Indigenous girls' group using augmented reality to raise awareness through art
CALGARY -- A group of girls from the Urban Society for Aboriginal Youth (USAY) are hoping their augmented reality murals will help drive home their message.
USAY is a non-profit organization in Calgary that provides programming and services to Indigenous youth aged 12-29.
"The murals were an idea from a group of girls that we had in our other projects," said USAY executive director LeeAnne Ireland. "We have an after-school program called the Indigenous Inclusion Project, and some of the girls were expressing this desire to have their own separate group."
The girls have been working on three murals, each with a different theme surrounding issues that are important to them — gender-based violence, workplace participation and civic engagement.
"I think it’s really hopeful and empowering to see our youth talk about these issues in the most positive way they can," said Michelle Robinson, who’s been working alongside the group as a consultant.
Together with MAMMOTH XR, a Calgary-based production studio, USAY designed the AR targets that appear to come alive on the murals with the help of the USAY AR app.
"For example, the gender-based violence mural is a series of three ribbon skirts," explained Ireland, "and when you scan over those ribbon skirts with [the app], you’ll be able to hear an honour song and images will appear."
Once the murals are completed in March, Ireland said they’ll be gifted to and displayed at Forest Lawn High School, Inn from the Cold, and the Calgary Police Service Westwinds Campus.
"I think it’s important to know that women are the most vulnerable group of people in the Indigenous community," said Ireland. "So I think that getting our girls and young women involved in projects shows them that they’re not just vulnerable, and that they’re valuable."