Article written by: Neda Keshavarz-Rahbar

During the month of October 2017, The Innalik School participated in an Art Project, where their stories were displayed in The Old Town Hall in Newmarket, Ontario. Julee Colucci, a teacher in Newmarket reached out to Neda Keshavarz-Rahbar and Marcel Gaudet Secondary 3, 4 and 5 English teachers to see if their students would help her with an art project for her classroom. Julee Colucci worked at the Inukjuak Girl’s Rehab Centre before relocating to Ontario. She did her project with her grade 11 Visual Arts Class at Sacred Heart Catholic High School. Her students wanted to create a project that would bring First Nations, Metis, Inuit (FNMI) awareness of their school. They also hoped to branch out and reach the wider community as a whole.

For this collaboration, Julee asked that the students at Innalik School provide her with a personal story about who they are. She wanted them to share their thoughts, feelings and experiences living as Inuit youth in Canada. Julee’s students then created abstract drawings/paintings that visually capture the essence of the stories written by Innalik students. The resulting artwork not only depicted their lives but provided a great opportunity to bridge the gap between northern and southern communities.

The participating Innalik students shared that they felt very appreciative that their experiences were being heard by people who perhaps never really knew much about Inuit youth struggles and triumphs. This project successfully connected youth from very different horizons and allowed for personal and unique Inuit stories to be shared with a broader Canadian audience.

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