Veronica Mockler

Online Art Gatherings

Art Gatherings with a group of women in collaboration with a migrant rights organization.

I began a series of online gatherings with women who are part of Action Réfugiés Montréal's twinning program, in which a newly arrived woman seeking asylum in Canada (Montreal) is paired with a woman who has lived in Montreal for some years. In this work, I am interested in what it means to gather (online) for the sake of art; of art-making. I am attentive to my role as a 'facilitator' and look at how this responsability can be understood as an art practice in and of itself, as a collaborative performance, as an enactment of social engagement and collective support.

I want to thank Action Réfugiés Montréal for the invitation as well as Rajni Shah whose attentive and powerful ideas are with me, right now, all along.

Isolation during the pandemic takes on a whole other dimension if you've just managed to reach refuge in a new country. How can one start to establish 'some sort' of secure set-up for themselves and their family, while usual resources and support systems are shut down? Moreover, some individuals who sought asylum remain to this day (May 2020) detained by the Canadian Government in Laval. Action Réfugiés Montréal have pivoted in order to be able to continue their work and provide daily support to people in detention, maintain connection, evaluate the needs of newly arrived folks and accompany people, one person at a time.

I have been invited to contribute to this pivot. I hope that these bi-weekly gatherings will allow many times, spaces, and states to recharge together and continue.

* Below are images that document an Art Gathering in early August in Parc Jarry with the group of women. It was the first time since April that we gathered face-to-face rather than face-to-screen. It was powerful to be in proximity of one another, and to engage together in action-thinking-and-taking, as art, as women, in public space.

Thank you F, M, R, L and H for your openness and attentive contributions.

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