No Justice

CreateSpace Public Art Forum 2022

An artistic response to the 2022 CreateSpace Public Art Forum, a national forum virtually convening participants who identify as Black, Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Métis), racialized, rural and/or youth with disabilities and between the ages of 18-25. Participants were presented with online talks themed around public art practices, studio tours by artist facilitators, a Keynote Event by artist Lori Blondeau, and opportunities to engage with fellow peers to inspire their final creations.

Project at a Glance

Location: Montreal, QC

Artist: Diego Valera

Year: 2022

Program: Artist Capacity Building

45

CreateSpace participants

10

artist facilitators

1

keynote speaker

Artist Statement

Medium: pastel on paper 14×17 inches

This piece portrays two victims of systemic racism, Joyce Echaquan and Fredy Vilannueva. It is an important reminder of countless lives lost to the status quo keeping racial differences alive and promoting unjust treatment towards racialized minorities. Wanting to make it more personal, I added detail from my own culture, the cempasuchil flower. In Mexican folklore, this flower represents the spiritual connection with the deceased and decorates the “ofrendas” or offerings during “Dia de los muertos” as a sign of respect and remembrance of a deceased person’s life. The addition emphasizes the importance of remembering the past and acknowledging the fight still left to break free from oppression and injustice. It perfectly fits with the orange colour symbol, often representing Indigenous people’s protests and suffering in Canada, most notably it is a colour representing the acknowledgement committed towards Indigenous children in assimilation school. To me, it is a way of acknowledging how First Nations’ need reparation and how as a racialized artist, I want to fight alongside other marginalized people for a better future.

About the Artist

Diego Valera

Diego Valera

As a first-generation immigrant, I now have the privilege of studying visual arts at university level. My main focus driving my artistic practice is cultural decolonization. Teaching people about my culture while learning about it more myself. Creating my own style, going beyond tradition and status quo to make my cultural expression unique. I believe culture and art is a powerful tool in taking a stand against oppression and social injustice. Whether in an academic context, understanding other cultures leads to understanding different needs. Or as a form of direct activism, such as how graffiti takes over cities and helps marginalized voices be heard in a way to go around the approval of the still segregationist conventional art institutions.

@sunflowercoatl

CreateSpace Public Art Forum

STEPS Public Art believes public art has the ability to challenge the systemic inequities that exist in public space. In support of this important work, we facilitate artist capacity building programs that foster inclusive public art practices, build the capacity of underrepresented artists, and demonstrate how public art can help reimagine equitably designed cities.

CreateSpace Public Art Forum is a digital forum that virtually convenes participants who identify as Black, Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Métis), racialized, rural and/or youth with disabilities and between the ages of 18-25. This forum fosters connections, builds understanding across geographies and cultures, as well as provide emerging equity-seeking artists with the skills, relationships and support needed to develop public art practices. Visit the online gallery to view all artistic responses by the 2022 forum participants.

CreateSpace Public Art Forum is supported by Canadian Heritage, Canada Council for the Arts and CIBC.

Logo banner with Government of Canada, Canada Council for the Arts and CIBC logos

Ready to get your project started with STEPS?

Share This