Jenel Shaw: Airborne Art Project

  • Image of airborne art project


    As an artist with disabilities, I often use my experiences with mental illness in my artwork to further the discussion of mental illness and disability. For this piece, I was given two old antennas from an airplane. After disassembling the pieces to their components, the tall stands made me think of book ends. I was also inspired to create a work of art in honour of my friend Dusty who sadly lost his life to mental illness recently.

    Often, those with mental illness feel uncomfortable talking about their experiences because of the stigma of mental illness in our society. For myself, I often have a challenging time asking for help when I need it because of this stigma. This idea is represented with the faces having no mouths. The cracks and imperfections in the faces also speak to me of the struggle of mental illness and how these internal feeling often manifest in physical ways, such as fatigue or pain.

    I hope that this piece will further the discussion of mental illness and help to break the silence that surrounds mental illness. A special thanks to Joey Boisvert with his help on putting all the pieces together.

    Airborne Art 2017

    Back in 2014, our storage areas were bursting at the seams with surplus airplane parts. We asked the art community to bring new life to some unique pieces of “canvas.” A piece of scrap metal, loop antennas, pieces of exhaust—the vintage aircraft parts became one-of-a-kind art.

    The finished pieces were donated back to the Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada for charitable fundraising.

    Our first Airborne Art Project was so successful we invited artists to collaborate with us again. We’re very excited that the pieces are now starting to be unveiled and returned to us here at the museum.

    This is our third year of the program and we couldn’t be more excited. The level of participation and quality of the art is amazing and gives the museum a unique fundraising opportunity that no other organization has.

    The art is displayed in the museum and auctioned at our Out of the Blue Gala on Saturday, October 21, 2017.

    For more information, or if you are an artist and would like to participate next year, please contact:

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