PEOPLE, PATTERN, PLACE: MELVILLE 2017

3 new dates planned for Melville, Saskatchewan!!

I'm back in my hometown of Melville, Saskatchewan for a month, planning more human quilt formations in my series called "PEOPLE, PATTERN, PLACE". I began this series in Brazil in 2015 and I'm now creating 2 or 3 more in Melville in the coming weeks. 

I need more bodies, so interested people and groups can still register. 

WHERE: Melville Heritage Museum (100 Heritage Drive, next to Hospital)

HEIGHT: We need people who range from 4 feet in height up to 6’ 3” (ALL AGES! As long as they fit within the height range)

Participants will be asked to lay on the grass lawn of the Museum in a pre-planned pattern. The artist, Shelley Miller, will place people in specific places, according to their height.

All together, it will form a design that looks like a quilt pattern from above.  This human formation will be photographed from above.  This is part of a series of photographs that will eventually be exhibited by Shelley Miller in Saskatoon at the Saskatchewan Craft Council in December 2017. All participants will receive a FREE print of the final image.

DATES:

Saturday, June 24th (10am - 12pm) Participants must be registered by June 21st at latest. Wednesday, July 5th (6pm - 8 pm) Participants must be registered by July 1st at latest.
Saturday, July 8th (10am - 12pm) Participants must be registered by July 3rd at latest

TO REGISTER:

- Sign up form available through www.shelleymillerstudio.com
- Sign-up sheet at the Melville Heritage Museum
- Facebook event page "People, Pattern, Place: Melville"
- Call: 306-760-1445

Our Heroes: Community project with WIBCA

Throughout the month of April, 2017, I've been heading out to the West Island of Montreal to work with WIBCA (West Island Black Community Association) to create an artwork on the theme of "OUR HEROES". The resulting artwork will be mounted on a parade float, and part of the Pierrefonds-Roxboro parade on July 1st. The borough invited 5 contemporary artists to work with different community groups to create parade floats on different themes. If you can make it out to this parade on July 1st, I highly recommend it! 

Members of WIBCA chose 6 prominent black figures through history as representations of their "Heroes". Those people are: Marie Joseph Angelique, Mathieu DaCosta, Viola Desmond, Mary Ann Shadd, Lincoln Alexander, and Michaëlle Jean. Images of these people are integrated into the artwork, as well as printed on fans that will be handed out to people along the parade route. Since these people all have such amazing stories, more info about each person is printed on the backs of each fan. 

The concept of using fabric and round, sewn forms (referred to as "yo-yo's" or "fuxico") is derived from a series I have been working on, which began in Brazil, called "People, Pattern, Place". I create human formations that reference patchwork styles common to each area. Just as fabric is a series of threads, that, once woven together, becomes stronger, so to do communities become stronger when individuals come together. 

The images below show us all hard at work, cutting, sewing, painting.  I wish I had recorded some of the conversations that took place over the 6 workshops... pure gold! Something magical happens when you bring a group of people together and have them sit and sew together. Sometimes they're called "stitch and bitch" sessions. For me, it was more like a "stitch and share" or a "stitch and learn". I feel truly blessed for having the opportunity to work with this group. Again, art has enriched me, and I hope I can share that enrichment with others. 

Thanks to Emmanuelle Jacques for coordinating the project; The Borough of Pierrefonds-Roxoboro for supporting this project, and of course, thanks to WIBCA for welcoming me and sharing their energy and time for this project. 

Peace and love. 

CONNECTS March 10th

Last week Friday, March 10th, my 2nd edition of CONNECTS took place in Montreal's Mile End at the headquarters of Oopsmark, where owner Jesse Herbert creates his stylish tools for urban living. It's a seriously cool company: www.oopsmark.ca
This time it was a 5 á 8, casual mixer with drinks and samosas. I had some art for sale, and a donation box for people to contribute to my PEOPLE, PATTERN, PLACE community participation art projects. I'm fundraising to help make these projects a reality. I'll be doing a series of these human quilt formation photo shoots in Melville, Saskatchewan this summer, and then planning a return to Brazil in 2018 to work with several communities there. 

So how did things fare??  Pretty great, I would say! It was a very cold night, with a sudden deep freeze setting in just after 5:00pm that night.  But those who braved the frigid weather found a lot of warmth and positive energy at the event. We had fashion and graphic designers, inventors and scientists, concrete fabricators and art historians. An eclectic mix of creative minds, as I had hoped!  And, I was wearing galaxy pants... so what more could you ask for! 

More events will be announcing in the coming months. Right now, I have art production to get back to!  I will be leading some community art workshops in Pierrefonds, Quebec in April. I'm also working on a new public art commission for a school in Hochalega-Maisonneuve.

If you couldn't make it to the event, but you'd like to contribute to PEOPLE, PATTERN, PLACE, your donations are greatly appreciated. I received a matching grant to buy necessary equipment, but I'm looking to secure the other half of those funds, $2500 in total.  And of course, more of my CONNECTS events will take place down the road... Stay tuned! 

Ancient Remains: Print Edition Release

Recently, the city of New Delhi, India banned all forms of single use plastic. See more details here http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/india-delhi-bans-disposable-plastic-single-use-a7545541.html

Hearing of this news inspired me to release a print edition of a sculpture I did in India during a sculpture symposium. This work is called Ancient Remains. I created this design in response to the proliferation of plastic water bottles littered about, as well as how I, as a foreigner, was highly encouraged to only drink bottled water. At the residency, I was forbidden from re-filling my bottle with filtered water for fear of my safety.  It made me really think about what legacy we were leaving behind: what would the ruins of the future look like?  Plastic remains.

I would like to continue to push forward the agenda of cleaning up our water ways, and ensuring clean drinking water for everyone. Much of the disposable plastic in the world ends up polluting our water ways and ocean life. $10 of every print sold will be donated to a water organization. 

Prints will be available for purchase at CONNECTS, Friday, March 10th (details in previous post), as well through my website soon... 

CONNECTS: 2nd Edition 5 á 7

(Français ci-dessous)

Friday, March 10th, 5 - 8pm
160 St. Viateur East, #800A Montreal. 

CONNECTS is an event initiative I’ve created, centred around community-building and connecting the creative-minded, forward-thinking people in my personal and professional social network. These events double as a fundraiser to assist with participatory-community art projects I’m doing in the next year. 

This edition will be held in the Mile End at the spacious customized headquarters of Oopsmark, the brain-child of Montreal-based Jesse Herbert. http://www.oopsmark.ca/

Come by from 5 to 8 for a casual mixer with music, beer, wine and original artwork on display and for sale. Pay-what-you-can entry and bar. 

The goal is to bring interesting, creative, vibrant people together to share ideas, say hi, buy art, strike up a conversation, collaborate, have a human connection. Step away from your computer now… and come talk to some humans! 

Beer and samosas!

____________

Version française:

Vendredi, 10 mars, 17h00 - 20h00
160 St. Viateur Est, #800A Montreal. 

CONNECTS est un projet de souper que j’ai créé comme moyen de collecter des fonds pour des projets d’art communautaires axés sur le développement communautaire et ayant pour but de connecter des esprits créatifs et visionnaires de mon réseau social personnel et professionnel. Nous n’avons pas besoin de FaceTime ou Facebook; nous avons tous besoin d’un peu plus de temps face à face avec nos camarades humains!

Cette édition aura lieu dans le Mile-End au spacieux siège social d’Oopsmark, l’invention personnelle du montréalais Jesse Herbert. http://www.oopsmark.ca/

"Pay-what-you-can" entrée et bar.

Le but est de rassembler des personnes intéressantes, créatives et dynamiques pour partager des idées, acheter des œuvres d’art, lancer une discussion, collaborer et avoir un contact humain. Alors, laissez tomber vos ordinateurs dès maintenant et venez parler à des humains! 

Bière et samosas!

CONNECTS: Feijoada Dinner Fundraiser

Last week Friday, I hosted a dinner party for 10 at my place, launching what will be a series of fundraising initiatives over the next year to help off-set costs for community art projects I'm planning to do in Saskatchewan and in Brazil. These projects will expand on People, Pattern, Place, a series I began in 2015, seen in images below.

The overarching goal of these events, as with my collaborative art projects, is to try and connect people, by literally bringing them together. In this age of social media, we're becoming less social and more insular. I am trying to do my small part to bring people back together. What better way to do that than over comfort food, Brazilian music and wine! The menu was traditional Brazilian Feijoada (a slow food, made with smoked pork hocks, salt-cured beef and black beans) and passionfruit mousse. 

At the end of the evening, I was left with heart-warming gratitude for the positive energy and synergy created by and amongst this group of amazing, creative people. We had architects, writers, entrepreneurs and academics, as well as makers in all sorts of creative arts. It can be a lot of work to host a dinner party, but rather than being left with fatigue, I was left with energy and motivation to host more.  Stay tuned! 

CONNECTS: The Feijoada Edition

In these times of division and conflict, we need to come together, to join and share food, mingle and create new connections. 

I’ll be organizing a variety of fundraising initiatives in the coming months, all centred around community-building and connecting the creative-minded, forward-thinking people in my personal and professional social network. We don’t need FaceTime or Facebook, we all need a little more real face-to-face time with our fellow humans. 

CONNECTS: The Feijoada Edition

Friday, December 2nd.

Reserve your spot now for this EXCLUSIVE supper club style fundraiser.

I’ll be hosting a maximum of 12 people at my house for an intimate, yet casual dinner party. It’s sure to be an eclectic mix of interesting people, so of course you’ll be in good company of creative and entrepreneurial souls. Proceeds will go towards several community projects I’m planning to do in 2017-18 in Canada and Brazil (see images below of previous projects I'll be expanding on). 

Feijoada is a traditional Brazilian dish made with black beans and pork, served with rice and farofa (manioca flour). In keeping with the Brazilian theme, there will be modified caipirinhas served, a dessert of passionfruit mouse and Brazilian music. 

Bring some extra wine to loosen your hips because you never know if a samba train will break out! 

Friday, December 2nd.  

5:30-6:30 - cocktails
6:30 - appetizers
7:00 - Dinner served (Feijoada)
8:00 - desserts and coffee

Fee: $35 per person and BYOWine
Please reserve your spot before Tuesday, November 29 by email:
shelley@shelleymillerstudio.com 

What is "LEGACY"?

I'm still feeling the wobbly, slightly hung-over-from-dehydration feeling that comes the day after installing a sugar mural. The title of the mural is "LEGACY" and it was installed as part of Under Pressure Graffiti Festival in Montreal, on a wall in the Quartier des Spectacle, next to Metro St. Laurent.  It's up, I'm happy with how it looks, and now I have to return regularly to document the weathering that comes with rain and sun. 

A lot of people are asking what this mural and its imagery means? So this blog post offers more insight into why I decided to do this mural and what the meaning is behind the imagery.  

In 2009 I lost someone very dear to me in Brazil. His name was Danilo Brandao Araujo. He was shot 3 times by the police and killed. It's a long story, but in short, he was not carrying a weapon, and not in the act of committing a crime. There was no justification to kill him. Yet his death sparked no protests or inquiries. No marches or vigils were held. No hashtags or tweets. This was just another ordinary day in Brazil. Another young black man shot dead by police. His own mother didn't even push for the truth. She knows the system. There will never be answers or truth. Asking too many questions just makes more trouble for yourself. 

I was left feeling devastated, angry and powerless. For years I just held on to that anger, but not knowing what to do with it. Every time a young black man is killed unjustifiably by police, be it in Brazil, Canada or the US, I feel that wound re-open.  My frustrations finally reached their limit a few months ago and I felt some clarity of how I might turn my anger into something productive: to make a sugar mural about this epidemic issue and hopefully bring about more discussion, protest and ultimately, change. 

The central image in my mural is situated in the historic area of Salvador, Brazil. Those who have visited the area will recognize this area known as Pelourinho. What most may not know is that this word is the Portuguese word for "pillory" which is a whipping post. This is the place where slaves were brought to be whipped and publicly humiliated. I have included this location in my design as a symbol of colonization and slavery. The disproportional imprisonment and police shootings of black men in Brazil (as in other countries) can be considered the legacy of slavery; the modern day form of oppression. The anchor, chains and shackles in the design all relate to this same sentiment.  

The 3 young men featured in the design were all killed by police. The situations were different and unrelated, but the outcome was the same. Their names are: 
Danilo Brandao Araujo, 1982-2009
Wilton Esteves Domingos Júnior, 1996-2016
Roberto de Souza Penha, 2000-2016


The last 2 boys were killed along with 3 other young men when their car was loaded with bullets by police in a favela in Rio de Janeiro due to 'mistaken identity' (AKA: racial profiling).  More info about that HERE and article in Portuguese HERE

Where the mural begins as a crisp and fresh image, it will erode in the rain and sun, devolving from decadence into decay; a symbol of memento mori as well as the destructive legacy that colonization continues to have.‎ The painted imagery on the mural will quickly fade as a reminder of both actual loss as well as the fading attention these stories receive in the public consciousness. 

NOTE: Blog post was updated August 22nd to show the erosion process that the mural underwent between August 16-22. 

LEGACY: New sugar mural for Under Pressure

I'm currently working on a new sugar mural, destined to be installed in downtown Montreal, in the Quartier Spectacle, just outside of Metro St. Laurent. It's part of Under Pressure, a graffiti festival in Montreal that is 21 years strong. Check out their website for details on all the events coinciding this weekend (August 10-14). http://underpressure.ca/

Here are some pics of my process in studio. 

DESCRIPTION OF WORK:

Title: Legacy

During Under Pressure, Montreal artist Shelley Miller will install an ephemeral 7 foot x 7 foot mural made entirely of sugar. This hand-painted tile mural, reminiscent of heroically themed azulejo ceramic murals, addresses the links between colonization and slavery. The image seeks to illustrate the current epidemic of young black men disproportionately imprisoned or targeted by police with lethal consequences. Miller has chosen to focus this theme in the context of Brazil to represent a global issue of injustice at the hands of police. Her losing a loved one due to profiling and her commitment to social justice were the inspiration to the project. 

Where the mural begins as a crisp and fresh image, it will soon erode, devolving from decadence into decay; a symbol of memento mori as well as the destructive legacy that colonization continues to have.‎ The painted imagery on the mural will quickly fade as a reminder of both actual loss as well as the fading attention these stories receive in the public consciousness.