A mini book review of Affirming Collaboration: Community and Humanist Activist Art in Québec and Elsewhere, by Engrenage Noir/LEVIER.
I recently acquired the publication Affirming Collaboration: Community and Humanist Acitvist Art in Québec and Elsewhere from the community arts organization Engrenage Noir / LEVIER in Saint-Henri. This book is absolutely relevant to anyone interested in community-based arts practices. Essential to the re-imagining of our intersecting and overlapping cultures and communities here in Montréal, Québec and elsewhere, this is an anthology of community-collaborative art projects that deal with critical social issues in fresh and innovative ways.
I was pleased to see such a comprehensive compilation of works un-afraid to step outside of the conventional box of sole-authorship into a co-creative process, one that shares power and works towards a common goal. The projects archived in this book all follow a clear vision that is uniquely inspired by real life issues affecting all the corners of the city we inhabit. The golden thread that lines these works weaves a beautiful testament that traces the efforts needed to firmly dig in to the work it takes to effect change. Many of these examples of works chart the thoughtful and deeply engaged process of learning how to combine art with action, a true balancing act, one that can be worth every measured step if the combination is just right. This is a book worth checking out, not only to have insight into the collaborative process, but to become aware of the many fascinating individuals combining creativity with activism. This is the kind of work that is needed, and completely absent from so many circular, self-obsessed contemporary art practices. Here's to organizations like Engrenage Noir, that give back to the community, and understand what it takes to dig in.
To order the book, or to learn more, visit: Engrenage Noir / LEVIER.