Common Weal Community Arts presents Why the Caged Bird Sings—Immersive Engagements a solo exhibition by Cheryl L’Hirondelle
The Exhibition closes October 22, 2020 and is available to view during regular gallery hours.
This fall, Common Weal Community Arts and the Mann Art Gallery present Why the Caged Bird Sings: Immersive Engagements a solo exhibition by Cheryl L’Hirondelle. This exhibition includes immersive, interactive new work by Indigenous interdisciplinary artist Cheryl L’Hirondelle created as elaborations on the songs she wrote in collaboration with incarcerated and detained populations in Saskatchewan’s correctional facilities.
Why the Caged Bird Sings: Immersive Engagements a solo exhibition by Cheryl L’Hirondelle runs September 17 through October 22, 2020. Visitors who are not comfortable coming into the gallery can enjoy projections on the building’s exterior after gallery hours.
More about the project:
We have been working with Cheryl to present songwriting workshops in correctional facilities throughout Saskatchewan since 2008. Reflecting on this work, Cheryl says: “Having come from a large musical Halfbreed family in Alberta, I start workshops talking to participants about how much music has been a life-saver in my own life. These workshops have become a way of sharing this survival tool with the many women, men, and youth I’ve had the honour to work with.” In 2013, Cheryl began exploring how to integrate selected songs into the creation of immersive and participatory new media installations. Her goal is to create work that acts as a portal for gallery goers to have a heightened experience with the songs, thus showcasing the creation process and unique voices of incarcerated individuals.
In 2019, Northern Artistic Director Judy McNaughton had the opportunity to visit the most recent group of participants on their last day of workshops. As Cheryl brought each participant aside to sing her part into the microphone, the others spoke candidly and intimately. Judy notes, “it felt much like any group of women talking about their hopes, fears, and dreams as they finish their studies and anticipate life afterward. This conversation, however, was laced with the intensity of returning home to children and partners upon release, with a fierce desire to make a good life for their families and model the healthy lifestyles they’d practiced inside. The experience reinforced for me how a generative experience can occur in any setting; that a group of people can become a supportive force to change the trajectory of their collective lives and create something inspiring and beautiful to share with the world.”
The opening reception will be held on September 17, 2020, 7:00-9:00pm. COVID-19 gathering restrictions will be adhered to at all times. Come with your “bubble” and enjoy a Drive-In Karaoke event by singing along to featured songs from the exhibition from the comfort of your car. Visitors will be admitted to the gallery one car (or “bubble”) at a time. All visitors are encouraged to wear masks when visiting the gallery.
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The Mann Art is located on Treaty 6 territory, the traditional territory of Cree Peoples and the homeland of the Metis Nation