Artist Suellen Evoy-Oozeer, in collaboration with Elder Susan Angela Bressette, takes her collection of spirit portraits across Ontario
“All that we are is story. From the moment we are born to the time we continue on our spirit journey, we are involved in the creation of the story of our time here.” — Richard Wagamese
Community artist Suellen Evoy-Oozeer first planted the seed that would become Me, You & Us in 2009, out of a desire to build bridges and create positive connections with her community, with Mother Earth, and most importantly with the First Nations people of Canada. The resulting exhibit encompasses 27 of Suellen’s spirit portraits and will travel across Ontario through summer 2019.
The project expanded with the inclusion of Elder Susan Angela Bressette at Golden Eagle Lodge, who became Suellen’s first live portrait model and eventual collaborator. Susan and Suellen shared a connection to Ipperwash Camp, and sought a way to explore the land and its spirit as shaped by each woman’s unique perspective and history.
“Art was the backbone of Me, You & Us,” said Suellen. “Susan and I used the tools we had at hand with the knowledge that art can bring people together. We created a workshop and brought it to the First Nations community to build better energy and understanding in the area. We’re at a time where this isn’t just a good idea, it’s crucial.”
Most of the spirit portraits included in the exhibit stemmed from the supportive confines of Suellen’s Intuitive Energy Painting Workshops. The portrait process included a personal interview at the participant’s favorite outdoor space. Susan took pictures while Suellen asked a series of questions to help visualize the person’s spirit.
Me, You & Us provided a safe passage and harbour for people to come together across a big divide, one that encompassed fear, land disputes, past and present racism, ingrained habits, lack of understanding, ignorance, lack of opportunity for change or growth, and a little more fear.
The exhibit will travel throughout southern Ontario beginning this month and end in Ottawa in July 2019. After completing the exhibition, all portraits will be gifted to the participants in appreciation for their willingness to create new bridges of understanding and build positive community relationships.
10035 Museum Rd
Grand Bend, ON
Common Ground Gallery
April 22-May 5
Art Square Cafe & Art Hub Gallery
June 18-July 7
Shenkman Art Centre
*Note others dates may be added
For additional info, please visit meyouandus.info