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September 6, 2005
Mural unveiling and celebration of First Nations culture
  
Historic Fort York is pleased to present "Niinwin Dabaadjmowin -- We Are
Talking," a mural unveiling and celebration of First Nations culture on
Saturday, September 17 from 1 to 5 p.m. in the Blue Barracks (at Fort York).
The unveiling will feature a 20 panel 80-foot mural created under the
leadership of First Nations artists Philip Cote and Rebecca Baird along with
young people from the Tumivut Youth Shelter. Enjoy screenings of a film that
documents the making of the mural and depicts the rich history of First Nations
culture. The afternoon will feature a talk by the artists and First Nations
Traditional drum and dance performances. Corn soup and bannock will be served.

A collaboration between Historic Fort York, the Tecumseh Collective and Tumivut
Youth Shelter, "Niinwin Dabaadjmowin -- We Are Talking," is the culmination of
a project that began in August 2004. Funded through Toronto Culture Ontario
Works Incentive Funds Initiatives, the endeavour sought to engage young people
from the Tumivut Youth Shelter in the artistic process.

Operated by the Native Men's Residence, Tumivut (Our Footprints) is a
transitional centre for homeless youth. This unique facility provides critical
accommodation, programs, and services for 52 male and female Aboriginal and
non-Aboriginal homeless youth, who may reside for up to six months. At Tumivut,
youth can turn their lives around, pursue and realize their dreams and develop
their talent and potential.

The youth also took part in a number of workshops with Baird and Cote. In
addition to working on the mural, the youth learned soapstone carving,
traditional beadwork and partook in cultural activities, which included Talking
Circles, Pipe and Sweatlodge ceremonies.

The mural process began with basic drawing and painting skills. The artists,
taking the responsibility of role models and professionals, guided the youth
through the different stages of the mural project, which depicts the original
story of the Anishnaabe people.

Of their experience working with the young people of Tumivut, Baird and Cote
said, "It has been an incredible opportunity for us to continue our work in the
Aboriginal community of Toronto. Our goal with our programs is to offer First
Nations youth hope and vision for a future. We provide opportunities to acquire
skills, knowledge of their culture, and develop talents and ideas that will
serve to expand their horizons in the future. By continuing to implement an
integrated approach, we are also providing an opportunity for First Nations
youth to partake in traditional cultural activities, while gaining exposure and
access to the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community."

The mural will also be displayed later in the evening on September 17 at Nathan
Phillips Square as part of the Live With Culture launch, a 16-month initiative
to highlight cultural vibrancy in Toronto. The Square will be transformed into
an open-air theatre of music, dance and pyrotechnics for one night only
starting at 8:30 p.m. in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Toronto City
Hall. The mural will continue to travel throughout the year, with an exhibition
schedule still to be confirmed.

Fort York is located at 100 Garrison Blvd. (off Fleet Street, east of Strachan
Avenue, west of Bathurst Street). Admission on September 17 is free.

For more information, call 416-392-6907 or visit
http://www.toronto.ca/culture/calendar.


Media contact:

Andrea Raymond
Culture Division
416-338-0435



 

 

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