A Break from the Smoke: T-Shirt Decorating!
Students and staff associated with the Health Arts Research Centre (HARC) joined with the First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) to offer a fun and family friendly creative outlet to evacuees staying in Prince George. All were invited to attend the Saturday session and given the supplies and space to create their own unique t-shirt, and the results were truly inspiring!
Participants chose from a variety of fabric markers and fabric paint to create their individualized designs, many beginning with pre-made stencils and letters, while others painted scenes and words freehand. Many people of all ages came and went (and often came back again!) throughout the event, with an estimated 25 to 30 people participating, but one table of kids and adults came at 10:30 am and stayed until the close of the event at 2:30 pm! It was an active space with colourful plates of paints strewn about, sounds of a blowdryer helping the paint to dry, and pizza being shared by another engaged supporter!
While attendees all chose to represent themselves and what was on their minds differently, many said similar comments, including how great it was to have something enjoyable to do and “get our minds off of everything” while away from home and experiencing feelings of uncertainty and anxiety. Often participants created artwork that represented themselves, their families and their communities, while another overarching theme was to represent or “document” the fires and concern for all affected in their communities, including the natural environment, the wildlife living there, and significant traditional spaces. While in the midst of representing this, however, many stories of protection, re-growth and strength were also shared.