“Words to Pictures,” had its start when Toronto artist Heather Graham made a pitch to the Peel Art Gallery Museum and Archives (PAMA) with an idea to generate community involvement and interest in the gallery. What resulted was a collaboration of poetry and interpretive visual artwork conveying the thoughts of today’s youth.

Upon being given the go-ahead, Graham held a workshop with students of Stephen Lewis Secondary School in Mississauga in which they were asked to create poems based on issues of personal importance rooted in their memory or experiences. The resulting 21 poems reflected a variety of topics representative of the challenges they face, their frustrations with society and their attempt to find a place in the world. Racism, gender identity, political injustice, relationships and the pressure to conform are among the many themes represented.

The artists, consisting of both peers from the high school as well as graduating students and graduates of the School of Creative Art and Animation at Seneca College, then provided a visual representation of the poets’ thoughts using various mediums. The artists effectively evoke the many emotions at play – pain, sadness, fear, and hope among them.

The result is an impactful demonstration of the innermost thoughts of the young poets. Visit “Words to Pictures,” on now in the Tunnel Gallery, PAMA, 9 Wellington St. E.,
Brampton until March 18. For information: www.pama.peelregion.ca.

Image: Memories, by Seneca College artist A. Moosvi in collaboration with the poem, Snippets of Life, by S. Khan of Stephen Lewis Secondary School.