Calgary Indigenous art exhibit promotes reconciliation: 'This is part of my healing'

WATCH: There’s a new way for Calgarians to be part of the healing journey as Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation approaches. As Gil Tucker reports, Indigenous artists are inviting people to show their support as they share the pain of the past.

There’s a new way for Calgarians to join the healing as we approach Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Friday, Sept 30.

Indigenous artists are inviting people to show their support as artists share the pain of the past.

One of those artists is Flora Johnson, whose piece “Spirit Soaring” is part of a new exhibit at Southcentre Mall in southeast Calgary.

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“I’m a Sixties Scoop survivor, and when they scooped us up, we were put in a foster home,” Johnson said.

“I got put in the system, being moved and moved and moved — our stories need to be heard.”

The exhibit was put together by the CIF Reconciliation Society.

“Reconciliation is a tough subject and sometimes having artwork involved helps to ease that,” CIF founder Diana Frost said.

“That’s something we need. We need to care more about our Indigenous people. How do we move forward together?”

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CIF is inviting people visiting the exhibit to join that effort by colouring within the outline of a Blackfoot art piece called “Sunset Song.”

“I find this really cool,” mall visitor Elisabeth Visser said while colouring on Thursday. “This needs to happen more often — where the kids, the next generation, can interact with it.

“The kids could be the influence for the parents to do something about it.”

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The exhibit also includes posters featuring suggestions on how people can show their support for Indigenous people and their culture.

“These ‘reconciliactions’ are things that people can do to support truth and reconciliation,” Frost said. “It’s amazing how much you can learn just by talking to an elder.”

The exhibit continues at Southcentre Mall until Friday, Sept 30.

“We need to keep talking about it — all that hurt and pain that was terrible for a child to go through,” Johnson said. “I’m never going to heal. But it’s OK, because my art is a part of my healing.

“This is part of my journey, this is part of my path.”

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