what is essentialThe Tom Thomson Art Gallery is excited to announce the launch of their latest community art project #myessential. This project reflects on what the pandemic has highlighted as essential in our lives by asking the question ‘what is essential to you?’ and urging critical reflection on what we deem vital.

#myessential is a collaborative mural project led by local artist JP Morel and guided by the imaginative virtual responses, creations, and spirit of local youth from Owen Sound District Secondary School who collectively answered this important question. Through past, present, and future vantage points, the mural offers a visual diary of the “new normal” we are living in, sharing the experiences of our youth and what they consider essential now more than ever.

"The pandemic has challenged us, separated us, closed our towns and cities, left us longing for hugs, dinners out, unmasked smiles, the comfort of friends and family. This project is a way for us to find connection again, to share with each other, and to celebrate the things we have come to deeply realize, are the most important in our lives," says Aidan Ware, Director, and Chief Curator.

We invite you to contribute to this community project by responding to the question what is essential to you? and sharing your #myessential with us in the Gallery space and on social media.

JP Morel is an active youth workshop leader (Lookup Theatre and Youth Literacy South Grey-Bruce) and accomplished visual artist who lives and works in Durham, Ontario. In 2017, JP was the lead mural painter mentoring local youth with Maria Hupfield in her exhibition East Wind/West Wind at the Tom Thomson Art Gallery. In January 2019, for her solo show at the Durham Art Gallery, she created a large scale tryptic and later that summer also completed a sixty-foot mural on a downtown building highlighting historical figures and members of the Durham Sauntering Band. In 2020, she designed and lead her team of volunteers tackling another sixty-foot mural depicting various animals which habitate in the Saugeen Conservation Area, earning a certificate of appreciation from Mayor Christine Robinson from the Municipality of West Grey.

source: media release, Tom Thomson Art Gallery