SEEDS OF HOPE: An arts-based project to raise awareness about suicide

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participant with mask revised

In partnership with the education department of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, my project, "Seeds of Hope", addresses the serious and tragic issue of suicide through the use of the creative arts therapies.

This innovative project aims to raise awareness around the prevalence of suicide and how it affects families, loved ones, and communities. In order to do this, several communities that have been affected by suicide have been invited to participate in a series of arts-based workshops at the Museum. The identified communities are Inuit, First Nations, Survivors (those who have lost loved ones to suicide), Veterans, Support Workers (who work with those who are suicidal), and those who have previously made suicide attempts but are now stable and healthy. The goal is to have a diverse population to demonstrate that suicide affects many different communities. Through the use of mask-making, drama, writing and other arts, participants have an opportunity to explore the subject of suicide and make a difference through their personal creative expression. Participants from each community are invited to attend three arts based mask-making workshops at the Museum. Each community will meet on its own for these workshops. After the workshops are finished, these same participants will come together to work in a cross-cultural and collaborative way to plan a public exhibition of their work. This exhibition will be held at the Museum from March 3rd to April 9th, 2017. The vernissage is March 7th from 5:30-7:30pm.

Sadly, suicide is still surrounded by shame, silence, and taboo. The hope is that this project and exhibition will help to break the silence and raise awareness. This project is based on my previous research and my award-winning film “The Hidden Face of Suicide” which will be screened at the Museum during the time of the exhibition. I plan to work with a renowned cinematographer, Martin Duckworth, in order to document this innovative and unique project.