Canada Summer Jobs Position with OPIRG McMaster

Reweaving a Life: Art of Women Weavers of Palm – Their Struggle with Poverty, Water and Pride –Project Assistant


The “Reweaving a Life” Art Project portrays the daily reality of women who are basket weavers living in acute poverty, both economic and spiritual, and who are caught in a complex web of social disintegration coupled with environmental degradation.

Today, these indigenous women of Tlamacazapa, Mexico struggle to recreate s sense of worth and identity through a reweaving of perception of self and inner strength.

Canadian artists are contributing their time and talent to capture this process. Yar Taraky of Hamilton and Karen Kulyk of Halifax have joined Mexican artists, Alejandro Gonzalez Aranda and Maya Saenz Romero on the project.

The project is a joint initiative between the Ontario Public Interest Research Group McMaster and Caminamos Juntos Para Salud y Desarrollo (Walking Together for Health and Development) Mexico.

Caminamos Juntos is an external presence that is stimulating a process for change in rhythm with the people of Tlamacazapa, helping them to recover and recreate their cultural identity and a more meaningful way of life.

A group of nine women participants from the village have opened their hearts and their homes to enable the production of a series of paintings each portraying aspects of their lives and the coming social changes, with basket weaving as a consistent theme. The art (including the palm baskets made by the women participants of the project and photographs adding context to the exhibition) debuted at the prestigious National Museum of Popular Culture in Mexico City, a museum dedicated to indigenous culture and cosmology. It has traveled throughout Mexico and is scheduled to arrive in Canada in August of 2007.

The Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford, Ontario has invited the women weavers to Canada for their Indigenous Market Place, a festival that employs traditional artists to celebrate the Indigenous spirit and will to survive. The Tlamacazapa women weavers will be highlighted as indigenous artists, demonstrating an ancient art form that has been preserved over centuries.

The Reweaving a Life exhibit will be exhibited in Hamilton following the Indigenous Market Place in Brantford. The weavers will be invited to offer weaving demonstrations and deliver
public talks. The exhibit is scheduled for the Glenbow Museum in Calgary for April –June, 2008. Other Canadian venues are being explored.

Describe Work Tasks of Canada Summer Jobs Employee:

  • Seek funding support
  • Assist in venue set-up
  • Communicate with Reweaving a Life project members in Mexico
  • Locate billeting for the women weavers while in Hamilton
  • Prepare publicity and promotion of events in Hamilton
  • Assist when requested with publicity etc. related to the events at the Woodland Cultural Centre
  • Link with arts, native, and church organizations
  • Plan a schedule of weaving demonstrations and public talks for the women weavers
  • Plan an opening night gala
  • Assist with setting up a display unit of baskets and other fair trade items in OPIRG office
  • Update the Mexico Working Group page on the OPIRG McMaster web-site
  • Assist in locating other appropriate venues for the exhibit in Canada
  • Research how multi-national agencies are set-up in terms of infrastructure (policy and program planning) and report to Caminamos Juntos for use as a template for their organization

The project assistant will work for 9 weeks, 35 hours per week at a rate of $12 per hour. Please send a cover letter and resume to OPIRG McMaster by Monday, June 4, 2008.

OPIRG welcomes the contributions that individuals from marginalized communities bring to our organization, and invites aboriginal people, people of colour, women, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, queer-oriented people, transgendered people, transsexual people, intersexed people, working class people, single parents, members of ethnic minorities, immigrants and people with disabilities to apply.


  • be between 15 AND 30 YEARS OF AGE (INCLUSIVELY) at the time of intake/selection;
  • be registered as full-time students in the previous academic year, and intend to return to school on a full-time basis in the next academic year;
  • be students in a secondary, post-secondary, vocational or technical program, but not attending full-time classes while participating in their SCP placement;
  • be Canadian citizens, permanent residents or persons on whom refugee protection has been conferred under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act;
  • be legally entitled to work according to relevant federal and provincial/territorial legislation and regulations; and
  • not hold another full-time (30 or more hours) summer job during their placement.