Friday, June 04, 2010

Expressions of Hunger

What is hunger? Expressions of Hunger is an exhibit organized by Edmonton's Food Bank that seeks to start discussions on that very topic. Earlier in the year, creative people in Edmonton were invited to submit poetry and photographs depicting what hunger means to them in five categories: emotional, physical, mental, environmental, and physical. Entries were posted on the Food Bank's website, and the public voted for the top three entries in each category.

Expressions of Hunger was launched at City Hall on June 1. I was privileged to have four photographs and one poem included in the exhibit. The media launch included speakers from the Food Bank, Mayor Mandel presenting a proclamation for National Hunger Awareness Week (which kicked off also on June 1), and a delicious lunch provided by Denny's. I was also honoured by being asked to sing "Summer," a song I wrote about homelessness which won in the Emotional - Poetry category to get things started.

For me, homelessness and other issues surrounding poverty go hand in hand with the concept of hunger. I work in the inner city and "Summer" was inspired by people I have met, things I have seen, stories I have learned. The character in the song is fictional, but her story has become universal for too many people. Several of my photographs were also taken in the inner city area and deal with similar themes. Hunger, in many of these cases, means more than just needing food to eat. These people hunger for all of the basic necessities of life, from shelter to appropriate clothing to medical attention. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there is also the hunger to be accepted - a hunger to make eye contact with others, to say hello, to be acknowledged as being human.

Another major aspect of "Expressions of Hunger" for me is the merging of art and activism. To raise awareness of a social issue using art as the method is a powerful way to get a message across.

Here is my photo set from the event. John also took some really spectacular photos. To watch the media launch, here is the playlist on YouTube.

Expressions of Hunger will be shown at The Carrot Community Arts Coffeehouse (9351 118 Avenue) from June 7-23 and at the Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts (9225 118 Avenue) during the Works Festival of Art and Design from June 25-July 7.

1 comment:

MeShell said...

I'm looking forward to checking it out when it's at the Carrot.