Dani Crosby: Caregiving

We recently partnered with Dani Crosby Art on a community engagement activity in celebration of caregivers, inspired by one of our current online exhibitions, A Profession of Care. In this activity, Dani asked our audience to contribute short stories and thoughts on caregivers and the act of care giving, based on a series of writing prompts.

These stories have been collected and turned into portraits by the artist in which she has visually honoured, represented, and acknowledged the qualities and experiences of caregivers of all types. We would like to thank all those who contributed their incredibly moving and personal stories to this project.

Beginning on May 22, 2020, we will slowly reveal each of the five artworks that Dani has created and post it here on this page, as well as on our social media channels.

The artworks are available for FREE as a digital download, so please feel free to print a copy for yourself or keep a digital copy. If you would like to share the digital copy online, please ensure that proper credit is given to the artist. 

Artwork #1

Caregivers: Art Therapists/Therapists

“Art therapists and therapists give us permission and a safe space to reveal ourselves, our experiences, to untangle, to give a name to our demons and learn to live with them. They help us bring ourselves to a point of functionality where we can perform within our individual roles in a healthy and positive way. They teach us positive outlets for difficult emotions and memories. They teach us how to process experiences. We do the work. They work with us. They show us how that very hard, very important work can be done. Often that work goes unseen. That time we spend working on ourselves does not necessarily look like ‘productivity’ by broad societal standards. That time we spend working on ourselves does not always produce or present in a way that is immediately recognized. It’s not a marketable product or the ability to provide labour to a company. It is time spent growing a person, becoming the version of yourself you want to become. It gives us the tools we need to move through and contribute to different spaces and relationships: a classroom, a workplace, family bonds, friendships, platonic and romantic partnerships. If we so choose. Art Therapists and Therapists see us and help us look at ourselves until we can do so with acceptance or perhaps love instead of shame or perhaps anger.”

Artwork #2

Caregivers: Nurses

“These images were inspired not only by stories of and from Nurses but also PSWs, Paramedics, Doctors and other medical professionals. I read all of the stories sent to me by my community. I read local articles being written about medical professionals before and during the time of COVID19. I read many social media posts by individuals in our community talking about the current and broader experiences of our medical professionals. The medical professionals I connected with both directly and indirectly give so much, risk so much, each and every day.”

Artwork #3

Caregivers: Nurses

“They provide emotional care as well as physical care to their patients. They are with their patients through their worst, back to their best, into and past their final moments. They are the messengers of the good news and the news no one wants to give or receive. They maintain composure in the face of chaos, they push past their limits and work through conditions where proper support and resources are not made available. They are with us while we are at our most vulnerable and treat us with the dignity we all deserve, at all stages through our life and into our decline. Their chosen path puts them at great risk and provides them with great joy. It is a balancing act, a struggle, a calling, a role which benefits our society immensely. May we acknowledge and honour their importance during and beyond our moments of shared and individual crisis.”

Artwork #4

Caregivers: Teachers

“This image represents the cyclical flow of energy in the classroom. The constant giving of one’s self to students, the return of that energy and the struggle to reach all students. Each student had a unique personality, unique needs, unique personal circumstances. There is a need for hyper awareness and sensitivity to the impact words and actions might have on a student, each and every day. This image focuses on teachers who work with young children. But the challenges and joys illustrated here can be applied to teachers who work with any age group. Teachers extend themselves within and beyond their limits to maintain balance in the classroom, and between all the various roles in their lives. Students learn from their teachers, from each other, and teachers are constantly learning from their students. Each participant in a classroom grows together and leaves the classroom each day better equipped to navigate their own lives and participate the world around them.”

Artwork #5

Caregivers: Family and Friends

“Family are Parents, Mothers and Fathers, Siblings, Sisters, Brothers, Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, Grandparents, Grandmas, Grandpas, partners, and friends. Family can be born into and family can be chosen. Family can be people we meet in person and in the virtual world. Family are the people who help us grow, accept us, protect us, nurture and love us.

The nude figure in the upper middle of the image represents vulnerability, need, and growth as a result of personal determination and the support from family. The figures surrounding them represent all of the people in their family. May we all find the family we deserve.”