Overdose crisis inspires Victoria art exhibit

Overdose crisis inspires Victoria art exhibit

WATCH: A Victoria exhibit is set to display art created by those killed by overdose or affected by the crisis. It’s in an effort to create a space for healing.  Isabelle Raghem reports. 

Naomi Kennedy is among the artists who will showcase their art at the heART space exhibit in Victoria on Oct. 11.

Her piece is a sculpture inspired by a friend who died of an overdose.

“She didn’t wake up,” Kennedy explains, “People at first thought she was sleeping in. It was very much a shock.”

Kennedy, a local artist, curator and heARt space youth advisory coordinator, created the clay sculpture as a way to work through the pain and grief.

Thanks to community donations and a $7,500 grant from the province, an empty storefront at 821 Fort St. has been rented for the month to create the heART space project.

“We are having a crisis going on,” says heARt space project co-ordinator Marion Selfridge, “There are so many different people affected that I think we need to shift what we’re doing about it and we need to create spaces, so that both frontline workers and other people in the community actually have time and space to do the grieving they need to do.”

The project is being described as a collaborative initiative involving current and former street-involved youth, front-line workers and others affected by the current overdose crisis.

The latest numbers show 876 people died from overdoses in B.C. from January through July this year. On Vancouver Island, 138 people have died.

Organizers want attendees to see beyond the numbers.

“I think that each piece of art in this space will have a story behind it,” explains Selfridge.

In addition to next week’s art show, the space will host workshops and events throughout the month to help those affected.

Organizers are looking for more pieces to add to the collection. Email [email protected] for more information or click here for Facebook event.

The public exhibit opens Tuesday Oct. 10 at 7 p.m.

Isabelle RaghemIsabelle Raghem

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