DTES Small Arts Grants 10th Anniversary Website

Ally Giesbrecht

Digital Artist

2021 winner of a DTES Small Arts Grant

Ally is a settler of Hong Konger descent residing in the DTES. She traverses activist, faith-based, academic, and clinical spaces. The source of her passions is rooted in pursuit of the Jesus-way towards “shalom”: true peace and flourishing for all creation. Shalom means rejecting the negative and superficial “peace” of the status quo. This is reflected in the series: “If I were a white girl”: a collaboration with Jamie Smallboy, a Cree activist for MMIWG founder of the Sweetgrass Sisters Healing Society. Ally provided visuals to Jamie’s powerful poem written from the perspective of a missing and murdered Indigenous woman.

The “If I were a white girl” series was originally intended to be a private gift to Jamie Smallboy. This was intended to be a form of embodied repentance from Ally’s identities both as a Christian: recognizing the harms done on behalf of the church, and as a second generation immigrant: acknowledging the indifference shown towards Indigenous peoples by many newcomers. Jamie, however, has generously encouraged for this artwork to be shared for the benefit of all to learn more about MMIWG. The artists hope that it ignites a fire inside each person to fight for justice for all MMIWG across Turtle Island.

How has receiving a DTES Small Arts Grant supported your development as an artist?

Receiving the DTES Small Arts Grant helped me feel more comfortable and confident using the label of an artist to describe myself.

How has DTES Small Arts Grants helped DTES artists?

Through the grant, we were able to connect with other DTES artists and hear about local opportunities to share and exhibit our work.

How has DTES Small Arts Grants impacted the community?

It was wonderful to see the artwork of other fellow artists and the things that really drive us to create and speak to the issues we are encountering.

Follow Ally