I believe we should wake up every day and go to sleep every night having hope for ourselves and for those that have lost hope. Everybody needs hope.
That is the theme of my piece ‘A Glimmer of Hope’ that won the ‘One for All Award’ in 2016. The artwork depicts a dark prison cell lit only by the light streaming in through the barred window. In this work I am exploring how people can be trapped in the literal sense but also how they can be prisoners of mental or physical illnesses, stuck in a job they hate, homeless, starving, abused, and fearful. All these people need hope and nobody can take hope away from them.
Hope is a powerful emotion. It has been my own experience, living with a chronic health issue, that hope can get one through a lot. It may not change your situation, but it offers you the possibility of a happier life.
I have been creating and/or directing community projects since I was a young adult. I have always liked bringing people together and through my work I learned the importance of human rights, dignity and compassion. I learned that community is a most important place and that everyone, no matter who they are, have a right to be a member of their community. Each person is an important part of the mosaic that is our community.
Collective art gives us the opportunity to come together and create strong community ties. We can easily put aside our differences and discover our common ground. We can be more united.
One of my favourite mottos is ‘Making the world a more beautiful place one small piece at a time”. It reminds me that we are never too small to make a positive change and that we are part of something bigger than just ourselves. When you create a mosaic, each tiny piece is placed next to another piece. In the end you have a beautiful piece of art. Just as, in the world, each person is part of the beautiful human mosaic we call life. We are never just one. We are never alone.
I still remember the day the telephone rang and I found out I was the recipient of the ‘One for All Award’ for Visual Arts. I must have smiled for an entire week afterwards. Since receiving the award, I have continued to work passionately on my community art projects. I have had many exhibits, donated several artworks to charity and my work was selected for the Ravenna Mosaico Biennale in Italy in 2017. Receiving the WCA award reinforced in me the amazing power of community. I will forever hold this award dear to my heart and continue to honour this everyday through my actions.