Carey Newman talks about the Witness Blanket

Powerful and emotional art work created by Sooke's world renown artist

Carey Newman

Of his work, the Witness Blanket, Carey Newman said, “The Witness Blanket may be the most important piece I ever created, and I feel an obligation to bring it to as many communities as possible.  We need to honour the survivors and remember the children who were lost. We need to speak openly about these stories to ensure that this never happens again.”

Inspired by a woven blanket, the large-scale art installation is made out of hundreds of items reclaimed from residential schools, churches, government buildings and traditional and cultural structures including friendship centres, band offices, treatment centres and universities, from across Canada.

Newman designed and built this piece “… to reflect the strength of my people and it is my hope that everyone who stands in witness of this piece will be affected in some way.  If the Witness Blanket fosters awareness in one person who is just learning about this difficult part of Canadian history, or touches a Residential School Survivor or one of their family members, it has made a difference.”

Newman and his project team spent 12 months travelling 204,762 kms. around the country, gathering stories and artifacts. They visited 77 communities and residential school sites, saw 10,000 people, and collected 894 pieces of history to be included in the Witness Blanket. The finished work now stands as a national monument to recognize the atrocities of the Indian residential school era, honour the children, and symbolize ongoing reconciliation.

The Sooke Fine Arts Society is proud to host an evening with Carey Newman as he discusses this powerful project, the Witness Blanket, now touring across Canada. Newman is a renowned multi-disciplinary artist, whose work has been featured many times in the Sooke Fine Arts Show.  Join him for a special insight into the creation of the blanket’s tapestry, the collection of its artifacts, and the message it carries.

This special event will be held at Edward Milne Community School Theatre, 6218 Sooke Road, on Thursday, May 28.  Doors to the theatre open at 7:15 p.m., with the presentation at 7:30 p.m.  Admission is by donation, with a suggested $5 minimum. All proceeds will go to support the project’s national tour.  Survivors of the residential school era are invited to attend free of charge.

For further information, please contact the Sooke Fine Arts Society’s office either by email at sfas@sookefinearts.com or by phone at (250) 642-7256.