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Pacific voices X-Change: an experience of self discovery: what PVX meant to me.

The Pacific Voices X-Change (PVX) Indigenous Youth Artist Residency was held from August 10 to 21,2015, providing ten Indigenous Youth from ages 15-30 the opportunity to grow their creative voice, skills, and art practices in a two-week intensive training day-program. Youth were guided with the knowledge and insight of main mentor Janet Marie Rogers, as well as a diverse lineup of artist mentors and Coast Salish territorial guides. Through the exploration of creative writing, photography, song writing, audio recording, poetry and more, the youth created works that express very diverse insights and perspectives. Youth participants also showcased their works in the Pacific Networking Conference and One Wave Festival.

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During the summer I took part in the Pacific Voices X-Change led by Janet Rogers. It was a fantastic experience.

For me PVX was a logical next step in my practice as an artist. I have always known that I wanted to pursue a creative career path but I never pulled inspiration from my cultural background of being Metis to create art. I just never realized it was a possibility. It took until I was nineteen years old to recognize that my heritage was such an important standpoint to pull creative work from.

There was a period in my life where I was not comfortable speaking about my cultural background, and I had what could be considered a naive idea of how art operates. Once I tapped into my ingrained cultural practices and ways of knowing and understanding as an indigenous person, I was able to explore many more ideas in an artistic way. This is how I operate best.

The PVX experience really nurtured these ideas. Being able to create under the guidance of Janet Marie Rogers someone I consider to be a very influential mentor - as well as being able to bounce ideas off other people from similar mindsets was an amazing opportunity. I felt as though I had the ability to create a piece of work that really spoke to these ideas of cultural exploration and understanding.

The video I created during the program centred on the theme of loss of language, specifically the Cree and Michif language. It was very supportive to be able to work in an environment that understood my concept and to cultivate a conversation that helped me further my art.

PVX was also extremely helpful in discovering different creative outlets such as video, photography, creative writing, and many aspects of sound including music, radio and spoken word. I learned about mediums I might not choose to explore on my own and this was very beneficial to my creative choices both during and after the program. So much was covered and discovered through the PVX program, which makes it difficult to express all that the PVX experience meant to me through writing alone. I would just like to extend my gratitude to everyone involved for the opportunity to be creative with wonderful people in an inspiring environment.

Audie Murray is a 22-year-old Metis woman originally from Regina Saskatchewan, living since 2014 on Coast Salish territories of the Songhees Nation. She is pursuing a Visual Arts degree at Camosun College which includes printmaking, media arts and art installation. Currently, Audie is sharing studio space at the Ministry of Casual Living Artist Run Centre. She excelled during her involvement with the IYAP group (Indigenous Youth Art Program) through Open Space Gallery where she contributed to a Chatham Island video project in partnership with Songhees Nation.
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Author:Murray, Audie
Publication:Tok Blong Pasifik
Date:Dec 22, 2015
Words:581
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