Myth and Mirrors
Through collective creation, using theatre, visual arts, music, games and popular education Myths and Mirrors brings together community members, with numerous cultural and socio-economic perspectives, to build community and inspire hope.
"Myths and Mirrors invites people to come together, to discuss and debate, to open their minds, their hearts and their imaginations, to criticize and to dream, all in order to create a work of art. This is a very unusual thing to ask people to do in a world dominated by instrumentalism, economic survival and the bottom line”.
The organization started with a project that brought residents of two low-income downtown neighbourhoods together to engage in the “collective creation of art works that explored modern myths and reflected their own stories and experience”. Since that time, they have continued to work within their community on project initiatives as diverse as quilts, murals, theatre, interior design, installation and performance art, rituals and celebrations. This work, based in feminist aesthetic theory, has led the organization to inquire into various themes, including poverty, the environment and social justice.
“Community art uses the language of critical theory as well as the language of utopianism and hope; the language of aesthetics and the language of healing. It is a practice in search of a name: community arts, arts in context, cultural resistance, cultural democracy,... it is on the margins of language itself ... It challenges our definitions of art, of education, of politics and it challenges our notions of what we are capable of ... As often happens in Myths and Mirrors projects, the discourse begins through images rather than language”.
A study of the work of Myths and Mirrors, presented at the 2004 Adult Education Research Conference, argues that their work “moves along a continuum of not only the social, cultural and political, but also, the pedagogical ... By viewing the arts as a basis for both understanding and transforming society and politics, feminists add a more critical and social justice orientation to the repertory of artistic endeavour” (Clover, Stalker and McGauley, 2004).