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PAWS: Protest, Activism, Whimsy and Self Care in Animal Crossing Kayelynn Kennedy, Adelle Lin, and Hailey Kanoe Schurz Curated by Ciel Noel Designed by Battleax Bunny

School of Art Gallery virtual exhibition: PAWS: Protest, Activism, Whimsy and Self Care in Animal Crossing

February 22, 2021 — 

About the exhibition

During a chaotic and unpredictable time, many people have turned to the Nintendo Game Animal Crossing: New Horizons as a haven. Through decorating, forming relationships with animal residents, and custom designing outfits, Animal Crossing islands have been used to gather, share, inspire, and restore. They are refuges during a deadly pandemic, but they have also become the battlegrounds for activists who have put their lives on the line. Surprising many, this charming game has become the catalyst for government censorship, charity drives, political campaigning, and growing quiet warnings to keep politics “out of the game”.

From Hong Kong to Black Lives Matter to razor blades and mayonnaise, the creative and complex Animal Crossing: New Horizon community grapples with questions every person who has fought for a cause has to ask themselves: when do I choose activism and when do I choose self-care?

Driven by the tension between safety and courage, PAWS looks at how a slow, sweet game of social relationships, crafting, and exploration became the stage for global tensions and tensions of the heart.


Virtual Programming:

PAWS Artists in Conversation

Friday, March 5, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. CT

Facilitated on Zoom and live-streaming on the School of Art Gallery, University of Manitoba YouTube channel

PAWS artists will  speak to their experiences in activism and self-care as they relate to Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons and the community that has sprung up around this popular game. Moderated by curator, Ciel Noel. Panel will be ASL interpreted, recorded, and uploaded to YouTube.



PAWS Curatorial Tour and Pattern Jam Workshop

Saturday, March 13, 2:00-4:00 pm CT

Facilitated on Zoom

Join us for a curatorial talk and tour with PAWS curator Ciel Noel followed by an afternoon of learning how to make custom prints. Noel will discuss the visuals and process of curating an exhibition in Nintendo’s Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Attendees will then be guided through the steps of making custom patterns so they can customize their island with their own art

The curatorial tour will be ASL interpreted, recorded, and uploaded to YouTube.


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