THUNDER BAY – A group of students from two Northern Ontario First Nations unveiled a special photo exhibit at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery. Over twenty students from the Migizi Wazisin Elementary School in Long Lake #58 First Nation and the Niimiki Migizi Secondary School in Ginoogaming First Nation, gathered at the gallery to showcase pictures that they have been collecting over the last three months.
Students have been participating in the See Us, Hear Us Photovoice Project, a unique initiative that was launched this past February. The project provided each student with access to their own camera, having them capture and collect pictures throughout their community. Project Coordinator Celeste Pedri said, “The work that has been done by these students is simply amazing. It really gave them a voice to share their community’s strengths, resources, problems, and potentials through the images. The photos shed a light on certain aspects that are often not even recognized; this is not only a learning experience for the students but for everyone who will look at these photographs.”
Over the last 16 weeks every Thursday students from the two schools worked through the project curriculum, learning about topics related to photography (camera techniques, ethics and safety, editing), writing stories about their images, and media and event planning. Teacher Tracey Boisineau stated, “This was a very unique and rewarding experience for the students. It was an outlet for them to really express what is on their minds while encouraging a sense of community pride. Amazing things can happen when you provide students with a camera and a voice.”
The exhibit features 51 images in total that depict healthy and unhealthy images from a youth’s perspective. A special gala event will be held at the Thunder Bay Art Gallery on June 3rd, to officially launch the See Us, Hear Us Photovoice Project Exhibit from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.
The exhibit will be open to the public throughout the month of June.