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En'owkin Breastfeeding Art Expo

​​Oct 18, 2018

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The Breastfeeding Art Expo is an Interior BC project that was led by Interior Health and KCR-Community Resources and was supported by six funders including the First Nations Health Authority. This large Expo of 150 art pieces travelled from June 2017-June 2018 to Kelowna, Vernon, Penticton Indian Band En'owkin Cultural Centre, Trail, Williams Lake and Kamloops. The Expo included community art, independent art and a series of 21 videos. Art is recognized as an important tool for Indigenous people for health and healing, and the Breastfeeding Art Expo has a proud and important Indigenous component. There were 12 Indigenous organizations that partnered with the community projects, and 6 community projects that were Indigenous-based or included a strong Indigenous component. As well three of the independent artists were First Nation women. If you didn't get a chance to see this amazing Expo you can go on a virtual tour here. 

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The community project that was funded by FNHA was Traditional Spirit by well-known Secwepemc artist and curator Tania Willard, see video. You can also view the​ pictures of the various city Expo tours on the Facebook page.​

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En'owkin Expo at Penticton Indian Band

Thank you to Co-curator Tracey Kim Bonneau from En'owkin and other En'owkin staff who collaborated to bring the Expo to En'owkin. Recently the online journal of the Canadian Association for Food Studies featured an article about the En'owkin Breastfeeding Art Expo in a special issue on Indigenous food. (Hint: Scroll to the bottom of the link to see the journal article, and to print, download it first). They also featured one of the Expo's Indigenous art pieces on the front cover! This whole journal issue is worth a look as there are many great articles on Indigenous food including several submitted by BC Authors. The Breastfeeding Art Expo article was written by Karen Graham, Expo Curator and Coordinator, Rhonda Camille of Adams Lake Indian Band and Tracey Kim Bonneau from the En'owkin Centre. The article highlights art by Indigenous artists that was featured at the En'owkin Expo as well as discusses the project's goals.

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Here are a few quotes from what people said who attended the En'owkin show:

"It takes a community to support breastfeeding. Thank you."

"Thank you for honoring breastfeeding. It's an amazing gallery full of love."

 "What a wonderful and all-encompassing display. I was brought to tears when reading Down by the Lake."

"This was so beautiful. So inspiring to see all the pieces and hear the stories!"

"Very important exhibition that shows why breastfeeding is vital for our children's 'foundation' and also how Art can be used to support important matters."

For more information, please go to the​ website www.breastfeedin​gartexpo.ca

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