By Bobinec, Greg on December 10, 2019.
The winners of the second annual #YQL Expressions of Reconciliation Art & Media Contest were announced Monday morning, where participants shared their concepts and collected their winnings.
The art and media contest is co-organized by United Way, the Reconciliation Lethbridge Advisory Council and the Lethbridge Indigenous Sharing Network. Up until the start of November, judges gathered submissions from the community and selected the four winners. The first-place prize went to Melvina Brave Rock, for her piece, “In Transition.”
“I feel very honoured and surprised that my piece was chosen,” says Brave Rock. “This is the first time in my life that I have ever entered an art show or a competition. I have done this all of my life ever since I got out of residential school. When I had gotten my roots back, I learned that I was an artist, so I did a lot of artwork.”
This year’s theme was surrounding Indigenous language, where submissions could be made of paintings, writing, songs, sculptures, and other forms of art. Brave Rock pulled from her experience of years detained in residential schools and being pulled away from her culture to develop her sculpture.
“Why I named my piece ‘In Transition’ is because I am still in transition myself. I have spent many years with prejudice and it has taken education and love for me to overcome racism. I love all people now, but I don’t know about religion, it is totally out of my realm now and it will always be,” says Brave Rock. “Now my culture is intact again, my language is back, my name, my traditions. I am now an educational correspondent on my reserve, I work as a resource person in all of the schools, I work with the women in Harbour House with their children.”
The recognition for her art brought Brave Rock to tears as art has been a crutch for recovery and healing from what she experienced through reconciliation.
“As a freelance artist, I have never had any training outside of my house. I believe that my artwork has allowed me to express my feelings about reconciliation, it has allowed me to show how I felt about this reconciliation and the healing,” she says.
Other winners included the People’s Choice award to Donovan, Tyson and RT for their song “At Ease,” where they also took home third place overall.
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