Youth Speak Out on Justice
The Michaëlle Jean Foundation and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia Launched a Groundbreaking Exhibition on Justice, Art and Youth
October 5, 2014 – Halifax, N.S. – The Michaëlle Jean Foundation and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, alongside over 200 members of the public, unveiled the 4th Wall: Justice, Art and Youth exhibition, on Sept. 27, in Halifax.
The exhibition gives over 60 young Nova Scotian artists, aged 15 to 30, a platform to share their unique perspective on issues pertaining to justice in Canada, including incarceration, crime prevention, Indian Residential Schools, sexual violence, and discrimination. Their artwork was selected through a rigorous competition process, which saw youth from across Nova Scotia submit proposals on the theme justice, art and youth. A jury selected the following eight submissions:
- Aidan Cromwell. Focus: rehabilitation, the realities of incarceration, the effect of imprisonment on African Nova Scotian youth, separation of prisoners from society, and creating a voice for societal change.
- Charli LeBlanc. Focus: the experience of and justice for victims of sexual abuse.
- Dylan Fish. Focus: the role social media can play in raising awareness about justice
- Rose Orlando. Focus: bullying, cyber-bullying, drug abuse, depression and victims of sexual violence.
- Sarisha Polder. Focus: justice in the education system.
- Savannah Simon. Her piece “Heart Nova Scotia” is a collaboration with the students of J.L. Ilsley High School. Focus: healing and reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginals, the Indian Residential School experience, and the future.
- Tyler Hyde and Johnny Cann. Focus: societal perceptions of masculinity and femininity.
Tyquil Morton and Alexi Rodriguez with mentorship. Focus: “In My Own Voice”—the experiences of incarcerated and formerly incarcerated youth.
“This exhibition is a compelling illustration of the power of the arts to raise awareness of some of the serious challenges facing underserved youth throughout our society. As peaceful weapons of mass construction, the arts have the capacity to offer healing, cultivate resilience, and rehabilitate those who are struggling to improve their lives and transform their communities,” said the Rt. Hon. Michaëlle Jean and Jean-Daniel Lafond, Co-Founders and Co-Chairs of the Michaëlle Jean Foundation.
During the launch, over 200 members of the public, youth leaders, artists, and representatives of the business, social service, health, justice, and government sectors gathered in order to discuss ways to use the arts to encourage community safety, rehabilitate inmates, end intimate partner violence, and promote social justice, throughout the province and across Canada. The two-hour dialogue was followed by the official unveiling of the exhibition and a reception.
“We were thrilled about the response to the call for submissions, and visitors have been overwhelmed by the quality of the work of these emerging artists,” said Ray Cronin, director and CEO of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. “Art transforms lives: we see every day that we play an invaluable role in building a creative society with room for everyone.”
The entire project benefits from the generous support of TD Bank Group and Fred and Elizabeth Fountain. Over 30 national, provincial and local arts, health, justice, education, community, and social service organizations are active supporters of the project.
For more information, please visit: http://www.artgalleryofnovascotia.ca/en/AGNS_Halifax/exhibitions/upcoming/4th_wall.aspx
Nicole Watkins Campbell | Communications Advisor | Art Gallery of Nova Scotia | Office: 902-424-2903 | Cell: 902-222-1691 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter Flegel | Director of Communications and Programs | Michaëlle Jean Foundation| Office: 613.562.5468 | Cell: 613.897.4001 | email@example.com
About the 4th Wall Program: In theatre, the “fourth wall” is an imaginary screen that creates a virtual separation between actor and spectator. There are many ways to cross the fourth wall and to make the invisible visible. The Michaëlle Jean Foundation chose to do so through the 4th Wall: Make the Invisible Visible program, in collaboration with several prestigious Canadian museums and art galleries. The goal is to invite young creators to break down the invisible walls that create solitudes between individuals and communities across Canada, by opening the doors of our major cultural institutions to emerging creators from marginalized backgrounds. The Foundation offers museum and art gallery space and bursaries to youth from disadvantaged backgrounds, often cut off from museums, so that they can produce original art that conveys their experiences, ideas and challenges. On display for the public to see, their work provokes debate and builds solutions. 4th Wall exhibitions have been featured at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, to mark Black History Month in collaboration with FRO Foundation, and at the Art Gallery of Ontario, to celebrate World Pride 2014.
About the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia: The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is the largest art museum in Atlantic Canada with a mission to engage people with art. With locations in downtown Halifax and Yarmouth, the gallery houses the province’s art collection and offers a range of exceptional exhibitions, education and public programming. For information: www.artgalleryofnovascotia.ca .
About the Michaëlle Jean Foundation: The Fondation Michaëlle Jean Foundation is the legacy of the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean’s term as 27th Governor General of Canada (2005-2010). It benefits from the direct involvement of Mme Jean and Jean-Daniel Lafond, co-founders and co-Presidents, an active and determined board of directors comprised of leading social and cultural actors, and a devoted and engaged staff. FMJF reflects the spirit of five years of dedicated action in urban centres, rural and Aboriginal communities, as well as northern localities. To learn more visit www.fmjf.ca.