Young artists attack addictions

Tyler Clarke
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Taking on the world of addictions through artistry, Grade 9 students at Carlton Comprehensive High School are helping those recovering from addictions to cope.


“It’s a very innovate project for the Grade 9 kids specifically to get their minds around that,” addictions counsellor John Simpson said on reviewing the pieces of art.

Students painted images and messages on several doors, which will go up on rotation at the Metis Addiction Council of Saskatchewan Inc.’s Prince Albert centre on 19th Street East.

“Our clients were really impressed that kids did these things, and kids came up with the ideas and represented their ideas so strongly -- so profoundly -- they hit right to the core of things,” Simpson said.

“Really, they couldn’t have been any more clear in their message than a professional would have been.”

Visual arts teacher Sarah Krawec said that students were asked to express societal concerns through their artwork, with many of her Grade 9 students selecting addictions.

“The things that they spoke about in their work were very much connected to things that they witnesses or experienced in their personal lives,” Krawec said.

“I’ve had lots of (student) bursts of emotions -- lots of personal stories shared in the class, either in the class or private -- things that hit close to home.”

In a summery student Tucker James wrote for his piece, he noted that his door “was a very important project … because it wasn’t just for a mark, it wasn’t just for fun, it was also to let people know that unfortunate things are happening in our community.”

It’s a very innovate project for the Grade 9 kids specifically to get their minds around that. John Simpson

“Issues like addiction and homelessness aren’t far-away problems -- they’re right here and they are very real.”

Randall Rabbitskin’s joined a group of peers in creating a door with two hands -- “One helping the other into the sunlight and out of the fire,” he explained, adding that the piece’s intent was to let those at the Métis Addiction Council of Saskatchewan centre  “know that people are there for them.”

Sarah Augustine took on depression and Reece Stewart took on poor body image, with her group’s door featuring a Marilyn Monroe quote; “To all the girls that thing you’re fat, because you’re not a size zero, you’re the beautiful one. It’s society who’s ugly.”

Simpson said that he was impressed not only by what the students managed to produce, but that their school allowed them time to consider the important issue of addiction at such an early age -- an issue that he said is far too often swept under the carpet.

“Every family has an alcohol or drug problem in it,” he said. “It might not be directly your family, but your uncle, your brother or your grandpa – it’s a universal problem.”

Organizations: Metis Addiction Council of Saskatchewan, Prince Albert, Métis Addiction Council of Saskatchewan

Geographic location: 19th Street East

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