#Artpoli: Canadian federal election 2015

Tomorrow welcomed residents of Halifax, Nova Scotia, to work with artist in residence Jason Skinner to tell voters and politicians what issues matter most in the Canadian federal election.

Rather than politicians talking to media, we let art do the talking with collages from magazines and comics glued to polystyrene sheets.

Hosted by Cafe Cempoal Calavera Negra1 on Agricola Street and co-owner Chris Cookson, Tomorrow made a Saturday morning of art and politics in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Mr Cookson joked that, “I always judge a country by where I would like to get arrested” but expressed his own election issue as a desire “that the votes of everybody get counted and everybody votes”.

Jason said: “I think an event where a small group of community members share their political views is a greater representation of Canada, which I believe is a collection of communities. And that’s what’s often forgotten about in the Canadian federal election when we are selecting our local representative, not a leader.”

Cutting politics

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Jason Skinner prepares to welcome voters to make their Saturday morning collages.

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Jason Skinner uses a collage process for his art for Tomorrow and worked with voters in Halifax for #artpoli.

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Saturday morning at Cafe Cempoal Calavera Negra preparing collages on the Canadian federal election.

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Artist in residence Jason Skinner prepares his first collage for #artpoli.

Abstract votes

These two works are by a voter who asked for their name to be withheld as government employees are not permitted to comment on politics.

Their first work, “Layered forward” is described as, “we are not paying attention to the key issues that have impact on life”.

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“Layered forward” by an anonymous resident of Halifax.

And in this second work, which was easily the largest piece of the day, the voter said, “people are at the table but they’re backwards in their thinking”.

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“Backward thinking” by a Halifax resident who wished to remain anonymous because of her employment at #artpoli.

Heather Mac, 36, who works for the Nova Scotia Health Authority on mental health, offered this untitled work about what matters to her in the Canadian federal election.

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An untitled work by Heather Mac

Earthquake

Andrew Hare, 44, works at St Mary’s University and titled his collage “Change doesn’t have to be dramatic”.

He explained: “It can be smooth. I think there are small changes that make things better. The squares get an earthquake but they’re on an upward trajectory so things are getting better.”

Andrew Hare

Andrew Hare shows his “Change doesn’t need to be dramatic” collage at #artpoli.

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“Change doesn’t need to be dramatic” by Andrew Hare.

Explosive

Carmel O’Keefe, 51, teaches at Dalhousie University, and said her work was titled “A wolf with a bond”.

She described a politics that is “tyrannical with his dollar” and like a dog with a bone, in this case, the bone is money.

She said: “I feel we are being held prisoner for our thoughts and our emotions in the name of profits. So our thoughts in the entire infrastructure of research and in our hearts because of the child care and educational slaughter of programmes and the confines of profit.”

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Carmel O’Keefe with her “A wolf with a bond” at #artpoli.

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“A wolf with a bond” by Carmel O’Keefe.

Jobs jobs jobs

Artist and receptionist Tori Fleming, 24, titled her collage “Let’s make the economy sexy again”.

She explained: “I know many people who don’t have a job and the quality jobs are not there. I would like to see more effort put into getting people actual jobs that last longer than a summer.”

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“Let’s make the economy sexy again” by Tori Fleming at #artpoli.

Journalism as art

As cohost with Jason, I created these two works, one about the differences between Canada and the United States and issues of open expression and privacy, and the other about how eyewitness news and observing brings choice and helps community.

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A second collage by Tomorrow reporter Tristan Stewart-Robertson on the differences between the US and Canada and thoughts and privacy.

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“Eyewitness transparency” by Tomorrow reporter Tristan Stewart-Robertson for #artpoli.

Issues as art

Jason Skinner, after completing his two works, concluded: “I think the event went well – I couldn’t be happier: making art with strangers, sharing opinions with strangers, learning from strangers, who in the end are not strangers anymore.

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Artist in residence Jason Skinner’s first collage for #artpoli.

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Artist in residence Jason Skinner’s second collage for #artpoli

Thanks to everyone who participated in the morning, but the election is far from over. Got an issue you want to raise through art? Get in touch by any platform and we’ll add reaction.

  1. Visit the cafe’s Facebook page for more information.

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