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.