Humber College Visual Arts
Here some contributions by second-year students in the Visual and Digital Arts Program at Humber College. Working in conjunction with community members and the Small Arms Society, students in the Special Topics in Contemporary Practice class have examined the history, present condition, and imagined futures of the site.
Graduates from the Visual and Digital Arts Program move onto a diverse range of creative careers emboldened by their training in foundational, technical, and social artistic practices.
The art piece titled as “Adda”( addd-aaa) is a tribute to all the women who used to work the Small Arms factory. Surrounded by guns and machines for most of the times, it would have been very pleasant for the women workers to have a confined place where they could actually hang out and would really like to be surrounded by feminine gestures.
Adda is a space made of small reflective plastic-like structure-which were Imported from India for this art piece, mirrors, and designs made in gold paints. Each reflective piece is tied up to the woman who used to work in the small arms building.
"Hidden World in Plain Sight"
In this space, I explored the hidden worlds and characters created from human materialism and vacant historical places. Fueled by imagination, I created identities for abandoned objects opening a portal for them. As the imaginary world beneath the stairwell comes to life it brings some of itself into our world. A varied collection of found objects from mirrors to dolls to sewing notions form the citizens and portal of the hidden world. Paint and pigments have breathed new life into these characters and their world. They are unique and have stepped away from the traits of their original mass production. When gazing upon the centre patron you might see a part of yourself reflected in their world. My desire is that these objects to connect you to the lost and forgotten places and objects in your own life. Where have they gone? Perhaps, they too have their own hidden world.
Geonho “Ray” Lee, and Mert Urkmez
"To see the brightest morning,
you got to pass the darkest night"
Graffiti and abandoned buildings have a long relationship. In modern times, graffiti is a movement, expression, or message towards the society; however, we believe the future of graffiti will be expanded to an art form that has a concept and focuses on beautifying spaces. Inspired by graffiti's structure and the bending of alphabets, we are transforming the dark, and narrowed hallway into a landscape illustration. "To see the brightest morning, you got to pass the darkest night." The sunrise has meaning because of the dark night, and the dark night has meaning because of the sunrise. Through patience and persistence, the hardest time in your life, eventually there will be the sunrise. Only in the darkness can the moonflowers bloom. In the end, your past becomes as beautiful as the moonflowers, and your day will see the sunrise.
Caleb Barrett, Kazl Berman-Cassidy, Alex Hayes, Karlee Pattenden, Diana Ramirez, and Hanna Wami
In our portraits of Dorothy Browne, we wanted to express the many stories of the workers of the Small Arms Society through the face of one woman who started working here at age 17. She was familiar with the space and knew it very well and she continues to be recognized as a cherished member of the society. As six different artists from all walks of life joined with a one-minded goal, we aimed to create a new place where the walls of this vault can narrate our distinct perspectives in the hopes that it may reflect the myriad of histories and journeys of each individual worker and put into focus the value that the Small Arms Society held in the past and still holds today because of people like Dorothy.
Aailyah John, Ivana Komnenovic, Rothianee V. Lam, Matthew Slingsby, Zohaib Umer
“Serene” explores the environment around the Small Arms munitions inspections facility, and plays with the concept of change. Because it
takes place in what used to be a women’s locker room, the artists chose to paint only women figures in which are all from different cultures so that “Serene” inspires creativity and cultural differences through art.
Francis David, Zoe Goodman, Tristan Miller, Kyle Sinclair and Moussa Sukkari
"Powder Room Paradise"
Our piece is meant to embody a place of solitude and security away from the harsh reality that is life. Before being refurbished, this site was a munitions inspection facility that employed many women during WW2 who would test guns to be sent out to soldiers. The restroom within the facility was a place where one would be able go to escape their work and reality. We simulated a feeling of comfort by bringing a luxurious washroom
setting into a space that was historically otherwise. We have adorned the space with art deco styles to bring about a feeling of peace and luxury that the women of the facility may have felt during the time they had in this space. Today is still filled with extreme stress and in our lives restroom breaks remain to be one of the few places we have a moment of solitude and possible relaxation.
This piece embodies the feeling of empowerment and the feeling of pride of what people have accomplished in their lives so that others can have a better opportunity. Through their labour, the female factory workers became stronger for their families and loved ones fighting across the world. Like them they have their own battle to fight, including
what society thinks a woman should be, instead of what women can and will be.
William Bayer, Thiago Charlo Alves,
Bradley Correia, and Jonathan Dhayaka
"From Past to Present at SAS"
Recounting history to today’s generation is sometimes hard to project to an audience and hard for them to understand the stories told, directed from colleagues, friends, and family. We are a group of artists who have organized a solution to help illustrate these stories from members of the Small Arms Facility to an audience with a style of 2-D animation. Juxtaposing historical landmarks and recreations of the members from that period of time, to tell these stories fluidly. We artists have used digital design and multi-media software’s to retell these stories in a new way.
With countless hours of research, we have looked into historical footage and photographs to reflect what life would have been like, during its last biggest contribution in 1910-1974 for World War I through World War II. With a little imagination, this animated short story will give the audience
a fresh presentation about Small Arms Society and its historical legacy seeing its impact for the future.
Shannon Elizabeth, Briana Quinn, Robyn Bjelan, Alex Mujica
"When the Working Day is Done"
The Small Arms Building is home to decades of rich history, most importantly the history of women in the work place. Even though recently remodelled, this very washroom was used by the inspection workers of the building. Our projection is a reflection, most literally, on the purpose of the building comparing the 1970’s to 2018. 2018 has been a year of uprising among women, especially in the workplace and our installation is a great reminder that unity amongst women has lasted decades and is taking place all around us, even where you are standing. We hope our projection sheds light on the inspiring sisterhood of Small Arms.
In a society where strength directly relates to powers, emotions are better hidden from others. A public bathroom stall is a common safe haven, a safe place to eat lunch, to cry, and everything in between. The aim of this piece is to visualize the feel of comfort one should feel when entering a public washroom stall and closing the door to the outside world.
Bathroom break invites viewers to enter the stall, sit with the door closed and take a moment of self-reflection.
Alex Boon, Nick Burton-Stoner, Kristen Knight
and Elizabeth Slute
"Many to One"
The Small Arms Inspection Facility was formerly a part of a larger complex of buildings; these were all destroyed. Now, we wish to preserve the history of the war effort in Canada. With our work, we are bringing back the old space into the new place. Navigate through the Small Arms Inspection Facility and see how we can transform this space into one of creativity.
"A kind of Tranquil Home"
For many people, a washroom can be a perfect hiding place from fear and anxiety. At the same time, Small Arms facility was not only a gun factory but also a safe haven for workers during war. This tranquility leads me back to the concept of 'home', which is meant to be peaceful and intimate. Only nature exists to evoke the state of peace and bring to mind our rooted human - nature interdependent relationship, also. I would like to emphasize how every space is a special place to someone. It can fill our hearts with stories. As how 'home' is a continuation of generations,
I wish to contribute my presence as many spirits have done in this historical site. Thus, I created an imaginary shelter inside a dilapidated washroom's cabinet in the hope of bridging this strange place and our memories.