To commemorate Canada’s 150th anniversary, one organization is collecting wishes across the country – wishes for the next 150 years. Vancouver’s Yaletown Roundhouse will feature some of these wishes from Aug. 1 to 4, 2017.
Taking It Global has put together Explore150, which highlights the relevance of Canadian culture and history and provides an opportunity for youth in Canada to explore and connect with their identity and values in an interactive way.
Adrian Assoufi, digital engagement coordinator at Taking It Global, explains there are two parts to the Wish150 project – a forum to get Canadians connected in their communities and sharing their experiences of moments they have had in different places and Wish150, an extension of this forum.
“We’re asking Canadians, and even internationally, what is your wish for Canada in its next 150 years. We’re trying to see what community members want, what kind of changes they want to see, what they appreciate, how can they build on the success that they had. How can they improve their communities?” Assoufi says.
Local art exhibits will feature local and emerging artists in every province and territory.
Each artist’s work, mostly visual artists, will have their works featured on large wooden mosaics. Each piece has been sent to the nine artists chosen from British Columbia.
“They’ve all received their piece and are interpreting their wish and their message and their experiences with the community they live in through art and that’s going to come together on Aug. 1 for a launch event,” he explains.
A lot of these pieces touch a lot of different subjects, including the environment, political representation, race, sex and immigration. Many things that have been in the news this year are also being represented. Taking It Global worked with co-ordinator Sandeep Johal from Vancouver to select artists.
“We’ve been looking to feature a true diversity in voices in how people identify in age and gender to feature different stories so people with different backgrounds, different storylines and pasts have that all come together for the opening. The opening will feature artists’ talks. We’ll give them the opportunity to comment on their piece and share a little bit about their story,” Assoufi says.
Other exhibits in other cities will be shown throughout the summer and fall.
“It would be nice if we could space them out and give them their opportunity to shine and take those local voices. We share them online and on the wish150.ca page and we feature them as well on social media so the rest of the country can view them and can engage with these messages,” he says.
Assoufi emphasizes that the project wants to host a true safe space that is inclusive so that everyone is welcome and comfortable to express themselves. He says this is true for indigenous people as well. He says that while events and venues may often be targeted to specific people groups, this is not the case for Wish150. Rather, this space features a diversity of voices, and that includes indigenous voices.
“We were looking at the past, present and future. You have to have three simultaneously or an understanding of the three to be able to accurately comment on certain topics. What this event will also have is a very strong dialogue between the artists, the community, public, people in different positions in society, people with power, people without power. It is creating this conversation through art that we’re hoping will stay with people for the next little while,” he says.
B.C. artists participating in the Wish150 mosaic: Adele Maskwa Iskwew Arseneau, Andrew Tavukciyan, Broderick Wong, Caitlin McDonagh, Chanda Stallman, Jake Johnston, Kim Villagante, Sandeep Johal, Tania Orozco.
For more information, visit explore150.tigweb.org.