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Art and Status in Society

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Catalogue Number:  010093
Producer:  Mimi Shulman
Producing Agencies:  Mimi Shulman
Subject:  Arts, Biography, Canadian Social Issues, Documentary, Family Studies/Home Economics, Gender Studies, Guidance, Health, People With Disabilities, Psychology, Social Issues, Social Sciences, Sociology, Women's Studies
Language:  English
Grade Level:  9 - 12, Post Secondary, Adult
Country Of Origin:  Canada
Copyright Year:  2019
Running Time:  20:38

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Mimi Shulman is a visual artist in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, who is hearing impaired. She has worked as a successful and independent artist for close to fifty years after earning an Associate degree from the Ontario College of Art in 1976. During her later years in life, she has gone on to achieve two university degrees, an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Master’s in Environmental Studies. 

Mimi describes the details of the visual art work she created as her graduate thesis – a multi-tiered pyramid of miniatures in dioramas representing classist hierarchies and exploring how people in different social strata view and value works of art. The richest often accumulate art to gain social capital. Wealthy companies and religious organizations sometimes exploit resources and human bodies resulting in environmental destruction and pain. 

One realization that Mimi came to during her journey of creation is that much of her work to date had been created in boxes (dioramas): that was how, as a hearing-impaired person, she has felt for much of her life - isolated or boxed-in. Creation of her latest work, however, has helped her to address trauma, and as such, she has begun to come out of that box of isolation, both artistically and on a personal level. This freedom can be witnessed when viewing an exterior side of the pyramid where Mimi is depicted as a young girl, swinging happily on a vibrantly healthy tree. 

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