’60s Scoop survivor opens exhibit in Montreal

A ‘60s Scoop survivor raised in Montreal is showcasing a collection of portraits drawn from photos submitted through Facebook by other survivors across Canada.

“You see I started painting peoples’ faces because I had a dream,” says Trina Slappcoff. “So then I had to draw faces.”

She says the idea came in a dream.

But Slapcoff’s portraits, an all states of completion, are drawn from real life.

“I was always drawing portraits of people, no matter what I did I knew that I didn’t want to let that go,” she says.

Scooped from her family in Manitoba at the age of 18-months, Slapcoff was raised by a white family in Montreal.

To this day she keeps childhood photos in a tattered shoebox; reminders of a life that felt, at times, isolating and rife with challenges.

But through social media, Slapcoff learned she wasn’t alone.

After a social media call-out, hundreds of survivors shared their stories and photos with her for this evolving, mixed media project.

“I received a lot of photographs from Facebook. All of the images are from photographs people have sent me,” she says. “It’s created more of a network of 60’s scoop survivors.”

Even having completed 50 portraits in just under five months, Slapcoff says she receives photos every day.

And has hundreds still to complete.

“I always knew she was talented,” says Trina’s adoptive father Ed Slapcoff.

She says she was raised knowing her First Nations heritage.

“In terms of what happened in the 60s, I think it’s important to show the faces,” he says.

“I think the government, to put it mildly, was certainly unfair.”

The hope, says Trina Slapcoff, is to create a website for the completed images.

She’s already printed a calendar and is collecting testimonials for future use in a book.

With each image and story – comes validation.

“In that way it’s healing, it’s gratifying – it’s been emotionally gratifying,” she says.

“This project is only beginning.”


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