Claudia Salguero

Cross-Culture Communication

Cross-cultural communication is a field of study that looks at how people from differing cultural backgrounds communicate, in similar and different ways among themselves, and how they endeavor to communicate across cultures”.

-Wikipedia

 And this exactly what I have witnessed through the creation of “Canadian Pride, Harmony in Cultures” community mural for our Hunt Club – Riverside Community Centre.

20170711_143237.jpgMembers of my diverse neighbourhood, (all genders and ages 14 and up) originally from, or with ancestry from countries like Peru, Iran, Iraq, Yemen, Somalia, Congo, Ghana, Poland, Britain, Syria, Mexico, Holland, Lithuania, Quebec, France, Lebanon, Venezuela, Hungary, China, Sudan, Scotia, Ukraine, Egypt, Germany, Russia, Ireland, Sweden and Turkey, have been part of the creation of this mural.

20170711_144950.jpgSince mid-April when we had our first three brainstorm sessions until now, we have had 31 community art sessions. With the exception of three teen girls that came along with a friend, we are new to each other and this has been a gift for each of us and for the community: interesting conversations, new friends, cultural and generational exchanges and collaboration moments.  I can’t be happier or more thankful!

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I love people, making new friends and learning form the different cultures around. People participating in community projects definitely love people too and for all of us these thirty-one sessions together, creating art pieces that represent our countries of origin, have been a fun growing experience.

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Among all the pieces of the mural there is one that represents Aboriginal Canadian Cultures from Ocean to Ocean (Pacific, Arctic and Atlantic) and their relationship with Mother Nature. This piece has brought another gift to all of us: the opportunity to learn from, share with and meet aboriginal artists and members of the different Indigenous communities.

21246169_10159369596280271_4163725837992617175_oI have approached Aboriginal institutions like Wabano, The Inuit Children’s Centre, the Kabeshinan Minitig Pavilion at Victoria Island and met some amazing aboriginal artists. They have been all very kind and generous and are pleased with the fact that we are asking for their guidance.

IMG_20170824_075420I had the privilege to be invited by Indigenous Artist Doreen Stevens, to help in painting a Tipi (as a cultural exchange) for the eight annual World vintage rugby event at Kitiganzibi First Nation reserve in Maniwaki. This Tipi, representing their Anishinaabe clans, was created for a cultural exchange with Maori IWI Elders, people of Aoeara from New Zealand. Doreen was the artist doing the tour of the clans to the Maori Elders attending the rugby event.

During my visit I met kind artists who taught me about their culture and guided me in choosing a common image to represent the Algonquin culture and all the cultures that inhabit the lands from the centre of the country to the East Coast in my mural.

I got to paint an Eagle for the Tipi! The leader of the Bird Clan that represents the spiritualism for the people and guide their vision, the bird that brings the prayers to the creator, the knowledge keeper… What a privilege and wonderful experience…!

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IMG_20170823_123205I met also with a group of Inuit youth and with Ruth Kadlutsiak an Elder quilt maker at the Inuit Children’s Centre and we talked about the best image to represent them. One of the very special things about this meeting was the presence of Alice and Brian, a Chinese couple, resident of Hunt Club – Riverside, who has been a very important part of our mural painting team and who spent 15 years living up North.  Between Ruth’s knowledge and wisdom, the suggestions of the Inuit youth and Brian and Alice’s vision our meeting was a success and we got to define the image to represent the Inuit Culture in our mural.

21125678_10159363262350271_506995915800443348_oInquiring about West Coast culture I have had the pleasure to speak with Bill Montgomery and Vincent Kicknosway, two exceptional and knowledgeable artists.  We haven’t met yet but the exchange has been very educational and generous.

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21167910_10159369617830271_3031037953340098029_oNext week, Algonquin artist Doreen Stevens and her daughter Charlotte, Inuit artists Ruth, Sailym and Jasmine, and possibly Bill Montgomery or Vincent Kicknosway West Coast artists will join us to paint the Aboriginal piece of our mural!

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If somebody asks about the importance of Art in Cross-cultural communication and community building, this would be a beautiful example.

A tribute to Claudia Salguero.
The Mural Painting Community Project is analogous to the United Nations. The function is the same, a group of very different people get together to do something worthwhile. The reason for our success is, we checked our egos and indifferences at the door. If the leaders of the world would follow our example, the protection of this planet and world peace could be achieved.

I have to pay tribute to our very artistic, talented and warm hearted  facilitator Claudia Salguero who held our hands and lead us all the way.

Claudia, I will not be surprised if someone at the UN sees this tribute, they would be knocking at your door to give you a portfolio to be in charge of world peace.
Chao,
Alice Wong

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Rag & Bone Puppet Theatre

Snippets of Canada

Here’s the flexible lineup for Snippets of Canada 150. We add and subtract depending on the library, the guest reader, and the audience response.

  • Russell sings a song.

Kathy: Hello everyone and welcome to Snippets of Canada 150, a collection of songs and stories celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday.

APA_2017-07-06_07-26-11_APA_4356We are Rag and Bone Puppet Theatre: Kathy, John, Russell and guests.

We want to thank all the librarians across Ottawa who suggested books and songs for this event. There were lots of ideas for books about animals.

In the end, we decided that we should start off with a book about a moose. A big moose, because Canada is so big. And moose live all across it.

  • Guest: Ernest by Catherine Rayner.
  • Russell sings a song.

Kathy: And now, a book about a bear and other animals.

  • Guest: I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen

Kathy: The First Nations were the first people in Canada, and one of our favourite Rag & Bone shows is A Promise is A Promise. And this is how that story begins.

  • Guest: A Promise is a Promise by Robert Munsch and Michael Kusugak

Kathy: Some of the first newcomers to Canada came from France, and here’s a song they sang.

  • Song: Ah! Si Mon Moine Voulait Danser

Kathy: And here’s a story about some French-Canadian trappers, from a book called The Talking Cat by Natalie Savage Carlson. It’s one story in a show we do called The Flying Canoe.

  • John, Kathy & Russell: The Bear in the Canoe

Kathy: Jean Marc and René were also loggers.

  • Russell sings a song.

APA_2017-07-06_07-06-48_APA_4268Kathy: Then there were farmers and settlers, and there are always new people coming to Canada, and this next story is from another Rag & Bone show called Felicity Falls. It’s about learning to get along and work together to build a great place to live, like Canada.

  • John & Kathy: Felicity Falls

Kathy: And here’s a song that celebrates farming, and one of our most famous vegetables.

  • Russell sings a song

Kathy: We’ve celebrated Canada’s animals, people and vegetables, but what about our birds? We have lots of birds in Canada. They all have different personalities. The next story is about one that is Grumpy.

  • Guest: Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard
  • Russell sings a song.

APA_2017-07-06_07-33-51_APA_4377

Margit Hideg

Feeling “Togetherness”

Neighborhood Arts 150 assitant artist Lisa Flick shares her experience with the Wisdom of Trees open workshops in the Beaverbrook Library:

I feel like there is a sound of “visual art”. There is that distinct silence that happens when people are focused on making a colourful design. I love that sound. This said, happy and quiet conversations spring up between the participants during the workshops. Kanata Residents of all ages are drawn into the Wisdom of Trees workshops where they are asked to reflect on the symbolism of trees in forests in comparison to themselves in their communities, then they are asked to draw a tree on a mylar triangle.

A mother and daughter come in together who are relatively new to the area. We begin to chat about what brought the family to the area. Her response comes with an experience-based counsel:

“Lisa, remember this: no matter where you live, the thing that counts is the people. I moved here to Canada and sure – the winters are tough – but you can put a coat on and you are all set. Where I used to live, we had mountains, beaches, great weather but people just felt too competitive, too money driven. Here, the kids don’t have four hours of homework in grade four, it’s more relaxed, more friendly.”

It felt so rewarding to hear the reflections and appreciations for Canada’s culture move around the table. “Welcoming and relaxed neighborhood environments” were elements of our culture that participants cherished as well as multi-lingualism. Several kids at the table chattered about their great visions for their artworks flowing seamlessly between French and English or Mandarin.

In these multi-generational family discussions, many parents would come into the workshop thinking only their kids would do the art. Some parents said: “Oh! I can’t do art” However, with the supplies set out before them and some gentle reassurance, they – perhaps reluctantly, began. That’s my favourite part! I love bringing people to break through their inhibition to drawing or painting and realising that they are indeed able to create something beautiful just by putting colours on a page. That’s the place to start art. By just starting. Creating with little skill and experience is still creating.

Our goals for these projects were beautifully simple, yet things we really believe are important to take the time to consider: our gratefulness for our communities, and to become reaffirmed in our personal identity in regard to others around us. We also want to pause to give some recognition to a beautiful staple in Canadian landscapes: trees! I noticed how much I disregarded Canada’s incredible greenery when I went traveling and it would be a shame if we Canadians came to take the trees in our communities for granted.  We are really enjoying the workshops for how they are so fully reaching these goals. We hope that the gratitude participants connect with during the workshops sticks with them as they go about their daily lives in this refreshed attitude.