In Bridge Space
Narrating Ourselves from the City is a collection of interdisciplinary works by youth artists Abrianna, Liz, Mary, Sasha and Sergio. Over the course of four workshops, the youth explored Critical Theory, particularly concepts related to race, class, and gender as identity constructs, and the problems that come with finding one’s place in the world in a Eurocentric/White society. They participated in a story circle, where they shared and discussed their experiences in a mutually-supportive community context, offering one-another respect and compassion. They engaged in discussions around the praxis of decolonization, guided by Kaitlyn Purcell (writer, artist, educator), who offered an Indigenous perspective. The youth also met local expatriate artists Mera Reyes (master storyteller) and Fredy Rivas (interdisciplinary artist) who shared their own backgrounds and life trajectories, and how their paths led them to build resilience and empowerment through their artwork. Finally, the youth were introduced to Digital Storytelling as a decolonizing tool, and with the support of Hortensia Barrios (sociolinguist), learned how to create their own story using writing and images.
Narrating Ourselves from the City was designed by PhD Candidate Karina S. Hincapié (educator, activist) as a way to empower minorities in Calgary, and open spaces that are usually designated for privileged populations. The project seeks to value alternative voices and expressions by bringing racialized and gender diverse youth together to discuss the issues and challenges they have faced in Calgary. A central axis of the project is the participants’ reflection on their own identities, positionalities, and the intersections between theirs, and other minorities’ experiences.
The workshops and encounters the youth engaged in were crucial in making room for meaningful alliances between minority groups, and in furthering the process of decolonization as a path for social justice. The artwork in this exhibition emerged from our experiences together.
Narrating Ourselves from the City is a community-centered project in partnership with The Calgary Institute for the Humanities, University of Calgary Public Humanities Fellowship program, and Esker Foundation.
Esker Foundation is currently hosting PhD candidate and Public Humanities Fellow, Karina Hincapié in partnership with The Calgary Institute for theHumanities, University of Calgary. Hincapié’s research with Esker is focused on decolonizing gallery spaces through the creative, community centered project, Narrating Ourselves from the City in collaboration with local youth.