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Weyburn art studio holds Truth and Reconciliation event

Krystal Glowatski and her mother, Kathy, were amazed at the support of the community for their art event

WEYBURN - Mother and daughter Indigenous artists, Kathy and Krystal Glowatski, wanted to have an artistic way to reach out to the community and to support a non-profit organization as a way to recognize Canada’s first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.

Krystal owns and operates Olive’s Branch Art Studio in the former Signal Hill Arts Centre, and she and her mom opened up the studio for the day on Thursday, giving people a chance to come in and make some art or a craft, and to support Water First, a non-profit organization that is working to provide clean water to First Nations communities. As of Friday, Krystal said they raised at least $1,000 for the non-profit.

Kathy was a 60s Scoop child, and about three years she was able to meet her birth family, from the Ahtahkakoop First Nation northwest of Prince Albert.

Her daughter had been attending university in Vancouver, where she has been taking her Ph.D in criminology, and had been studying the whole issue of Truth and Reconciliation, working with First Nations peoples on the West Coast.

Since her mom has made this connection with her birth family, they both have been learning more about their Indigenous heritage and art, and when the National Day of Truth and Reconciliation came up, they offered the community a chance to create a piece of art and to learn what reconciliation is all about.

The mother-daughter team were amazed at the large response from people, as they had at least 100 wooden canvases painted during the day-long event.

“Thursday was a truly inspiring day. We had no idea what to expect, but we have now figured that we had 78 folks do the feather canvas piece, but likely we had just over 200 people through the doors, some who just read the gallery walk, some who took information home, some who watched their children create and commemorate,” said Krystal.

“We were hopeful for 50 people, and Weyburn far exceeded what we anticipated. This morning I’ve been in conversations with folks from the City who are interested in partnering with us next year, already looking for a larger venue for us, and we’re on the lookout for grants.”

She added they had no budget for this event, so they are excited at the prospect of being able to increase the size of it next year for the folks of Weyburn to keep working toward reconciliation.

“It’s important to note that the work doesn’t just happen on one day. We encourage all of the residents of Weyburn to read the 94 calls to action that were released in 2015 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada and choose one that speaks to them, and then take action. Every act of kindness, and the ways we choose to treat each other every day, with love, respect, and dignity - those are the ways we will achieve reconciliation, but it is a choice to be made, actively, by each and every one of us,” said Krystal.

“I don’t expect to see true reconciliation in my lifetime, but as the seven-generation principle suggests, we do these things now in hopes for a better future,” she added.

Those who attended could paint an Indigenous design on a square wooden canvas, with a variety of designs provided, along with colouring pages for children of Indigenous art, such as of feathers or a medicine wheel.

Melinda Roy and her daughter Victoria were among those who came out and were duly impressed by the event.

“I think how Olive’s Branch honoured this day was amazing,” she said.

“I was told that many individuals attended and showed respect and acknowledgement of lost children and survivors of residential schools, their families and communities, not only by their presence but also by their openness to learn and creation of symbolic feather art,” she added. “I’m proud to see our community supporting each other.

Krystal provided a large display of books from her Indigenous studies, including histories of First Nations peoples and issues, and both she and her mom were able to answer any questions people had about truth and reconciliation, or the significance of the symbols and colours used in the art.

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