Updated: Jul 18, 2021
Written by Emine Atak
When I left my home country – the place I had spent years creating childhood memories in, it felt as if my book full of stories had closed and along with a piece of me, was left behind when I moved to Canada. As my family and I moved across the Atlantic Ocean, a new, blank book had opened for me, waiting to be filled with new, colourful stories; truthfully though, a large portion of this book remained empty for a few years and the filled pages were generally inked with disheartening stories.
That is, until I began volunteering at Antyx for the Youth Arts Action program where I had the
chance to add colour to the pages of my book, reflecting the work we had done to spread colour and kindness within our own community. I recall my first day at the program. I enter the room with hesitance, but I am quickly met with smiling faces and “we have snacks!” Not long after, I watch with humour, two grown adults attempt making a giant origami and see if they could possibly fit in it. Spoiler: it did not work. Interestingly, these origamis would actually inspire and become a part of our sculpture project down the road.
That year, I remember sitting in a circle with other youth, sticky notes full of ideas in our hands. We soon establish that we want each of the four sculptures to represent one season, where each season would represent a topic important to us; upon hours of brainstorming and sketching of ideas, we let the spring, summer, fall, and winter sculptures represent mental health/growth, dreams taking flight, diversity, and perseverance, respectively. The process of creating the sculptures was just as fun as brainstorming and sketching ideas for them.
My friends and I sit around a blender, as we peel the wraps around Crayola crayons for the
colourful kites in our summer sculpture; we engage in casual conversation and laughter. As we put the clouds together for the winter sculpture, I lose count of just how many times I burn myself with the hot glue gun – until my friend takes the glue from my hands and shoos me away.
I skip around in the hallway we are working on, trying not to step on any part of the project. A few of us gather around the spring sculpture, as we attach the puffed-out tissue papers
representing cherry blossoms and the origami birds on a wire. We also cover twine with lots of glue and wrap it around balloons to create twine balls for our fall sculpture. We pay close
attention to the littlest of details and keep ourselves busy with one task after another.
In what feels like seconds (the hours seriously went by too fast), our sculptures are up at the
Genesis Center and as I look at the intrigued and admiring eyes of the members of my
community, and I see the pride and joy reflected on all our faces, I tell myself that our hard work has finally paid off. Little did I know, these temporary sculptures would be the catalyst to many more artistic projects, and would eventually lead me here, where I work together with incredible people to replace the sculptures with permanent ones.
As the pages in my book get filled rapidly with colourful stories, I can’t wait to fill even more pages with beautiful stories, reflecting my experiences as a youth who is part of the LOOP sculpture project.