In my artwork and on my blog, well, with my life in general, I'm aiming to provide people with tools and experiences to improve their mental health. It's something that I'm passionate about, so at Easter it seems right to talk about the best resource I feel like I have for my own mental health.Read More
Yesterday we spent a wonderful day at a ski hill about 1 hr. 40min. from where we live. It was so great to get out of town. I set aside my fears of spending a day feeling trapped in an unfamiliar place, with kids that are too young to ski just going stir crazy, and away we went! We brought our 13 year old neighbour, Haley, along too, so she could ski and to have an extra set of hands if we needed them. The drive was so nice. The roads were clear, Lily slept the whole way, and the kids were their usual happy selves. (Why do I worry) When we arrived the hardest part was waiting for Danny and Haley to get their rentals sorted out, before the kids' activity things were brought in. We did it though, and got the four of them dressed and out the door. I stood inside holding Lily, smiling at our tiny people on teeny tiny skis, when I noticed Haley hadn't correctly done up up her ski boots, struggling to put on her skis. She and Danny didn't see this, so I managed to go help Haley with her ski boots by passing Lily to a lady nearby who held her for a few minutes. Once we all calmed down, (Lily surprised me, by crying while I was outside), Lily slept in my arms for a long time, and everyone had a good time on the bunny hill.
Danny helped teach everyone, and when the bunny hill closed Willem hung out inside with Lily and I. I stayed put with Lily, and Willem ran all around, so happy to be able to move his little feet freely, unencumbered by those boots and skis, and yet so proud to have been a big boy skiing.
He asked everyone, "What are you doing?", he made friends, he convinced some very nice people to ask me if they could give him a cookie, and ended up getting a tour of the kitchen after it closed, by one of the staff. It was so nice to have time cuddling Lily and watching Willem engage with so many people. When Haley had enough time on the ski hill she came in, and I did a couple runs by myself. The hill had a great program where parents can share a pass, and I had my old ski equipment from when I lived in Banff, before we were married, so I was able to ski a little bit and still have it be worth it.
Danny said Astra went down the green run and was fine. She wanted me to go with her, which freaked me out. Even if she could do it, how could I bare to watch my little 5 year old? Skiing is a dangerous activity and that hill was STEEP! And ICY! I went along with it though, and Danny advised me to stay back from her so she wouldn't worry about me skiing into her. On the chair lift, I held my hand over her lap. (Eeeep!) She made sure I knew how to point my skis up when it was time to get off, and she showed me her special one-pole technique for moving across flat ground. As we went down, I kept my distance as she skied and fell, about 6 times. Each time I watched her get back up and keep going, like it was so big deal. What a brave girl! I'm so glad that she got the chance to manage risk, to overcome fear, and to prove to herself what she could accomplish! There are so many studies out about how we are keeping our kids too safe, and they're not learning to manage fear, to take risks, and to feel brave. Anxiety orders are on the rise, and I have to remind myself to protect my kids mentally, not just physically.
When we met Danny and Willem at the bottom, Astra proudly told Danny how well she'd done . We found Willem back on his skis, practicing with Danny on the flat ground. Haley was holding a happy, well-rested baby inside, and she'd been fine while I was gone. We packed up, and left, totally happy with our day.
Astra tried to get some pictures of deer we passed beside the road, but missed. One of them had looked VERY relaxed, laying beside the road, so we decided as parents, not to get closer for a picture and just let it be.
The kids fell asleep in the car and we talked over the day. When I told Danny how impressed with Astra's skiing I was, he told me that she HAD gotten scared, and he encouraged her to do it. She'd cried when she fell down, but he got her to pick herself back up. Wow. How interesting to have one parent go through all that with her, and when the other one came later, she was able to just show of her success, like a fresh start.
Lily was quiet the whole way back, and got a diaper change and necessary outfit change in the car, (There was no bathroom) when we stopped for some fries at a cute drive in. We just made it work! Such a great day! I'm so glad that I said yes to adventure, to a day with many unknowns and made great memories with my family!
Some tips for the times you find yourself wondering, "Where do I start?"...Read More
This year I had the delight of meeting Syrian curator Abir Boukari at my studio, thanks to MAWA. She later invited me to exhibit in Övergångar / Transitions in Sweden, where she is currently living, and in September I shipped over a dozen tiny paintings in a cigar box. Here is a little about the show, along with images of the works:
1 Oct. 16 – 31 Jan. 17
The exhibition Övergångar / Transitions brings elements from the Art Festival & Flea Market, that took place in the neighbourhood of Fittja on the 17th September, to Botkyrka konsthall in Tumba. It explores the many facets of place, lost and recycled memories, as well as the new untold stories.
“Doses of Empathy” 14 hand painted tins
In her work, Shelley is interested in caring and nurturing for others. The tiny hand painted landscapes that fit into a pocket, become portals to other parts of the world. They are created as “medicinal” paintings offering relief in times of deep distress. Over the years, the artist has given them away to people who need them, as a pharmacist fills a prescription.
The New Biennial for Art & Architecture in Botkyrka is an event that is inviting the community to explore the public space through new forms of art. It is a lo-fi and process based format focusing on the intersection between contemporary art, community engagement and architecture en route to the new arts institution in Fittja.
The first edition of the New Biennial opened in September 2014 when Botkyrka konsthall inaugurated the Fittja kitchen, the first addition to the new arts institution. The Fittja kitchen + FörOrten are two reworked shipping containers from South Africa, that have become an experimental platform for community driven art in the public space. The New Biennial had a prelaunch at the 14th International Architecture Biennale in Venice where Botkyrka konsthall / Residence Botkyrka presented the Fittja Pavilion in the gardens of Serra dei Giardini. The exhibition researched how a new arts institution could grow out of the specific qualities of Fittja and northern Botkyrka.*
Anneli Bäckman, curator, Botkyrka konsthall
Abir Boukhari, curator, AllArtNow
Miriam Andersson Blecher, director, Botkyrka konsthall
Abir Boukhari (Syria) is invited co-curator for the New Biennial’s Art Festival & Flea Market as well as an upcoming exhibition in Botkyrka konsthall’s current location in Tumba. Abir has been resident curator in Residence Botkyrka during the spring and summer of 2016. She is the co-founder of AllArtNow, a contemporary art centre located in Damascus until 2012 when the war closed it down. It now functions as a nomadic space throughout the world.