Forest

Community Art Initiative

 The intention behind this project is to encourage relations with grief through art and for grief to be witnessed in community.  By sharing our unique experiences we can normalize being human.  The Grief Well Community Art Initiative demonstrates that grief is different for everyone and every loss.  Through normalizing this and seeing and hearing each other, we realize that we are not alone - grief connects us all.

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Submissions for The Grief Well Community Art Initiative are accepted year round.  You can choose how you want your creation shared - in TGW website art gallery, printed onto cards that will be available for purchase to allow the ripples of witnessing to travel far and wide, or simply witnessing by Tracy and Willow.  By expressing grief and sharing our grief, healing is facilitated through being witnessed. Check out our online gallery below.

 

Cards are available for purchase through The Grief Well website shop and will include a guidance card on how to support the bereaved both emotionally and practically, as well as a postcard for those grieving to share the support that would be most helpful for them.  It's all about communicating to those suffering that they are being seen, heard and held. 

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All proceeds generated through card sales go towards the production of cards, and the support of TGW Village. 10% of sales goes to Support Network for Indigenous Women & Women of Colour (SNIWWOC)

Barbara Kolodie

Artwork Title: Erin, Across the Universe.

Where I Live: Vancouver BC

Relationship with grief:

I did this painting shortly after my brother called to say his daughter had
passed away.  It took but a few minutes for her to reveal herself after I laid down colours on my canvas.

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Karina

Age: 47

Where I Live: Vancouver BC

Relationship with grief:

If we manage to shed the many masks we wear in our lifetime, …we will connect with the infinity, within our hearts. Then we can feel at peace, knowing our departed loved one’s, are  free as well, from the many masks they have had to wear in their lifetime. 
Free to be in their purest truth!

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Ellie Douglass

Art work Title: “Juniper & Evergeen” 16x14 hand-cut collage

Age: 31

Where I Live: Boulder, Colorado

Relationship with grief:

Grief has a life of its own, and it has shown me that my love and tenderness are endless, infinite, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

With the recent fires in Colorado, this piece turned into a kind  of prayer. This piece is about holding—holding death and life, holding fear and hope, holding loss and renewal.

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Tim Roberts

Artwork title: Smoke in the Valley

Age: 43

Where I Live: Calgary, Alberta

Relationship with grief: I know I’m lucky to say I have had fewer brushes with grief than many, perhaps most. I’ve lost my grandparents, an Aunt and Uncle - all lovely people who lived happy, rewarding lives. The biggest impact grief has had on me was after losing a close friend, Stephen. Many great times together, he was a caring and understanding young man who had just come into his own. He was working hard as a Combat Engineer as a member of the Canadian Armed Forces and was head over heels in love with his sweetheart Leah. He will forever remain a young man to me, as sadly he and Leah both passed away in a car accident in Roger’s Pass on their way to spend Christmas with her family. I could go on forever about what a great father he one day may have been, the shock it had on his friends and family, and the laughter that was missing around the campfire.

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Lucilla Fawkes Hargreaves

Artwork title: Embodied Grief Dancer

Age: 15

Where I Live: Steveson, B.C

Relationship to Grief: 

"My relationship with grief is complicated. I have experienced small personal moments of loss and sadness and also big moments of grief, like when my great Nana died. She was very important to me and I felt a strong mixture of anger and sadness when she died. It was hard to grieve with some of my family members who are not comfortable with emotion and so I found art to be a wonderful place for me to express myself. The inspiration for this piece is my mum. I have watched her embark on a new journey with her grief studies and a return to dance, which is a really big step for her as her career in dance ended years ago in a very hard way. Seeing her connect to herself in a meaningful way has been inspiring for me and it's helped me to feel more comfortable talking about my own grief with her. She is very supportive and I feel so happy that she is my mum. When I painted this I was thinking about her path and how she is feeling more of an embodiment, her word, of grief and dance coming together. I wanted to convey the inner and outer worlds of grief and used watercolour paints as a way to illustrate the feelings of grief evaporating off you through movement and connecting you to the air around you. I also decided to add smoke to her hand as a symbol of her beginning to offer service to others and show her holding some of the grief while some was mixing back into the air. This was my Mother's Day present for her and though unconventional she loved it".

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Tanis Laird

Artwork title: Alters Everywhere

Age: 42

Where I Live: Unceded Snuneymuxw Territory/Vancouver Island

Relationship with Grief: What is my connection to grief:

Grief is life.
At some point, for each of us, they go hand in hand.
I feel I have lost too many important folks in my life to list or go into detail about -
but they all live on in my grief.

Mother Nature is my guide with a broken heart.
Taking time to pause at the oceanside.
To comb my hands over the rocks and sticks and shells on the beach-
I find pieces that feel right and place them somewhere special as a message to my broken heart and the ghosts that I grieve.
We commune together through pebble, shell, and bone.
Feather, leaf and wood.
Grief is a place that has no ending.

My task is to make ritual of my grief and place it somewhere to honour.

My task is to integrate my heartbreak and loss into my love and my hope and find regular solace.

My task is to remember and remind others that grief is heavy and hard and not meant to carry alone.

My task is to hold myself and heart & others' with as much softness and gentleness as I can.
Because at some point for all of us, life and grief go hand in hand.

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Jennifer Vespaziani

Artwork title: Sophie's Universe

Where I Live: Nova Scotia, Canada.

Relationship to Grief: Four years ago I crocheted my first mandala blanket, Sophie's Universe (pattern by Dedri). The creative journey led me into a sacred ceremony of conscious crochet. Thousands of crochet stitches in union with meditative breath. Each round infused with loving kindness and patience. My focus was unity in the cosmos, life never ending, and our connection to it all. I picked th colours intuitively, honouring each color's healing power. When Sophie was complete I realized I had created a vibrational healing blanket. One big energetic hug! Sophie's Universe has travelled across Canada, comforting people in hospitals, cancer patients and those grieving lost loved ones.

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Emily Rubin

Artwork title: Love Never Leaves

Age: 45

Where I Live: North Vancouver, BC

Relationship to Grief: I find connecting with nature to be both the best inspiration for my artwork and also the best solace and comfort when needing to lighten the burden of grief. There is not only a mental but a physical falling away of cares when walking through the peaceful forest or sitting and listening to the music of the creek. This is my healing.

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Mallory O'Connor

Artwork title: Swimming into the Sun

Age: 51

Where I Live: Vancouver, BC

Relationship to Grief:
In March 2020, our 15 year old son Clive ended his life by suicide. It was unimaginable. My grief journey has been one that I've tried to understand and learn from, both for myself and my community. I've discovered one way forward in integrating his loss in my life is nurturing a deep connection with water. Whether ocean or lake, I find magic in being surrounded by the beauty and calm the water brings me. This winter, I began doing cold ocean plunges as a way to feel deeply again. Taking the plunge allows me to control the emotion of dread and map it to an outcome I can control. The result is an adrenaline rush that makes me feel alive and connected to nature...and to Clive.

This poem is inspired by a swim I took this summer at Spanish Banks (not cold at all!) during which I felt a deep connection to Clive's energy. The poem came to me as I swam into the setting sun and I wrote it down immediately after getting out of the water.

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Becca Musso (She/Her)

Artwork title: Wading Through Sorrow

Age: 39

Where I Live: Unceded Yaqan Nukiy land known as Creston, B.C.

Relationship to Grief: 

Fresh grief swirls and floats like a fog and yet it's sticky and thick, pulling you down, pulling you under as if you might drown. You are lost in the fog without that missing piece. . One day, eventually, you'll see the treasures you can hold in the void, and you might even reach for them. . Needle felted mystery fibre"

I acknowledge with gratitude and reverence that I live on unceeded Yaqan nu?kiy land in the Ktunaxa Nation Traditional Territory.

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Megan Sheldon

Artwork title: Gifts from the Dark

Age: 40

Where I Live: North Vancouver, B.C.

Relationship to Grief:

Years ago, I attended a full moon gathering with people I'd never met before. We were all given a blank piece of paper and invited to create whatever we felt called to create. It was terrifying! There were so many art supplies in front of me and I felt so overwhelmed — I didn't know where to start or how to begin. The facilitator asked us to close our eyes and imagine telling our younger, grieving selves something we wished we had known when we struggled or went through difficult times. After the guided meditation, I opened my eyes and knew what I wanted to say and what I wanted to create.

I found pieces of paper that represented the different layers of myself over time , and I placed them one on top of the other. I glued them down tight, and when it felt complete I took a small crystal I found in the art supply chaos and covered it with a gossimer sheet. I hid that jewel underneath the intricate, delicate paper knowing that it was hidden in plain sight. The crystal represented my deep knowing, my intuition. I wished I'd always known it was there, so I whispered it to my former, grieving self and told her there are gifts hidden in the darkness, I just needed to trust that they are there, and always will be.

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Linda Shanti McCabe

Artwork title: Grief is a Compost Heap

Age: 49

Where I Live: Upstate New York

Relationship to Grief:

After my dad and husband died, I turned to art for expression, solace, support, and finding meaning...and then turned the paintings I made the first year into a book of affirmations for people traveling with grief. This is one of those paintings/affirmations.

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Lesley Washington

Artwork title: The Sun

Where I Live: Unceded Territory of the Lekwungen and WSANEC Nations.

Relationship to Grief:

I am greiving the loss of my daughter Isabella who died by suicide September 2020. This piece represents the sun and the importance of seeking it's healing light. It reminds me too of the Maori saying "Put your face to the sun and the shadows will fall behind you." Spending time by the ocean helps me feel connected to Bella and the Creator

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L.A . Wheatley

Artwork title: In Betweens

Age: 37

Where I Live: Nelson, BC

Relationship to Grief:
Grief has been a companion and friend of mine throughout most of my life. It has taken on many different shapes and forms and has informed the path I walk and gifts I'm able to offer that have been passed on to me through my ancestors. For me, grief is that in-between place. It is the great alchemy of both life and death.

Inspiration behind your grief Art:
Sound, light, movement, color inspire the pieces being created. Set and setting are the ritual aspects I bring with me into practice.

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Kumi Harwood

Artwork title: Nada Sou Sou (Tears Flowing Down)

Age: 

Where I Live: 

Relationship to Grief:  My husband passed away from glioblastoma in September 2021. Since then, I've been on this journey that never ends - grief...

Singing has always been part of my self-care and helped me enormously with my grief.