Nunavut and Yukon youth were among a national art exhibition during the first Overcoming Isolation and Deepening Social Connectedness symposium held Oct 1 -3 in Toronto, Ontario.
Included as part of the symposium was an exhibition of artwork produced by youth from across Canada and around the world.
Arviat Film Society member “Daniel Kooveanatuk, a 17-year-old Inuk artist from Arviat, Nunavut was among the youth represented at the exhibit. It was his first time attending an art exhibition. He also presented at a youth panel presentation.
— jennifer brennan (@maiiingan) October 2, 2014
“Seeing my photographs in a real art exhibition was pretty cool,” he said. “It was his first time participating in an art exhibit. “I’ve learned a lot this week, and taking part has helped inspire me to start working on building similar opportunities for youth to do the same here in Nunavut.”
“Before I started to learn what the power of the arts can really do for people, I was just looking at painting, photography and drawing as just something to do. To help pass the time,” said Kooveanatuk. “Now I am looking at art from a new perspective. It’s a way to connect with my inner feelings. And as I learn more, it’s changing the way I look at life.”
The three-day symposium brought together more than 100 people from all walks of life and from all over the world. Their goal was to establish a community of practice dedicated to gaining a deeper understanding of the causes, experiences and effects of social isolation.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>Very cool seeing your art in a light box <a href=”https://twitter.com/sconnectedness”>@sconnectedness</a> in Toronto <a href=”https://twitter.com/givememytrees”>@givememytrees</a>! Great job! <a href=”http://t.co/w25aYRuFhJ”>pic.twitter.com/w25aYRuFhJ</a></p>— Jamie WF Bell (@B2Jamie) <a href=”https://twitter.com/B2Jamie/status/518670062786326528″>October 5, 2014</a></blockquote>
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In an opening address to the gathering, Kim Samuel, a visiting scholar with the Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative and President of the Samuel Family Foundation encouraged participants to work together.
“If we can find a way to truly see one another … to reach out to the person who feels invisible … to invite the one who feels “different” to belong,” she said.”If we can do that, as individuals and through our organizations, then I believe we can start blazing a trail toward a better world for us all.”
Participants used discussions, conversations, art and creativity to explore linkages between perspectives and communities to generate insights on how programs, strategies, and policies could help overcome isolation and bring about meaningful social connectedness.
We thank TakingITGlobal, The Synergos Institute and the Samuel Family Foundation for supporting the Explore150.ca and Moments of Inclusion project. We especially thank them for supporting Nunavut youth participation in the Overcoming Isolation and Deepening Social Connectedness symposium earlier this month.
— Daniel Kooveanatuk (@givememytrees) October 20, 2014
Less than two weeks later, Daniel Kooveanatuk and Jennifer Corriero were sharing what they learned in Arviat, Nunavut.
For more information, research, resources and photos from the symposium, visit their web site at: http://socialconnectedness.org.
Author: Jamie Bell
Jamie Bell is one of the co-founders of the Arviat Film Society and Arviat Television. He has worked in public affairs, communications and media for more than two decades. He can often be found supporting cross-cultural, participatory action knowledge mobilization and community-based research with Inuit and Indigenous youth.