“My people will sleep for 100 years, but when they awake, it will be the artists who give them their spirit back.” Louis Riel
This project is not about blame it is about the celebration of the survivor along the reconciliation path. This is based on a national conversation and wisdom story collection. This is a powerful tool to unite all nationalities in Canada to heal and learn that it is not a single race issue but a humanity issue. We can plant the seeds of change for all nationalities all first people. And that through story telling we can plant the seeds of change so that it will never happen again!!!!
How we will tell the story!
The SUNFLOWER PROJECT created in 2013 in partnership with Loughery Mural Artworks Program, enables youth-driven community arts programming to empower Aboriginal and youth world wide, aged 17 to 30, and elders in Canada and around the world to use community arts as tools to address social and human rights issues affecting their communities.
The program is based on mural creation and story- collecting project that has been successfully delivered by award winning Art Educator and Master Muralist Michelle Loughery, as way to reach and connect youth to their communities since 1990. the program provides bridging support in skills and education to youth to gain community and art skill based knowledge to create social change. Using the past historical injustices of human internment, youth revisit the past while communicating with elders to learn valuable lessons to aid in promoting change in the future. It has been said the past repeats itself; however, through cross generation story dialogues we can change and learn from the past injustices.Residential School healing, immigrant internment, and other human rights based story murals , combined with new media and community art dialogue will be created in combination with a community and life skills /employment skills based courses.
Inspiration: the journey of our immigrant Canadian story.Throughout Canada’s history, thousands of innocent individuals have been punished through coercive governance: Acadians were expelled from the Maritimes in the eighteenth century; Ukrainians and Germans were interned during the First World War; Japanese and Germans were imprisoned during the Second World War; Aboriginal youth were placed in Residential Schools. The pattern of each of these large-scale operations is disturbingly similar. They begin with doubts about the loyalty of an isolated social or cultural group. Actions are then taken by a government to minimize upheaval in acting on these doubts, by engaging in forced relocation, imprisonment, or disenfranchisement. Rights are suspended and property is confiscated, stolen, or destroyed. Some years later, another innocent people group is targeted.These operations stain Canada’s ardent proclamations celebrating our multicultural heritage and traditional respect for minorities. We hope to start a conversation between the generations, to ensure these human wrongs do not happen again. We hope to inspire respect for human rights and turn these human wrongs to human rights of change
Why it attracts youth like flies!
The youth are placed in a work An environment that allows them to find their own strengths ie. Artistic aptitude is NOT a requirement for this program – some youth will find that their strengths lie in the painting of murals; others in building of scaffolding; others in prepping walls; others in marketing and publicizing the program; others in working with children; others in working with seniors; others in public education etc. etc.
The youth are placed in public and high visibility work areas – so that the community is made aware of the changes that the youth are making inside and outside of themselves- this serves the twofold purpose of making the youth accountable to the community and the community becomes accountable to the youth who are helping to improve their city
The youth are expected to complete a number of certificate and non certificate courses that will help build self-confidence and job and life skills
The program work site become a sanctuary of safety and acceptance for many. The program provides volunteer opportunities for other youth-at-risk to join; and they do..
Loughery Artworks -Sunflower Community Education Programs are available with lesson plans and downloadable mural kits for teachers at the community level to use the murals as education tools to inspire and encourage learning through community art in their classrooms. New Immigrant art celebration inclusive programming is also a key component of The Sunflower Project. Looking at the planet as a whole community, we aim to bring together all nations. With British Columbia as the home base, we hope to help youth to promote a multicultural quilt of culture at the heart of Canadian identity.
Identifying social challenges in their communities, youth will develop community arts-based strategies for change, and encourage their peers to become involved in the implementation. Each community project will be overseen by a project coordinator, who will be tasked with working directly with youth, so that they can identify, plan and lead youth-driven projects that transform young lives and revitalize their communities.By taking an active role in implementing a Sunflower Project community art project, young people build capacity and a sense of community engagement. In this, the program encourages pride in aboriginal heritage, youth civic engagement, capacity building, mentorship and leadership skills. Particular attention is placed on ensuring that selected projects:
The overall purpose of this program is to take youth-at-risk and to help them develop the job and life skills that they require to take control over their future to become law abiding and contributing citizens in their community. The program has been successfully duplicated in every community Michelle has worked in. The main reason that this project is successful is that participants are not placed in classic learning situations where there is generally only one set way of doing things. For many youth-at-risk, the standardized or institutionalized methods of learning are very threatening. Thus, although, Michelle and her administrators have high expectations for the youth, the participants are placed in an open, non-threatening environment and in situations where success is achievable. As well, the steps to learning a skill are gradual and participants are given the freedom to make mistakes and often repeat the same mistakes before success is reached.
Support youth wanting to improve the quality of life in their communities
Build skills, leadership and capacity among youth participants
Revitalize communities through the energy and initiatives of youth
Incubate sustainable forms of youth community engagement
Encourage intergenerational connections through the power of the arts and their contribution to social change in Canada, particularly in the following areas:
- Public Safety and Access to Justice
- Mental and Physical Health
- Urban and Community Renewal
- Economic Development and Social Enterprise
- New Technologies and Social Change
- Cultural Institutions and Community Integration
- Diversity and Social Inclusion
- Democratic Participation Voice and Identity
Why use Community Art and Social Media Storytelling to tell this story?
ROLE OF LEAD COMMUNITY ORGANIZATION
Youth-driven organizations are critical to the success of the program. They are the experts in local issues and resources, are able to provide an on-site presence and oversee, in a very broad sense, the youth projects. Selected community organizations will be asked to provide meeting and art space for the coordinator and the young people involved in the project at no charge, where possible with a financial buy in to ensure capacity building and commitment.
The Sunflower Project The mandate of the Sunflower Project is to develop collaborative forms of artwork that represent the voices of a community. Projects are based on the concept that community goes beyond the actual place that individuals live, but rather includes the world at large, which can be reached virtually through social media/networking mediums. Projects are created through the engagement of the community through open dialogue where ideas become part of the artwork as soon as they arise, and where community members can openly challenge and encourage the ideas of others; and in doing so, the Projects become dynamic, real-time and live pieces of artwork that inspire discussion, enlightenment and encourage social change.
Educational Component:The Wayfinder ArtCONXX Program will provide educators of all levels with mural art based content that supports the use of murals in their classrooms. Lesson plans and study guides are available, that will outline the significance of the content of the art work and provide educators with lesson designs and guidelines for outcomes for using the social media components of the Project/s. Educators may also choose to purchase unfinished (smaller) copies of the artworks from the Canadian Sunflower Social Imagery Project and have students complete and display the artworks on the walls of their communities
The Sunflower Project:The Youth Mobilization for Remembrance & Prevention.The focus of this mobilization campaign is to create awareness and promote social activism among Canadian students around legally and socially sanctioned injustices in Canada—such as the WWI internment, residential schools, and racist immigration policies. The goal of this outreach is to provide students the opportunity to create a social (multi-) media campaign to raise awareness of a legally sanctioned injustices and promote a thoughtful and ethical set of actions for redress and/or prevention of future occurrences. In creating of an arts-based social media campaign, students will:
(WW1 INTERNMENT RECOGNITION FUND SUNFLOWER MURAL
The Sunflower Project will not only leave a long lasting cultural and heritage tourism legacy for the people of Canada, but it will also fulfill specific goals and mandates of all groups involved. The Sunflower Project will directly reflect the philosophy of culture, social responsibility, inclusiveness, and sustainability, which are helping to define Canada as the cultural quilt it is. As well, by providing communities with a cultural heritage tourism mechanism, the Sunflower Project will assist the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund (CFWWIRF) and the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation (UCCLF) in achieving its stated mandates to not only develop sustainable economic heritage legacies so that businesses and communities in provinces across Canada receive benefit of acknowledging a Canadian injustice.
The Sunflower Project will ensure that what happened during Canada’s first national internment operations of 1914 to1920 is remembered throughout Canada.
This initiative is designed to hallow the memory of all victims of Canada’s first internment operation and to communicate and educate Canadians about what happened as a consequence of the internment. The passage of Bill C-331 – Internment of Persons of Ukrainian Origin Recognition Act signaled the Government of Canada’s recognition of an historical injustice. The subsequent redress settlement identified commemorative and educational initiatives as being critical for acquainting the public with the importance of being vigilant in defense of human rights and civil liberties, particularly in periods of domestic and international crisis.
Informing the public about Canada’s first national internment operations requires a focus on what actually happened, an historical injustice, so defined because of:
- The internment of “enemy aliens” as a result of their socio-economic status
- The exploitation of interned civilian “enemy aliens” as conscript labour
- The abrogation of Canada’s international treaty obligations and the setting aside of our country’s political and moral responsibility for those who consequently endured state-sanctioned indignities, including imprisonment, the confiscation of their wealth, and disfranchisement, not because of any wrong they had done but only because of where they had come from, who they were. Any account that seeks to educate our fellow citizens on these subjects must converge on these points for without their explicit treatment no appreciation of the wrongs done can be communicated.
The murals will provide a central place of education, commemoration and reflection on the meaning of these events to Canadian national identity.
The Sunflower Project will be inclusive:
- It will create strong partnerships with many stakeholders and visionaries
- It will provide the opportunity for communities across Canada to participate
- It will give youth the ability to participate and contribute to the story telling of Canadian history.
- Groups of local youth and youth at risk will have the opportunity to work on the mural being created in their community.
- Community groups will be able to contribute information and resources
- It will provide aspiring artists with the opportunity to learn from and be mentored by a professional and influential artist
- It will provide aspiring artists with the opportunity to mentor the youth at risk participants
- It will become a valuable educational tool as it will provide information and insight into some of Canada’s greatest human rights stories
The Sunflower Project will be economically sustainable: It will provide creative communities with a story collecting art and culture mechanism of cultural tourism and social change to market and expand upon.
Sunflower Project Mission Statement
Through the unrecognized Canadian Internment operations, the Sunflower Social Imagery Project is endeavoring to take human wrongs and turn them into human rights. Our children have lived in a time of great change and unprecedented freedoms. By planting the seeds of learning through education and art it is hoped the youth of Canada will learn from these wrongs and strive to become better citizens.
The arts are the living soul of humanity. Through them, our aspirations, our imaginative spirit, our creativity, our values and our voice is spread, like a canvas, upon the ever-expanding horizon of our collective consciousness. In observing our past, sometimes uncomfortable, truths about who we are illuminate little known facets of our existence, promote human striving, and build potential.
The Message of the Sunflowers:A Magic Symbol of Peace by Georgianna Moore
Dedicated to The Children of the World
Who Will Sow the Sunflower Seeds of Peace
Once upon a time the earth was even more beautiful than it is today. The water was pure and deep, reflecting within itself the sunlight which gave life to all the creatures beneath the waves.
The earth was green with many kinds of trees and plants. These gave food and shelter to the birds, the animals, and to all mankind. At night the air was so clear that the starlight gave a glow almost as bright as the moon.
The people of the earth lived close to nature. They understood it and honored it and never took more than what they needed from it. The people lived in peace so they prospered and began to build many nations all
around the world according to nature’s climate.
But one day, a terrible thing happened. A strange spirit of greed entered the hearts of mankind. People began to be jealous of one another, and they were not satisfied will all the good things they already had. The nations wanted more and more of everything: more land, more water, more resources. They squeezed precious minerals from the earth to build terrible weapons to defend their nations from other greedier nations. They killed one another. They polluted the air and the water with poisons. Nature began to die. This is called war. War is ugly. It destroys love and hope and peace.
Then one day a magical thing occurred. The birds of the air, the animals of the land, and the creatures beneath the waters came to an agreement: if they were to survive, something would have to be done to stop these wars. Only through peace could their world survive.
We cannot speak the human language, they declared, and mankindmcan no longer understand ours. We must find among us a symbol of peace so brilliant that all who see it will stop and remember that peace and sharing are beautiful.
I am what you need, said a golden sunflower. I am tall and bright. My leaves are food for the animals, my yellow petals can turn plain cloth to gold, my seeds are many and are used for food by all living beings. Yet, the seeds I drop upon the ground can take root and I will grow again and again. I can be your symbol of peace.
All nature rejoiced, and it was decided that the birds would each take one sunflower seed and that they would fly over every nation and plant the seed in the earth as a gift. The seeds took root and grew, and the sunflowers multiplied.
Wherever the sunflowers grew, there seemed to be a special golden glow in the air. The people could not ignore such a magical sight. Soon they began to understand the message of the sunflowers so they decided to destroy all of their terrible weapons and to put an end to the greed and to the fear of war. They chose the sunflower as a symbol of peace and new life for all the world to recognize and understand.
A ceremony was celebrated by planting a whole field of sunflowers. Artists painted pictures of the sunflowers, writers wrote about them, and the people of the world were asked to plant more sunflowers seeds as a symbol of remembrance.
All nature rejoiced once more as the golden sunflowers stood tall with their faces turned eastward to the rising sun, then following the sun until the setting in the west. They gave their goodness to the world so that everyone who sees a sunflower will know that the golden light of peace is beautiful.
Sunflowers have become the symbol of a world free of nuclear
weapons. After Ukraine gave up its last nuclear warhead, the Defense
Ministers of the US, Russia and Ukraine met on a former Ukrainian missile
base, June 4, 1996. They celebrated by scattering sunflower seeds and
planting sunflowers. Former US Secretary of Defense William Perry said,
Sunflowers instead of missiles in the soil will ensure peace for future