Words, Movement and Colour: Remembering and Learning Through Narrative and Visual Art

This project had three distinct parts. The first two parts occurred simultaneously while the third part was more about the sharing of experiences with broader audiences within both Canada and internationally. Participants in this project explored various visual art mediums including painting, sculpture, photography and mixed media works (including photo transfer); creative written works including story and poetry; and dance.

Participants in this project were either former political prisoners or had been affected by violence in the Islamic Republic of Iran. All of them had a connection to Iran but had also come to Canada at various times over the past 20 years. They began to create art together as a part of arts-based research done by Bethany Osborne. Although former political prisoners faced language barriers in talking about their experiences within the prison system, the art workshops offered a safe place for them to be able to express themselves.

A number of individual and collective projects were undertaken over a six month period. At the end of the workshops, the participants decided to continue to meet. The art creation had a therapeutic effect on them as well as fulfilling a community building function. They also had many discussions about speaking out against state sponsored violence through art mediums.

There were three initial workshops, exploring writing, theatre and dance.  The project culminated in the Talking Prison performance on June 19th, 2010.