Edmonton students’ views on symbols of #IdleNoMore, Occupy expressed in artwork

by Stephen Petrina on April 28, 2013

Heather McIntyre, Metro Edmonton, April 18, 2013 — The use of symbols in relation to movements, such as Idle No More and Occupy, have become pieces to admire at the Art Gallery of Alberta. The AGA Ledcor Theatre Foyer currently holds art from students in the Modern Languages and Cultural Studies department at the University of Alberta.

The students’ assignment initially was to focus on Occupy – hence the exhibit being called Occupy The Gallery! – but as the Idle No More movement grew, many students turned to it, including Erin Hunt and Mohamad Mahfouz.

“It’s just taking a movement and what we were learning as symbolism and symbolic interaction, and looking in our own community and engaging with things that were happening in our own community,” said Hunt. Hunt’s piece is four photographs of nature within a sanded wood frame.

“The part of the Idle No More movement that I identified with the most was environmental protection,” said Hunt. “I’m giving people the opportunity to identify with nature through the pieces I chose through the photographs I took, and to almost challenge them to take on the same kind of declaration that I did.”

Mahfouz focused on land, but chose to do so through a video, which consists of a woman wandering through the woods, “appreciating it while also lost.”

“Then a feather magically falls from the sky and she picks it up… and then eventually she finds her way, and reaches the downtown view and holds the feather up saying ‘This is where I belong,’” he said. “Then the feather lands on the ground firmly, to symbolize roots.”

The exhibit opened earlier this month, and will remain at the gallery until April 28.

Read More: Metro Edmonton