Written In Thread

Saturday, 23 November 2019 to Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Written in Thread is an installation of ArtsSmarts Nova Scotia 2019 project artwork produced by Grade 6 French Immersion students at École St. Joseph's A. McKay School in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Inuk artist Flora May introduced teacher Katelyn McKenzie and her students to various forms of Indigenous arts from Newfoundland and Labrador artwork, where Flora grew up (Nunatukavut). The students learned about a variety of artmaking techniques, including embroidery and beading, and participated in a nature walk through their neighbourhood to collect meaningful objects and images. These small treasures acted as inspiration for the embroidered artworks produced by the students for this exhibition.

Working on this project gave my urban students an opportunity to connect their world and perspectives to the greater world. From the beginning, Assistant Curator Kris Webster, artist Flora May and HRCE Fine Arts Specialist Karyn Harrison all worked together to help answer my call for help: how can we integrate our Grade 6 Indigenous Education social studies curriculum into a meaningful art project? We wanted to use what the students have already learned, but also provide them with a new lesson or experience they would not have had normally.

Every step of this journey was met with enthusiasm by my sometimes skeptical students. They started out by proudly showing off their community during the nature walk and were eager to try the embroidery style that Flora May demonstrated and talked about so passionately. The students all took such care and detail with their stitching and planning of the projects.

Katelyn McKenzie, Grade 6 French Immersion Teacher, École St. Joseph's A. McKay School

Flora May is also a featured artist in the exhibition, Worn Inward, on view in the Gallery’s Community Room (November 23, 2019 - May 17, 2020).

Written in Thread was made possible through the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia’s ArtsSmarts Nova Scotia program with the generous support of Arts Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Department of Education.

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