En’owkin Centre Breastfeeding Art Expo
A unique Indigenous-focused Art Expo on the topic of breastfeeding was held at En’owkin Centre at Penticton Indian Band in October and November 2017. The En’owkin Centre is a nationally recognized Indigenous arts and training centre. This review highlights some of the art from the En’owkin Indigenous Expo including six of the Community Art Projects and three Independent Art pieces.
The En’owkin Breastfeeding Art Expo was part of a larger Expo (2017-2018) that is a joint partnership with Interior Health and the non-profit social service organization KCR-Community Resources; it was funded by five organizations. With 35 community partners, the project was led by a ten-member steering committee that including two Indigenous members. The Expo offered a full-colour Art Catalogue and a Teacher’s Guide. The larger Expo travelled to six locations in the Interior of British Columbia, and included 15 large community art projects and 65 independent artworks by citizens of central British Columbia, as well as 20 short videos that tell the significant art and health stories.
Art is recognized as an important tool for Indigenous people for health and healing. This Expo was an opportunity to celebrate community, art, and breastfeeding. The goals of the Expo were multi-faceted, namely, to increase awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding, to encourage new ways of thinking about health through art, and to support work towards establishing better care for women to breastfeed in the hospital and community.