Elders express themselves through art
- NC Raine | December 17, 2018
On Tuesday mornings for the past year, residents and day program participants at the Long Term Care facility at the La Ronge Health Centre would create art. Now matted and framed, those pieces are on exhibit at the Mistasinihk Place Gallery.
The Saskatchewan Health Authority was one of the community partners that teamed up with the Alex Robertson Public Library to provide opportunities for creative expression facilitated by 2018 Artist/Writer-in-Residence Miriam Körner. While Körner’s time was funded by an Artists in Communities grant from the Saskatchewan Arts Board, Long Term Care, known as Nikinan (Cree for Our Home), provided the space and the materials.
Over the course of the year, approximately 20 individuals created self-portraits and scenes from memories from the past, using a variety of media, including pastels, markers, watercolours, acrylics and collage.
There was always a story behind what they created, says Körner.
“By talking about their art, it was a nice way of communicating with others,” she adds.
Körner would sometimes bring her own art in as a catalyst for memories. She notes that her depiction of the seasons in When the Trees Crackle With Cold: A Cree Calendar pīsimwasinahikan would occasionally inspire resident Gilbert Sanderson to paint his own nature scenes.
Sanderson’s work is among over 70 pieces in the exhibit that has impressed viewers. An opening reception on December 6 drew a crowd of over 50 people.
The art program was an activity that the elders really looked forward to, said Nikinan Recreation Supervisor Chantel Ursu.
“When they would see Miriam come, they would get excited,” she says.
For that reason, Ursu wants to see the art programming continue now that the residency is ending. The artwork in the exhibit is available for bid in a silent auction until noon on December 20, 2018. All proceeds will go to Nikinan.