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Drive-In Reception for "Why the Caged Bird Sings - Immersive Engagements"

This Thursday's reception for artist Cheryl L'Hirondelle's solo exhibition, "Why the Caged Bird Sings - Immersive Engagements," presented by Common Weal Community Arts and curated by Judy McNaughton, is unlike anything you will have ever seen before.

Opening Reception September 17, 2020 at 7:00 pm 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.

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. IPAC - the Indigenous Peoples Artist Collective Uber Girlz group present well-known Saskatoon VJ Carrie Gates, who will be mixing live projections on the E.A. Rawlinson's exterior. All visitors are encouraged to wear masks when visiting the gallery. Visitors who are not comfortable coming into the gallery can enjoy projections on the building’s exterior.

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.”

Please phone, email or message the gallery to RSVP to this event! (306-763-7080 /

*Bring your car, or lawn-chairs and warm clothes as we sit/park socially distanced in the parking lot

*bring your masks if you wish to come into the gallery

*enjoy free drive-in style food (popcorn, pop, snacks

* receive a FREE Virtual Reality cardboard visor (one per car) to experience the VR artwork The Beauty Within (needs cell phone to use visor, or view a projection inside the gallery)

*receive a copy of the printed exhibition brochure

We will hand out song sheets so you can sing along with us to the original songs Cheryl and the workshop participants wrote - a unique way to experience these transformative songs and reflect on the healing creative process.

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