Reframing Relations is part of a national conversation around our current understanding of reconciliation. In classrooms and in the community, artists engage youth in addressing our shared history and envisioning our future together.
Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth currently lack opportunities for creative and respectful dialogue where it is possible to debunk stereotypes and question taken-for-granted narratives. Reframing Relations provides workshops where youth work together on collaborative, arts-based “Statements of Understanding” to discover where their awareness of Indigenous issues is located today, where they have gaps in their knowledge, and where they have areas they want to explore.
Reframing Relations is conducted by a pair of professional artists, one Indigenous and one non-Indigenous. These artists share stories of their understanding of reconciliation, in the broad sense, and model positive intercultural relations.
Ronnie Dean Harris aka Ostwelve, Project Director, is a Stō:lo/St’át’imc/Nlaka’pamux multimedia artist based in Langley, BC. Since 2009, he has been leading workshops at various youth organizations on developing leadership skills, music production, media arts production, and career planning. As a hip hop performer, Harris has toured globally and performed with such artists as A Tribe Called Red, Drezus, Swollen Members, Guru, and Snoop Dogg. In 2010, Harris worked with “All Nations Healin’ Thru Artz” an after school program in North Regina. Lyrics to his song “Life Has No Sequel” was published in grade 9 textbook, i wonder. Harris played a lead character, Red, in “Moccasin Flats” on APTN showcase.
Kelty McKerracher, CACV Program Manager, is passionate about intercultural community-engaged arts. She has worked alongside Downtown Eastside communities in the arts and harm reduction for the last 8 years. In 2015, Kelty participated in Train of Thought, a cross-Canada tour produced by Toronto’s Jumblies Theatre exploring relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists and communities. She is currently developing performance with members of Vancouver’s harm reduction movement addressing the opioid overdose crisis. She holds a Masters degree in Expressive Arts Therapy.
Brandon Gabriel – Kwlexwecten is a Kwantlen First Nation multimedia visual artist who graduated from Kwantlen Polytechnic University and Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Brandon has exhibited works in Hong Kong, England, Scotland, the US, and across Canada. His works also appear on book covers, in film, television, and in exhibitions.
Kim Villagante also known as Kimmortal is an artist based on the ancestral unceded land of the Coast Salish people. As an artist of lines and rhymes, as well as an arts-based community organizer, Kim fuses her phenomenal artistic talents (as a visual-artist, singer-songwriter, rap-poet-lyricist, and actor) with her passion for social justice. Kim was awarded the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award in Community-Engaged arts in 2013, and is also the founder of “SHE”, an annual East-Vancouver event celebrating BIPOC women in the arts. She has toured her music in Toronto, California, and the Westcoast.
Serene Porter (Mohawk Nation – Turtle clan) from the Six Nations of the Grand River territory in Ontario. An art therapist, visual and mixed media artist, graphic designer, and photographer. She has ten years experience facilitating art workshops on both a community level and within local school boards and has been fortunate to be able to work closely with many First Nations communities on a number of projects that fostered intergenerational participation. Serene is passionate about integrating her role as an art therapist with her passion for her culture, creativity and the freedom of expression.
Amal Rana is a queer Pakistani Poet and Educator. In a time when even exhaling while being Muslim is a crime, she conjures poetry as an act of collective liberation. Her work, which has been published and performed widely, focuses on creating visionary futures for those on the margins. rosewaterpoet.com
Johnny MacRae is a mouthy poet. He’s been both a regional and national poetry slam champion, and was named the Victoria Spoken Word Festival Poet of Honour in 2013. He’s toured widely across the country, performing at readings and slams, as wel as poetry, theatre, and music festivals, and has offered over 250 workshops and performances in schools since 2010. MacRae also co-directs Hullabaloo, a celebration of BC youth spoken word, and WordPlay, the Vancouver Poetry House’s school outreach program.
This program has been developed with guidance from the Aboriginal Education Department of the Vancouver School Board, the Surrey School Board, and the Urban Native Youth Association. It has also received crucial support from the Surrey School District, BC Arts Council, and Telus Community Board. We extend sincere thanks to our funders, supporters, and partners.