Readings and Presentations

Kelly Ellard, exclusive, CHEKTV

The Reena Virk Trials
Heather's approach is that of artist rather than journalist, and has worked in depth through many trials and events involving children as victims and/or perpetrators. She believes that close attention to the visible can help toward understanding, and that the gestures and expressions of people in crisis reveal more than words.

The murder of 14 year old Reena Virk by schoolmates, in Victoria, has aroused deep concern in about violence among children in our society. Thoughout the trials Heather Spears has recorded these children and their stories in an attempt to understand what happened and why it happened.

The Presentation
An hour's presentation and discussion, illustrated with slides, was held 5 times in Canada in 2000. This presentation is suitable for schools and community events. Please contact Heather Spears for details.

"Drawings and sparse commentary have power transcending almost any other kind of communication." Dr. Jonathan Fine, Executive Director, Physicians for Human Rights, USA.

The Book
The book, Required Reading: a witness in words and drawings to the Reena Virk Trials, 1998-2000, Wolsak and Wynn, was published in December, 2000.

"A story that should be told... text and images working together to powerful effect."

Barbara Carey, The Toronto Star

The Exhibition
An exhibition of 54 drawings, with a catalog of the texts, was shown at The Community Arts Council Gallery, Victoria, June 29-July 12, 2000.

"You are a great witness to record without judging--and the sentiments come through. This exhibit is history. It should be archived properly and made into a book. It should be purchased intact and outright by the Canada Council Art Bank or better yet by the Reena Virk Foundation (against violence by youth to youth--yet to be established) ... we mustn't forget her or your document of the trials."
Paul Scrivener, Custodial Chair, Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria.

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