Catching up with AWE’s emerging artist-in-residence, Michael Khalil!
Want to learn more about our second emerging artist-in-residence? Read on for a conversation with Michael Khalil!
What excites you about AWE’s emerging artist residency?
I have to be honest, everything about this residency excites me. As a self-taught artist, there aren’t significant opportunities to share my art and work closely with community members without knowing someone who knows someone. This residency has given me the chance to work closely with people from all over the city and help them create art that can make a difference in the issues affecting them and their lives.
Can you tell us about your poster project?
My art and activism poster-making workshop was about creating personalized posters representing the issues affecting the different Windsor communities. When I first got this residency, I knew that I wanted to do something that would make a difference. My priority was making art accessible. All the materials that sit in the AWE studio aren’t materials a lot of people can use whenever they want. So, the workshop wasn’t just about creating the posters but also giving people access to artistic materials and the freedom and creative space to make art.
What has been your favourite moment with the residency so far?
So many great moments to pick from. Of course, I could say my wonderful poster workshop or my amazing poster walk, where we put the posters made during the workshop up around downtown Windsor where everyone could see them. But honestly, the best moment so far happened just the other weekend. A young girl came into the studio to work with the artist Daniel Gaie for Saturdays in the Studio (which I couldn’t recommend enough, she is so talented and her workshop is incredible). And after the class ended, she stayed behind and kept me company while I was working on my next project. We just chatted and discussed art as she made a small alligator sculpture of clay that I have up by my art wall. It is beyond rewarding to see a young kid so engaged with art and their community.
What do you have planned for the rest of your residency? Can you give us a sneak peek?
Without giving too much away, my next few projects have a lot to do with Mother Earth and the decay she suffers. I want to focus on the cycle of life and death and how that connects deeply to the many sociological concepts that affect us all.
Excuse me, but I might go on a bit of a tangent. Every city has a unique and undeniable personality. A living breathing personality that gives it and its residents a unique air to them. However, if you look around this city, its people are being smothered. Smothered by pollution, the increasing price of living and the stagnant wages, the rise in displacement, and the opioid crisis. Nothing is being done and people are tired. I hope to bring these ideas to life through my next few pieces. To show how not only is the environment at great risk, but by association, so are we. Even after our society has fallen and collapsed under the ego of a few wealthy men, Mother Earth will remain and she will never forget what they did to her.
Where can people stay up to date with you and your artwork?
If you wanna keep up to date with any of my work you can follow my Instagram account @meeksminolta. I post a lot about my upcoming projects with the AWE and my own little art projects. I also post about local artists in Windsor who I admire, and I hope for others to support them too.
About the Residency:
Three emerging artists from Windsor-Essex are set to complete a 3-month residency at Art Windsor-Essex over the course of 2022. The AWE Emerging Artist Residency is a paid opportunity for early-career artists in Windsor-Essex who want to learn, grow, develop, and show their art while engaging with the public in a series of community programs. In addition to creating new works of art in AWE’s Education Studio, the artist will create digital content and install an off-site window solo exhibition at the Dry Goods Gallery at 1012 Drouillard Road in Ford City.
This program is generously sponsored by the WindsorEssex Community Foundation.