The Weeds Grow Over
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
I created this drawing in response to Latifa Pelletier-Ahmed’s talk regarding ecology in public art. I was shocked that temperate grasslands are the most endangered ecosystems on earth with less than 20% left. It made me question my relationship to the land and how much it provides but in return is not treated with the same respect and care. Latifa talked about how these lands take thousands of years to establish.
In response to her talk, I created a drawing of a garden overtaken by weeds. I wanted to show that much like an ecosystem, if we don’t take time to care for a garden it will not last very long and soon become filled with weeds. I was really moved by Latifa’s statement that “gardens allow a place for the slowness that true care requires.”
This drawing is my response to her statement demonstrating that we must appreciate the beauty of the plants and land that surround us and invest in true care and time to preserve our beautiful garden.
About the Artist
Ashley Beerdat is a visual artist and community arts facilitator of Guyanese descent. She graduated in 2019 from Western University, completing a BA in Criminology and Visual Arts and Art History. Beerdat is primarily self-taught and uses oil paint to explore themes of mythology, folklore and storytelling to navigate the world around her. Storytelling is intrinsic to her culture as Guyanese-Canadian. In 2020, she completed an artist residency at Visual Arts Mississauga Riverwood. Her work is held in Mississauga’s permanent corporate art collection and has been featured at PAMA and Artscape. As an arts facilitator, she is passionate about delivering accessible arts programming in the community and has facilitated workshops for SKETCH Working Arts, Making Space, Figment Toronto & EmpowHer. Ashley currently has an Exhibition “Messengers” with North York Arts as part of the Northbound Exhibition program.
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.