Student brilliance: Three paintings

Hannah Smit, a student in Nael Bhanji's gender studies class at Trent, has created these three beautiful pieces of art around various activisms. Read move about each piece below, and check out the Student Brilliance corner for more student creativity.

Painting One

This painting represents the transnational climate work, particularly the climate strike which occurred globally. The large figures represent some of the more prominent individuals who have been leaders in the climate change movement. On the left is Autumn Peltier, the middle is Greta Thunberg and, on the right, is Leah Namugerwa. While their work is equally important and exceptional, I placed Greta in the middle because of her iconic sign and because of her visibility within the climate change movement. I included other activists because the work Greta is doing is not unique. Rather, youth activists across the world have been doing environmental activism equally as important to Greta’s famed work.

Painting Two

This painting represents the activism which occurred this year for solidarity with Wet’suwet’en. This image features members of the Wet’suwet’en community who are fighting for their land, but also includes both Indigenous and non-Indigenous activism taking place across Canada. This includes a representation of the solidarity student walk-out at Trent University, as well as the railway blockades held on Tyendinaga Mohawk territory. I felt it is important to show how different communities across Canada have come together to show their solidarity and support for change.

Painting Three

This painting is a representation of the ways communities are connecting during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Through this painting, I represented two initiatives: The ‘Hearts in the Window’ initiative which is occurring across Canada on Facebook. Canadians are sharing locations of hearts placed in windows to show connection, love, and to spread joy. This Facebook group has become a place for people to connect while self-isolating. The second project I highlighted was one that my family has been a part of. In our area, healthcare officials have reached out to local quilters to create gowns for our local hospital. Members of the community are washing bed sheets they no longer need and dropping them off at designated houses where volunteers can pick them up on the porches. If sheets cannot be dropped off at the houses, a local mailwoman has asked that sheets are put in the mailboxes along the road with the flag up. This way she will be able to pick up and deliver the sheets to the quilters. Some people sew the gowns while others cut out patterns from the sheets. In a little over a week, over one hundred gowns were made and for now, reaching the quota. It has been amazing to see our community come together for this project and has created perhaps lasting connections.

Co-creating  during COVID
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Aging Activisms is a program of activist research, academic mentorship, and intergenerational community-building led by
Dr. May Chazan, Canada Research Chair (CRC) in Gender and Feminist Studies at Trent University.

Thanks to Ben Hodson for our graphic. The photos on our site have been taken by members of the Aging Activisms research team and our participants and collaborators. Web design by Eugenia Ochoa and Melissa Baldwin.