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What does water mean to youth? A new art show in Port Moody takes a look

A national youth storytelling project that describes our connection with water is now on show in Port Moody.
BangiiOzhaawashkoZaangweweMagooday3_96dpi copy
An image and text from “Bangii Ozhaawashko Zaangwewe-Magooday, The Little Blue Jingle Dress,” written by Annika Finlayson with artwork by Jay Havens.

A national youth storytelling project that describes our connection with water is now on show in Port Moody.

The inaugural Young Water Speaks was an initiative launched last year by the Canadian non-profit group Waterlution that saw more than 2,500 students take part in storytelling workshops with a diverse set of leaders.

Their stories — told through words, videos and song — were entered into a contest of which 10 were picked to be part of the travelling display this year.

Port Moody is the seventh stop on its nine-date tour; it will head to Whitehorse next before concluding in Hamilton.

Speaking from Oakville, Ont., where the organization is based, artistic director Christopher McLeod told the Tri-City News the 10 winning entries, as well as the artwork, are having an impact on audiences from coast to coast.

In fact, he said, the pieces are sparking dialogue for viewers who may not have realized how dependent we are on water.

“It’s having a lasting impression on people to feel more connected to our water bodies and watersheds,” McLeod said. “We want to build on the idea that we’re all in a constant relationship with our water. It’s not a resource. When we think about it — and from an Indigenous side — water is life. It gives us life every day.”

By offering narratives through textiles, the art installation gives a deeper understanding of the youth’s point of view, too, often through a different cultural or historical lens, he said.

Young Water Speaks is being exhibited until Oct. 28 in PoMoArts (2425 St. Johns St.).

On Thursday, Oct. 7, a Waterlution youth ambassador will talk about the exhibit, in an online presentation via Facebook LIVE.

The event starts at 7:15 p.m.

For more information, you're encouraged to visit PoMoArts' website.

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