2021 marked the 5 year anniversary of drug-related overdoses being declared a public health emergency in British Columbia, Canada. More than 7000 people have died as a result of overdose events in the past 5 years with highest numbers seen in 2020-21 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the crisis, Indigenous Peoples have been disproportionately impacted.
From the Art Exhibit is a project funded by the First Nations Health Authority for people whose lives have been directly affected by overdose to share their story through art. This gallery showcases art by people at risk of overdose, friends and family members of loved ones lost to overdose, harm reduction workers, and first responders.
It is an opportunity to share a perspective beyond that which is told in statistics or scientific reports, to share aspects of the experience that are beyond words. Overdose is often associated with stigma and shame which is isolating and harmful in itself. This platform is a way for artists to connect and share their stories, humanize the problem, and affect change.
It is a message to the world .....
Special thanks to all the artists who have contributed their talented, but also, very sensitive work to this project. We recognise that these pieces are often created as a form of catharsis while dealing with emotions that trouble us. We are honoured to collaborate with you and recognise your bravery sharing your stories with the world in this way.
Thanks also to Professor Victoria Tischler, University of Exeter, UK for her professional advice and support and to the following organisations who have supported the project in various important ways: