Since 2015 the WP Puppet Theatre has facilitated View from the Inside, a series of puppet-building workshops to encourage open discussions about mental wellness. Indigenous youth and children, seniors, high school students, Girl Guides, developmentally disabled persons, sheltered women, refugees, and those at risk of homelessness have all participated in these workshops. Participants were all given an identical blank mask and asked to embark on a personal journey of self-reflection. Using a combination of paint, written messages, personal objects and collage elements, participants embellished the outsides of the masks to represent how they present themselves to, or how they believe they are perceived by, the public. The insides of the masks represent how they see themselves.
The process has proven to be cathartic. It has highlighted the healing potential of creative practice, fostered a greater sense of community and promoted empathy and understanding across diverse groups of people.
Courage Journey is comprised of 7 diptychs representing the inner and outer worlds of anonymous workshop participants, as well as the facilitators of the workshops, Wendy Passmore-Godfrey and Allan Rosales. The exhibition is intended to remind us of the universal nature of mental wellness and to allow us to contemplate the ways in which we all, at one time or another, wear a mask.
Curated by Shannon Bingeman, Alberta Society of Artists, TREX Region 3
Cover Image: W.P. Puppet Theatre Society, Wendy’s Body Mask Puppet (Front), 2017, Mixed media. Photograph by Arun Chaturvedi. Courtesy of the W.P. Puppet Theatre Society