CISVAF: Visual Arts Festival
Artists need plenty of inspiration to fuel creativity and discover innovative ways to funnel their passion into a career. This festival offers senior visual-arts students an opportunity to discover and talk about art, showcase and produce art, and participate in workshops run by top industry and art professionals.
For educators, it’s a great way to spark new perspectives and art-making techniques to bring back to class.
CIS Ontario member school students in grades 10–12 joined us at the 2023 CISVAF – Visual Arts Festival, on November 24, 2023 at the stunning McMichael Canadian Art Collection in Kleinburg, Ontario.
CISVAF 2023 was a day of artistic exploration, inspiration, and growth that students will remember for years to come. Shelley Mandakwe Charles, Elder, Culture and Language Teacher, Keeper of Women's Teachings, Ceremony leader, Indigenous Education Specialist, opened the day with a moving talk.
The theme of
Reconnecting: Weaving Threads of Indigenous Heritage, Human Connection, Nature, and Artistry
focused on three main educational pillars: a gallery tour, workshops and interactive art battle.
Gallery Tour - "Stories of Canada"
Using McMichael's rich and diverse art holdings, students explored art as an expression of personal experience and examined various cultural narratives of the past and present. Artworks exploring the legacy of colonialism in Canada, such as the residential school system, slavery, and industrialization, were among the topics discussed.
Kim Wheatley, a Traditional Anishinaabe Grandmother Artist and Ancestral Knowledge Keeper and Destiny Love Rae, an Anishinaabe Artist, led students through a dreamcatcher-making workshop. Students were immersed in an introduction to indigenous culture in Canada and guided by the artists to find resilience within themselves as they completed their personal projects.
Tracey-Mae Chambers, Métis Installation Artist, introduced weaving to the students through a workshop that focused on connectivity between individuals and community. Tracey-Mae explored the importance of students listening to themselves and finding their community to foster creativity.
Interactive Art Battle
Students unleashed their competitive spirit as they engaged in an interactive art battle. This fun and challenging activity encouraged them to think on their feet and express their creativity under pressure. It's an experience that was both exhilarating and educational.