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.”
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”.
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”.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
- Visit the cafe’s Facebook page for more information. ↩