In 2022, from September 28th to October 9th, Isorine, along with artists Gillian Mapp and Aqua Nibii Waawaaskone traveled to Pikangikum once again and led a series of artistic workshops for the local youth - with a focus on young women. As part of these workshops, we collaborated with local artist Morningstar Quill, whose work was exhibited at our local Toronto public Library - St Lawrence branch.
The photography workshops engaged 7 youth in daily two-hour workshops (for a total of 8 workshops). During these workshops, photographer Gillian Mapp and local artist Morningstar Quill had the opportunity to teach the basics on how to operate a camera and do practice sessions outside, working on both landscapes and portraits. Artists engaged the youth in exploring a theme for an exhibition, and what kind of photos they would like to explore. They chose “Nature” as a theme and the group had different outings to capture the nature surrounding Pikangikum, with a focus on both immensity and details offered all around us. The group had photographic sessions in the forest, by the water, in the quarry. Once a collection of photos the youth were proud of was produced, the group started a curation process for each youth to include three of their photos in the exhibit. As a group, they had a chance to look at the entire selection, make adjustments and decide how they would be presented to the public. Each youth contributed to the exhibition artistic statement:
This exhibit is important to us as we dive into the theme of Nature and take the time to admire its beauty, its many surprises, its colors, and how alive it becomes when we take the time to listen to it. These photos were taken in and around our community and that’s important to us as it is our home. In this exhibit, we showcase powerful animals like the bear, our culture like the photo with the children’s hands painted in orange, and the way we come in and out of our community with the images of planes flying above our heads. Nature is poetry and takes us on a beautiful journey - especially at the change of seasons; within a few days, the leaves went from bright yellow to brown, and we got to capture the transformation. Nature shows us the opposite sides of beauty and the wide range of colors within it.
Details like the photo with the feathers represents our culture, the beauty of our land, the wild animals and the colored leaves. Every details are here and it touches us softly, with care and with love. The wonderment of nature left us speechless but offered infinite beauty to capture with our cameras. We are proud to share this exhibit with you.
The rhythmic gymnastics workshops, led by Isorine Marc, were a movement-based exploration getting comfortable with our bodies, learning how to stretch and strengthened our core, explore coordination, choreography, musicality, hoops artistic decoration and collective performance. 15 girls (10-yrs old) were committed to daily 2-hr workshops (for a total of 8 workshops) that culminated in creating a 3-min choreography that was presented to the community on October 8th alongside the photographic exhibition.
We visited Pikangikum during Cultural Break, which is a time of the year when the school is closed and locals go to their cabins to hunt before the Winter. During Culture Break, some community members are left behind with nothing to do (especially that there is no school during that time). Fortunately, the school opened its doors to us so that we could run workshops. The 15 young ones who were involved in Rhythmic Gymnastics were grateful for the opportunity as they had nothing else to do during that time. They were very proud to showcase their performances to their parents on the last day.
Artist Aqua Nibii Waawaaskone offered a variety of workshops to adults and youths including drumming circle, hand drum making workshops and birthing ceremony, visual arts and craft. 5 youths and 5 adults participated in these workshops which created a safe space “to be”.
In total, we offered 23 2-hrs workshops during out visit.
The workshop series culminated in a presentation to the community On October 7th, which was attended by Chief Shirley Keeper and the vice-principal of our partnering school Eenchockay Public School, along with 30 community members. During the presentation, our young participants had the opportunity to share their movement-based routine (rhythmic gymnastics), and our youth presented their photo exhibition to the community. The project was very well received and open doors for continued collaborations.