Workshop: Drawn to Fire: Charcoal Rubbings and Sowing Seeds

Free admission, reservations required
Date and time
Sunday, May 2, 2021 from 2 PM to 4 PM

Drawn to Fire: Charcoal Rubbings and Sowing Seeds is an online art workshop created and hosted by artist Alana Bartol and artist, botanist, educator Latifa Pelletier-Ahmed—both based in Mohkinstsis (Calgary)—in collaboration with the PHI Foundation’s education team. The live event will take place on Sunday, May 2, from 2 PM to 4 PM EST and is offered in conjunction with the exhibition Lee Bae: UNION, which runs from February 24 to June 20, 2021 at the PHI Foundation.

This online art workshop draws upon Alana’s explorations of former coal mining operations in the Crowsnest Pass, from which she creates artworks that respond to the past, present, and future of coal mining in the region. Workshop participants will be introduced to several artworks in Alana’s current exhibition, Processes of Remediation: art, relationships, nature at University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, which are centred around the site of the proposed Grassy Mountain Coal Project in the Crowsnest Pass, Alberta. As a way to further explore a connection to Grassy Mountain, Alana is collaborating with Latifa to prepare seed packets of plants that grow, or have been known to grow, on Grassy Mountain for participants to plant and take care of.

Art Workshop
The guided art workshop Drawn to Fire: Charcoal Rubbings and Sowing Seeds will last 2 hours and will unfold in two parts. During the first part, participants will be offered the opportunity to learn about Alana's artworks responding to the Grassy Mountain Coal Project. They will then reveal one of Alana’s ‘invisible’ milk drawings, that represents the westslope cutthroat trout, through charcoal rubbing. Critical habitat for the westslope cutthroat trout sits within the proposed Grassy Mountain Coal Project footprint. These fish are just one of the many species at risk threatened by open-pit coal mining in Alberta. Participants will then be encouraged to create a milk drawing of something disappearing from the environment.

During the second part of the workshop, Latifa will present the Seeds for Grassy Mountain project. She will discuss some of the plants in the project (fireweed, yarrow, lupine, paintbrush, tufted hairgrass) and the importance of native plants. Participants will be provided with native seeds and will be introduced to methods of seed preparation such as cold moist stratification and seed scarification. At the end of the workshop, participants will reveal their milk drawings with charcoal and share what they drew and why.

Sunday, May 2, 2021
2 PM to 4 PM EST
Free admission
Reservations required: [email protected]
Before reserving, please see the list of materials provided and required. Materials provided must be picked up at the PHI Foundation. If this is not possible, please advise us. We will evaluate on a case-by-case basis and contact you.

Capacity: 60 participants

*Update April 21, 2021: This event is fully booked.*

The workshop will be offered in English. A French live translation will be provided through Zoom.


Alana Bartol
Alana Bartol comes from a long line of water witches. Through her work, she creates relationships between the personal sphere and the landscape, particular to this time of ecological crisis. A multidisciplinary artist with a B.F.A. from the University of Windsor and an M.F.A. from Detroit’s Wayne State University, her work has been presented in festivals and galleries nationally and internationally including Berlin Feminist Film Festival, Istanbul Experimental Film Festival, SIMULTAN festival (Romania), Museo de la Ciudad (Mexico), Groupe Intervention Vidéo (Montréal), Karsh-Masson Gallery (Ottawa), University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, Walter Phillips Gallery (Banff), Plug In ICA (Winnipeg), Art Gallery of Windsor, Latitude 53 (Edmonton), Access Gallery (Vancouver), and InterAccess (Tkaronto/Toronto). Of Scottish, German, English, French, Irish, and Danish ancestry, Bartol is a settler Canadian currently living in Treaty 7 territory in Mohkínstsis (Calgary), Alberta where she teaches at Alberta University of the Arts.

Latifa Pelletier-Ahmed
Latifa Pelletier-Ahmed is a botanist, herbalist, educator, researcher, and artist. Latifa’s work centres around building connections between plants and people, with the goal of establishing relationships that challenge processes of exploitive extraction and seek a more sustainable and just future. Latifa’s most recent art practice includes a collaboration with Alana Bartol for the piece Seeds for Grassy Mountain and  “…if we ignore them they will disappear…” excerpt from Robin Wall Kimmerer curated as part of a group exhibition with u’s gallery.

Latifa lives and works in Mohkínstsis (Calgary), Alberta, Treaty 7 Territory where her efforts centre on recognizing the ongoing destruction of at-risk habitats including native prairie and grassland. Latifa operates a consulting service, Latifa’s Herbs, which offers health consultations as well as educational services related to plants including identification, processing, harvesting, edible and medicinal usage, and cultivating. She is also the co-owner of ALCLA Native Plants, a native plant nursery that was founded in 1992. She is a former faculty member at Pacific Rim College in Victoria, BC. Latifa is formally qualified with an MSc in Herbal Medicine from Middlesex University, London, UK and a BSc in Botany from the University of Calgary. /

Alana Bartol, Westslope Cutthroat Trout (a canary in the coalmine), 2020-ongoing. Milk and charcoal on paper. Photo:

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