Me, you & Us a community art project that started in 2009 by community artist Suellen Evoy-Oozeer. In 2017, Suellen gained an eager assistant Susan Bressette. Me, You & Us grew to include support from the Elder’s Lodge at Kettle & Stony Point, support of Ausable Optimist of Port Franks, Ontario Art Council and Creative County of Lambton Shores. Local people stated, “ We were looking for something to help with healing but didn’t know what to do”.
Me, You & Us uses the healing power of art: individually; creating community, building trust in others, a willingness to be vulnerable, opening hearts, building connections, understanding through creative expression, and an opportunity to celebrate our shared humanity and shared spiritual journey.
Me, You & Us has been successful cultivating trust and friendship between First Nation People and outside community members. The last two years of the project included a three- day art workshop that brought people together who had little opportunity to get to know each other, by any other means.
After the workshop some people wanted to be part of the second component of Me, You & Us. Suellen offered to paint their spirit portrait. People in a personal interview with Susan and Suellen where asked to describe their spirit in an in-depth interview process. Also Susan took photos of them in their favourite outdoor location. The portrait part of Me, You & Us resulted in 27 spirit portraits to visually depict and celebrate the new friendships created. The travelling art exhibit of Me,you &Us is the portraits created.The last portrait was of the Chief of Kettle & Stony Point -Chief Jason Henry.
Me, You and Us works to create shared positive experiences, and share our spirit using art. This hopes to transform some of the negative energy in a small community that has suffered under residual feelings from colonization and isolation of separated communities. Me, You & Us is a small pebble in a large pond of injustice and separation to bring communities together.
Me, You & Us has been directed and facilitated by Elder’s and seniors who are extending an olive branch building friendships. One of the thoughts that propelled the project was “someone has to cross the divide”. The project is hoping to help create a better future in our community, and this country for all our grandchildren and our Mother Earth.