The Wayfinder ART Sunflower Project
This project was started in 2013 during the painting of the Internment Mural in Vernon, BC. The success of the campaign was huge, and hundreds of seeds were planted and many sunflower paintings were inspired. The poem included, by Georgianna Moore, was a part of this inspiration. This project could provide the impetus for further conversation about internment, the importance of cultural history, human rights and social responsibility.
The sunflower represents many aspects of the past, and the present, thus making the anniversary campaign about hope and a national temporary art challenge, that speaks to the resilience of all the people of this country. This symbol is about the immigrant journey of yesterday and today. The bravery of the people who sought change and used agricultural skills to create a new life, and these skills are extremely relevant during this pandemic. As we walk with giants, this larger than life golden trail will lead in an act of faith and connection, for a better future and symbolizes a new beginning from old roots. - Michelle Loughery, Master Artist and her award-winning Wayfinder Program.
Artist and The Wayfinder Sunflower Project Founder Loughery plants in honour of her Ukrainian family members that were interned in Canada’s WW1 Internment Operations. During this period, the federal government interned thousands of Ukrainians, Bulgarians, Croatians, Czechs, Germans, Hungarians, Italians, Jews, various peoples from the Ottoman Empire, Poles, Romanians, Russians, Serbians, Slovaks, and Slovenes, among others, most of them Ukrainians and most of them civilians.
The CFWWIRF official logo, designed by international muralist and internee descendant Michelle Loughery was used as the image for this stamp. The colours of the logo deliberately lack vibrancy to reflect the sombre nature of the internment operations. The image of the blue maple leaf and the snowflakes conveys the coldness of the internment camps that were located behind the barbed wire fence.
2020 - This year marks the commemoration of the 100 years of the end of Canada’s First National Internment Operations, 1914 to 1920 | June 20th 2020 marks the 100th year of the freedom.
Michelle Loughery Wayfinder Programs are structured on employment skills and community engagement social skills, which are the number one missing link between skilled workers and the job market. Art trade based learning and partnerships will guide students directly into gaining essential skills and a bridge to jobs, further education or entrepreneurship. Part of this program also has students enrolled in, The, “Passport to Employment Program,” (created 2001) A Michelle Loughery Murals designed program that gives youth a life skill and employment sustainability plan to move forward to empower and sustain a healthy lifestyle.
Wayfinder ART in Action
Leadership skills taught through the arts are what young people need most to be successful in life. Competition for jobs is fierce, and the current state of the world and economy require an ability to constantly adapt to change. Is the coming generation ready to face the realities of life after school? Education in the arts should not be reserved for the talented few, but promoted as the means for all children to develop skills in: creative thinking, confidence, problem-solving, accountability, relationship building, communication, adaptability and dreaming big.
Innovative service delivery models are needed in our schools to help at-risk youth, and to ameliorate family dysfunction so that children have an increased potential to learn. Our online learning offers connection to community-based agencies that provide prevention and intervention services. The mechanism of the safety of the wall and the sense of place in the community that is developed to form and implement these partnerships is youth driven and unique.
Loughery's award winning arts legacy projects are legendary and this global project is challenging communities and artists to unite in a global connected WAYFINDER ART movement of art in action that also includes the sharing of stories of the creative skills that are the shared knowledge passed on hand by hand. Based in Artist Loughery's Wayfinder Art and creative community philosophy, taught to her by her immigrant families, this Canadian root story and global movement is an award winning model that connects creative communities to those unattached to the systems and supports, youth, seniors and new Canadians while supporting non-profits through community social action that leaves social and art tourism shared economic legacies behind.
The sunflower represents many aspects of the past, and the present, thus making the campaign about hope and a national temporary art challenge that speaks to the resilience of all people of this country. This symbol is about the indigenous and immigrant people of yesterday and today. The bravery of the people who sought change and used agricultural skills to create a new life, and these skills are extremely relevant during this pandemic and recovery As we walk with giants, this larger than life golden trail will lead in an act of faith and connection, for a better future and symbolizes a new beginning from old roots.
"The Sunflower represents all nationalities that have had their freedoms and rights taken. As a symbol of strength, but also as a symbol of rebirth and creative energy to renew. Through conversation we can recognize those who suffered from these injustices and, through greater awareness, ensure that similar injustices are less likely to be repeated in the future as we work towards a new renewal of Canada." - Michelle Loughery International Master Artist,The Sunflower Project Founder
"Wings of change are aloft and as this storm passes, nature is certain to bless humanity by uplifting our spirits with ‘Sunflowers’. They shall sing in a chorus of hope with a resonating sound to transmit into a treasured Form of Art. A shout-out to all Artists & Creatives to dig-in deep roots & grow our future with “food for thought”; and to graft brilliance into the economy by rebuilding our culture with permanence of Art-in-Motion. And from that act of efficacy, we shall grow! Subsequently, humankind is readily bound to travel along a transportation tapestry that is lined in blue and woven in gold. The magic of the Canadian road draws the soul!" - Lorrie Fleming, Canadian Route 66
The Camps Season 1 - Episode 2 of 17 - Vernon, BC
Award Winning Master Muralist and Art Educator, Michelle Loughery speaks about the importance of Art in remembering history.
The Surprising Story of Canada’s Enemy Aliens
You’ll be amazed to hear about the internment of Canadian citizens during WWI and how it affected the Ukrainian community of Vernon, B.C.
Award Winning Master Muralist and Art Educator, Michelle Loughery The Sunflower Mural Project
The Sunflower Project in Film