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November 02, 2012

A Visit from Artist Deblekha Guin

One of the artists featured in our current exhibition in the ArtStarts Gallery stopped by this morning to say hello. Deblekha Guin worked on the HumanEYES project, which took place in several schools around Vancouver, facilitated by a team of artists.

HumanEYES is an arts-based initiative created by the Access to Media Education Society that highlights the diverse life experiences and migration stories in Vancouver classrooms, and ultimately encourages us to see and more deeply appreciate each other’s humanity.

Through the leadership of a diverse team of artists and facilitators, over the course of 5-7 workshops, each participating class had the opportunity to celebrate diversity, gain basic tools to identify and challenge discriminatory and exclusionary practices and contribute to a class-wide creative collaboration that encouraged inter-generational, inter-cultural and inter-neighbourhood storytelling and relationship-building.

The mediums that each class worked in varied depending upon the interests of the class and expertise of their mentors, and included elements of theatre/improv, poetry/spoken word musical performance, mural making and the media arts.

Check out this video that shows some excerpts and samples of the work created in HumanEYES:

In the words of one of the teachers who participated in HumanEYES:

"I found that all of the students were really included…even my quietest and shyest students had their voice heard…they LOVED the beat-boxing and all of the different games and the activity when they interviewed an elder was also fantastic…a number of parents came to talk to me about how touched and moved they were by the whole experience of sharing stories… Intergenerational stories are not shared enough and this program creates an opportunity for families to learn more about each other and to grow closer. This then transfers into the classroom as the students learn that behind every person there is a multitude of stories. This in turn creates a more accepting and inclusive environment. This is without a doubt the best, most inspiring and fun workshop that I have ever had in my classroom." — Daniele Carrara, teacher, Hastings Elementary

Visitors in the Gallery today got the chance to talk to Deblekha directly about the pieces they were exploring, and were treated to some stories behind the project.

Thanks for visiting, Deblekha! It was a pleasure to see you today — and to share your students' work in the ArtStarts Gallery.

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