Lawrence Heights teens create 'dystopian' artifacts for 2050 residents to uncover
Project explores themes of gentrification, revitalization in the community
A new exhibit at the Gardiner Museum shows off the futuristic work of Lawrence Heights teens who captured elements of their neighbourhood that they would like to see live on into the future.
The project, dubbed Reclaiming Artifacts, takes aim at the gentrification of one of the city's largest community housing projects.
"The fiction allowed us to make [the teens] feel more comfortable talking about these topics in a way that isn't necessarily purely personal," project co-creator Prateeksha Singh explained Thursday on CBC Radio's Here and Now.
The finished clay pieces include a THC robot, a flower-book and more.
The artist who created the robot "was talking about how her generation and her neighbourhood is so surrounded by cannabis. And so she imagined this robot could deliver it to your door in the future," said Calla Lee, who collaborated with Singh on the project.
"To see that level of creativity where she sees the things that are happening around her and then projects them forward was really cool," she added.
The book of flowers was meant to catalogue scents of different blooms in case there are no flowers in the future, Lee explained.
"It's a little bit dystopian but it also begs the question: what are those things that we want to see in our future?"
The plan that debuted in 2010 under mayor David Miller was to replace the existing Toronto Community Housing units with private housing, essentially launching a decade of change for local residents.
The art piece represent the youths' memories and experience, Singh said. But its also the imagining "a shared future," the project's website says.
The free exhibit, a part of the Gardiner's community arts space program, runs until April 16, 2018.
with files from Here and Now