Artist Janna Brown has drawn from a particularly trying time in her life for inspiration for her latest project as the newly named 2013/14 Sharon Wolf Artist-In-Residence at Tangled Art + Disability.
The program invites a “disability-identified” artist to pursue a project that furthers her own artistic career while influencing the wider community of artists who are living with disabilities.
“It’s a big honour having been chosen out of a pool of really fantastic artists who have lots to share,” the Lansdowne Avenue and Bloor Street West-area resident told The Villager. “It’s an honour to be a part of that community.”
Brown’s proposed project is a multi-media art installation that combines photography, video, poetry and original artwork. Entitled ‘Still Echoes Resound,’ the project is comprised of a series of six digital short stories that use a collection of Brown’s poetry, narrated by her.
“The work stems from an unhinging in my own life, a sexual trauma and family loss – consequences of what would be considered mental health issues,” Brown revealed. “I wanted to create art to gather input, to open up dialogue with others who have experienced a similar trauma. I used my lived experience as a vantage point. I hope it can connect to others.”
Brown, a New Brunswick native who moved to Toronto seven years ago to pursue a Master of Arts in Critical Disability Studies at York University, has studied sculpture and installation at the Ontario College of Art and Design.
“My art practice had gone to the back burner,” Brown said. “After I finished my research, I decided to study visual arts again. I wanted to work with kids through therapeutic art-making.”
Brown has worked with children and youth with developmental disabilities facilitating groups for children that focus on collaborative art-making.
In its second year, the residency program provides professional artists from the disability community the chance to devote themselves entirely to a specific program of work. Brown received a $5,000 stipend and access to studio space in the 401 Richmond building.
“It’s very exciting for me,” Brown confessed.
For more than a decade, Tangled Art + Disability (formerly known as the Abilities Arts Festival) has developed, promoted, and presented work by artists with disabilities, first through its annual festivals and more recently through its professional development workshops and special events.
The Sharon Wolfe Artist in Residency was made possible through the Canada Council for the Arts’ Capacity Building Grant.
For further details, visit enwonderarts.com