Images can help to illustrate powerful concepts. The creative process of drawing or painting allows time and space for reflection. We can sit with an idea or a feeling and explore it further with shapes, movement and metaphors. When our global movement of overcoming isolation and deepening social connectedness was launched in October of 2014, we wanted to be sure that the voices of youth were included in the conversation.
The Samuel Family Foundation together with TakingITGlobal, invited youth from around the world to participate in a Global Gallery contest where they submitted artwork on the theme “Moments of Inclusion” and a group of participants were invited to join a Panel in Toronto.
The evening began with a gallery walk showcasing over 40 submissions on display. Young artists stood proudly by their work and answered questions from curious guests. It was an experience that offered a glimpse of hope and inspiration for all those involved.
Following the gallery walk, a panel session was opened by Samuel Family Foundation President Kim Samuel and moderated by TakingITGlobal Executive Director Jennifer Corriero. Toronto District School Board grade 5 student named Zhara who shared a drawing, which she named “Tree of Love”. In her presentation of the piece she described the meaning of the tree and explained that “the leaves are the people and the branch is our society. It shows that we are all different yet all of us are connected in some way”. She goes on to say that “even when the leaves fall onto the ground, the picture shows that they can still be together there”.
With more than seven billion people in the world it is impossible not to resonate with this idea. The idea that regardless of culture, background, or language we are all connected in some way. There is something very inspiring about envisioning our entire web of connection through this one tree.
The question that we are trying to answer now is how we ensure that if these leaves do fall, they do not blow away in the wind. That they still feel a connection to the tree that bore them.