On September 21st I attended Gathering All The Threads, a culminating community art installation event for the Remembering and Resistance project. The project, founded by Marlena Zuber in 2018, offers North Hastings community members opportunities to honour, remember, resist and find hope through collective grieving and art making.
The following excerpt is adapted from an email written by me to artists Marlena Zuber, Eliza Plumley, Noreen Tinney and Victoria Burke.
“Collaborative art projects are born of the imaginings, pain, joy, and hopes of its communities. It’s hard to track the nuances of how an artwork came to be because of the multiple voices along the way, but there is no magic without dreaming and tender hearts doing the work.
Marlena and Eliza were reluctant to speak at the event. When Marlena did speak, she described herself as project coordinator. As her mentor, I made a mental note to gently call her on it later because Marlena and Eliza are Lead Artists. Devising and facilitating a collaborative art project is its own artistic practice with many different types of work folded within it – much of it hard to discern – from design to partnership building and, yes, project coordination.
Lead Artists bear great social and aesthetic responsibility, and being appropriately recognized doesn’t take shine away from anyone else and the important parts they’ve played. The capital culture we live in values wealth building and independence over community building and interdependence, so it’s incumbent upon us to recognize the inherent value in ourselves, our communities, and our work.
I tend to shy away from public speaking at events that I’ve worked to create because I’m often filled with a strange mix of exhaustion, joy, and sadness. Performing artists call this “post show blues” but it applies to any situation where 90-95% of the work is done methodically behind the scenes to support the 5-10% of it all coming together. The sadness is normal. Most of everyday living is mundane, which is its own kind of beauty, but big events have a way of distilling the sweetest flavours.
I don’t have a remedy for sadness, but I find it helps to acknowledge it.”
– Anna Camilleri, Mentor, Community Corridor of Inclusion and Resilience Project (Remembering and Resistance)