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images for today – and a healthier tomorrow

March 29, 2013

For such a huge territory (Nunavut), made of isolated communities sharing a common culture and interests, online exhibitions (like this one) have great potential to get people looking together at shared and unshared histories, ways of seeing, and developing layers of narrative set in past, present and future.

I’ve posted a few online shows before – like storytelling videos by Aboriginal youth talking with elders. There was a good one of anti-smoking art made by high school kids. Recently, there was Through My Eyes, a contest of children’s and teens’ art about suicide, mental illness and addiction, sponsored by the Isaksimagit Inuusirmi Katujjiqatigiit Embrace Life Council (IIK). Submissions are being accepted now for Pauktuutit’s (Inuit Women of Canada) Virtual Quilt Project, documentaries of art made by Inuit women affected by residential school.

And here’s an online suicide prevention campaign, brought to you by Isaksimagit Inuusirmi Katujjiqatigiit Embrace Life Council (IIK) and my favourite by-youth-for-youth mental health site, mindyourmind.ca.

It’s said that Inuit have the highest suicide rate in the world. There is a determined campaign going on to counter taboos against talking about suicide, family violence and sexual abuse. Some people believe that talking about such troubles makes them happen. It’s probably not easy to start talking when there are not a great many mental health supports available – but the conversations are beginning, and so is the healing.

All of these arts-based online initiatives can be part of the change. Please look at them, share them, talk about them, join them, connect them with allies – or be inspired to start your own.

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