MARILYN GAA // Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
The project that explores artists’ reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted me to examine my personal response to these times.
My main creative outlet in recent years has been the Edmonton Raging Grannies. Edmonton Raging Grannies is more than 25 years old, with a few founding members and many interesting women from many professional backgrounds: teachers, librarians, a minister, and more. We communicate with the public in many ways, but our main practice is singing songs with original words that “speak truth to power” about the provincial, national and international issues.
We are partners with numerous groups that work for positive change in our society: Friends of Medicare, Public Interest Alberta, Occupy Edmonton, Greenpeace, Idle No More and many others. We have earned respect as dedicated activists who offer a lighthearted musical message that supports the specific issue of the day. Our role as allies to these groups is valued. We can work behind the scenes to make the event more effective and we sometimes coach novice organizers to get a better result.
The restrictions of social distancing and masking have presented creative challenges to those that feel issues require a public event. Raging Grannies have performed and demonstrated wearing our usual attire, flouncy hats and skirts, shawls and decorated with many political buttons. Our new accessory is a bandana mask with the Granny logo to identify us as a group. The concept is “contagious.” Two other Granny gaggles, in Calgary and Victoria, have placed orders for our masks. Other activist groups have also expressed interest in ordering masks to identify them.