The University of Winnipeg



Indigenous STEAM Camp harmonizes art and science

Kids making art at Gallery 1C03.

Children learn print-making techniques at The University of Winnipeg’s Gallery 1C03, which is partnering this summer with the Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre’s Indigenous STEAM Camp, as well as Let’s Talk Science and the Community School Investigators program.

Art and science mirror each other in that they both rely on observation and synthesis. When they partner together, society is enriched in unexpected and exciting ways.

Gallery 1C03 is offering this partnership of art and science with Wii Chiiwaakanak Learning Centre’s STEAM Camp, as well as Let’s Talk Science and the Community School Investigators program, until Friday, August 4.

STEAM Camp students, who range from Grades 1-6, learn Indigenous culturally-based activities, science experiments, engineering activities, coding, and 3D art.

It is important for me to be a leader and role model in the arts for Indigenous youth as they are our future.

Kasey Pashe

This year, the art is Gallery 1C03’s current exhibition, entitled Within and Beyond Tradition: Works by East Asian Artists in The University of Winnipeg Collection. The students learn aspects of Chinese and Japanese culture through the artworks on display.

These young minds experience art that ranges from drawings and prints to ceramics and, especially, embroideries and paintings in silk, a longstanding creative medium.

During every visit, the Gallery’s curatorial intern, Kasey Pashe, explains how silkworms are used to make the silk. Pashe also teaches students about the meaning behind many of the images included in the art, such as scholar’s rocks, peonies, chrysanthemums, plum blossoms, and dragons.

Coming from a family of educators, Pashe enjoys this opportunity to teach inner-city and Indigenous youth about the arts.

“It is important for me to be a leader and role model in the arts for Indigenous youth, as they are our future,” Pashe said. “I want to encourage and support those youth who dream of becoming artists. Hosting these workshops is inspiring. It brings me joy to see what these kids can achieve.”

After the exhibit tour, students are given the opportunity to express themselves by creating their own art. Pashe leads them through the multi-step process of drawing their image on paper, transferring it to a printing plate, inking the plate, and then transferring that image to a final piece of paper.

The kids are excited to see the final results. They complete their works by signing them with a red pencil in a box to mimic the ‘print chop’ style traditionally used by Chinese artists.

Pashe majors in art history and minors in Asian Studies at the University of Manitoba. A member of Opaskwayak First Nation, Pashe is of Dakota and Cree heritage.

Jennifer Gibson, Director/Curator of Gallery 1C03, notes it’s important for the kids attending, many of whom are Indigenous themselves, to have an Indigenous teacher as a role model for this program.

“It shows them that they, too, can succeed in a career in the arts if they pursue university studies,” Gibson said.

Pashe’s internship is funded, in part, by the federal government’s Young Canada Works in Heritage Organizations, an employment program for students.

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