Special Showcase: Hong Fook Mental Health Association's Youth and Family Services Discovery College
I recently had the privilege of teaching art history, poetry, and expressive writing to young people in a course with Hong Fook Mental Health Association in Toronto. We explored visual art on a variety of themes such as artists with mental health challenges, hope and resilience, and personal and cultural identity. I have been so inspired by the unique, thoughtful insights on art and the expressive poetry of these wonderful people. These are works by participants who were willing to share their poetry publicly. Thank you so much, Winsome, Caroline, and Janet!
The Writing for Self-Expression workshop was one of our first courses co-produced with young adults in Hong Fook’s Youth and Family Services Discovery College program. Courses and workshops in the Discovery College focus on offering youth opportunities to discover their strengths, talents, and skills to help connect them with their community and shape their sense of identity.
This was a wonderful and unique experience from design to delivery. Youth were involved in coproducing the course with Lorette and our community partner, the Collaborative Learning Center at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. In a two hour session, youth shared their opinions and ideas on what would make this workshop a great experience for participants. From those conversations Lorette selected art and artists that reflected the specific themes youth had wanted to explore, including the themes of mental health, hope, personal transformation, relationships, and identity: gender, cultural, and social.
As well, thanks to the generosity and our partnership with the Art Gallery of Ontario, students also had a chance to visit the Art Gallery of Ontario and offer recommendations to Lorette on art that they wanted to talk or learn about. This was truly an immersive experience.
There is a lot that I can say about the value of a workshop like this and the impact that it has on youth. One of the highlights that we saw was how the workshop offered students a platform to reflect on their own experiences and each of the themes. It invited them to explore the topics in greater depth through art and conversations. We have run a similar workshop with Lorette in the past and are always inspired by the way youth are able and willing to engage in meaningful, rich, and honest conversations around art, life, and writing.
The result of this process is the celebration of all the beautiful pieces that you see in this showcase. Thank you to all of the youth, Lorette, and everyone involved in making this a memorable workshop. Congratulations to all of our students and writers!
Moshe Sakal, Peer Coach
Winsome Adelia Tse
You can remember it like last week:
a few steps from the table / the high echo of porcelain clinking,
muted conversation; but warm, and jovial,
No one is looking as you exit, stage left.
a path illuminates ahead… is it dark? / no, you feel the sun, still.
the forest shies away, retreats from you: as if your presence chases it.
each step on the stones, one follows another
You bring something with you on each measured motion,
though you’ve already brought it before / whether you know it or not.
And suddenly, It is somewhere else.
And so are you.
A few steps from the table / onward to Tomorrow.
No one is watching… before you know it,
You’re there, like me.
In a place full of choices that feels endless and stretches outward in all directions,
All that I can see seems full of fears.
Sometimes they push me stronger that way - or this,
And then there are times when I am pulled, drawn in, enticed.
For the times I am moved to go,
To the way of the things that scare me.
Sometimes the pursuit of the only things I am sure of: the fears.
When I reach out to wrap my fingers and cup it in my hands,
I open my palms and see me reflected back.
I am gathering pieces of myself, all along.
These fears are things I know well enough to transform into shadows.
I am collecting the pieces to reveal myself as I was, as I am, and as I could be.
Inspired by Ideograph, by Bernice “Bingo” Bing (USA) contemporary. Click here to view.
Thought Abstraction (a “Korean sijo”)
The residue of language; these swirling lines take new form.
My mind full but now quiet, silent hums all spilt upon the page.
Transference of the day’s spirits; Understanding has come to pass.
One Self (a “Korean sijo”)
In the mirror: Radiant delight. It beams forth in earnest.
From shadows beneath, vigilant inner child repeats numb words.
What peace might be built in Balance; two sides reconciled at last.
This piece was inspired by The Academy, by Kent Monkman (Canada) 2008. Click here to view.
Flux (a “Japanese haibun”)
Time lapses like my memory. The drip of melting ice is heard as sprouts shoot forth
and push past a new layer of new earth. The world is cyclical.
Nature shivers as it changes, no two seasons the same.
I feel that movement echoed through me.
The soft and wavering quality of wet grass or powdered snow. The warmth of the sun
shines around the slow spin of the earth. The crisp of dry leaves or bursting fruit.
In my mind, all of nature coalesces.
It moves through and changes.
It is the eternal shift, yet each moment is purely singular. Never the same again.
shifting like seasons
mostly none but within her
Winsome Adelia Tse
Winsome Adelia Tse is an artist, illustrator, and creative from Greater Toronto, Canada. They work in a variety of media on themes of introspection, beauty, and the monumental within the mundane. Regardless of final product, their process is one of deep care and is as much intellectualized, as it is visualized. They see each creation as its own contained story, worth telling no matter grand or fleeting. A selection of their visual works is on their artist portfolio, www.winsomeadeliatse.com.
The Ekphrastic Review
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