cultural sharing throughout the project.
In May 2019, the Art of Reconciliation was conceptually created by Art Therapist, Debbie Douez, and Tanya Clarmont from the Victoria Native Friendship Centre. Over the course of several months, Tanya and Debbie led a series of community consultations and individual meetings with local members of the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations, potential partners and numerous community leaders in the township of Esquimalt. Many of those dialogues went on to inform the project structure and the importance of ensuring all participants get a strong grounding in Indigenous and colonial history. A vision for the project was created.