Heart to Heart (2020) is a bilingual multidisciplinary and socially engaged project. Like much of my work, the project explores Old Sandwich Town, the oldest French settlement west of Montreal, situated on the traditional land of the Anishinaabe people. The community’s strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities for the future are the venues through which my work evolves. In this particular project, (and similarly in my 2016 project, Stories from Old Sandwich Town: A Bridge to Somewhere) my work is based on the perspectives of individuals with links to the community.
The group of nine people who agreed to partner with me was inclusive and representative of the cultural diversity of the area. We met to discuss the Windsor Ontario community, focusing our conversations on what they valued about the ‘Town’, their concerns and their hopes for the future.
The resulting work, including mixed media portraits of the participants along with other artwork motivated by our conversations, are all chronicled in a bilingual booklet. Excerpts of the discussions accompany the portraits. They are hand-written in *franglais on acetate. Text in franglais was based on the comments of one of the francophone participants.
The underlying goal of my work continues to be to provoke thought and discussion about the development of existing and future communities.
*franglais: a mix of French and English used interchangeably while speaking or writing. It is very common in French minority situations, such as Windsor, Ontario.
The following are the individuals who agreed to participate in Heart to Heart:
Issane Abdallah, student and activity participant at New Canadian Centre for Excellence
Colin Côté-Paulette, journalist, Radio Canada, Toronto
Fabio Costante, Municipal Councillor, City of Windsor
Sente Muchunduzi, student and volunteer, New Canadian Centre for Excellence
Nil Parent, retired school principal from Conseil scolaire Providence
Lynn Perreault, improv artist, psychologist in organizational development
Melissa Phillips, Collections Assistant, Chimczuk Museum, Windsor Community Museum
Merry Ellen Scully, artist, Retired Director, Mackenzie Hall Cultural Centre
Teajai Travis, Exective Director, Artcite artist-run centre
Photo credit: Eveline Csomor and Linda Renaud Fisher
I would like to acknowledge funding support from the Ontario Arts Council.