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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Showing Up, Speaking Out addresses the topic of diversity and presents actions drawing attention to violence against Aboriginal women and girls

September 23, 2010

Showing Up, Speaking Out is a four-week project offering Winnipeggers unique opportunities to speak out on important topics such as housing, poverty, and accessibility by co-creating temporary art works in public spaces with local and visiting artists. This project is about how art can help us express ourselves while building community. It also emphasizes the legitimacy of public space as a site for spontaneous conversations about about city life.

To participate, community members are invited to attend free collaborative art making sessions focused on brainstorming ideas and creating art to be displayed and/or performed as a group. The works will be presented in various locations in Winnipeg, and aceartinc. (2nd floor, 290 McDermot Ave.) will host photos, notes and other items added by participants in an installation that will transform over time.

Stop Violence Against Aboriginal Women Action Group (Winnipeg) welcomes community members to participate in actions aimed at drawing attention to the disproportionate levels of violence experienced by Aboriginal women and girls. Three interventions are scheduled. To participate, please meet at aceartinc. (2nd Floor, 290 McDermot Avenue) on any of the following dates/times: Saturday, September 25 at 12:00 p.m.; Friday, October 1 at 6:30 p.m.; Sunday, October 3 at 1:00 p.m.

Deborah Kelly (Sydney, Australia) will work with community members on the subject of diversity at aceartinc. The first session on Monday, September 27, welcomes participants of Rainbow Resource Centre’s PeerProject4Youth from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m. The last session on Sunday, October 2 welcomes members of Winnipeg’s young feminists collective, FemRev from 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. Sessions open to the wider community will take place at aceartinc. on Wednesday, September 29 from 5:00 – 9:00 p.m.; Thursday, September 30 from 12:00 – 5:00 p.m.; Saturday, October 2 from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. Drop in participation is welcome!

Additional events include:

  • Artist talk with Deborah Kelly at Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art (611 Main Street) — Friday, October 1 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
  • Open, informal discussion about community art and municipal issues / art as community activism at aceartinc. (2nd Floor, 290 McDermot Avenue) — Monday, October 4 from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. Participants will include artists Leah Decter, Deborah Kelly, and Kristin Nelson, as well as curator, Milena Placentile

All events and activities are free of charge and all are welcome to participate.

Artist Biographies

Stop Violence Against Aboriginal Women Action Group (SVAAWAG) is a grassroots volunteer collective made up of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women working to address the disproportionate level of violence against Aboriginal women and girls. Collaborating artist Leah Decter is an active member of the group. The group began meeting informally in the fall of 2009 with the initial intent of generating concrete actions and strategies to effect change in the conditions that contribute to the perpetuation of this ongoing violence. In the spring of 2010, SVAAWAG organized a consultation and dialogue that included over forty individuals from relevant social service, activist, political and experiential communities to collect information and strategize on a local level. This resulted in a coalition being initiated to move forward with multiple approaches to addressing this issue. SVAAWAG members come to this work though a commitment to action, and with experience in community, program and economic development, research, socially engaged art practices, front line and anti-racism work, counselling, activism, and lobbying. SVAWAAG recognizes that there are more of these crimes against Aboriginal women because of factors arising from gender and race, such as misogyny and race-based oppression, that they are deeply embedded in legacies of colonization profoundly present in Winnipeg, and that they have devastating impacts on families, communities and individuals. We consider that broad awareness of these realities is one important factor in affecting change.

Deborah Kelly (Sydney, Australia) has been making socially engaged artwork since 1983. Her collaborative projects include graphic civil disobedience on refugees and the prize-winning public artwork series Hey, hetero! with Tina Fiveash, which has appeared in public venues in many cities. She has given lectures and workshops around Australia and in Berlin, Amsterdam, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Ottawa. She was invited by Martha Rosler to an artists’ residency in 2002, which led to a large collaborative artwork for Utopia Station at the 2003 Venice Biennale. Her work regarding religion in politics headlined at the 2008 Singapore Biennale. Significant actions include co-founding the art gang, producers of many public actions engaging ordinary Australians in the histories of race and nation; and Tank Man Tango, an independent 20-city participatory performance memorial for the 20th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

Other participating artists in this project included: Inge Hoonte (Netherlands/USA) from September 1 – 7 on the subject of recreation, Tomas Jonsson (Calgary) from September 12 – 17 on housing and poverty, and Kristin Nelson (Winnipeg) from September 19 – 22 on accessibility.

A complete calendar of events can be found at Showing Up, Speaking Out closes on Tuesday, October 5, 2010.

This project is made possible thanks to partnerships with many people and organizations including: aceartinc., Amnesty International, Art City, CKUW, Institute for Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Winnipeg, Mentoring Artists for Women’s Art,, Paul Phillips, RAW: Gallery of Architecture and Design, Social Planning Council of Winnipeg, The University of Winnipeg’s Students’ Association, Urban Shaman: Contemporary Aboriginal Art, and Video Pool Media Arts Centre.

Generous financial support for this project has been made available by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Winnipeg Arts Council, and Manitoba Governmental and General Employees’ Union.

Milena Placentile, Independent Curator
showingupspeakingout @ gmail [dot] com
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