CPS Chief Works with Local Artist to Unveil “One Circle”

Published on December 22, 2022

Cornwall, ON – On December 20th, 2022, the Cornwall Police Service (CPS) hosted an unveiling event, featuring a new piece of art to be displayed inside of police headquarters. The piece, titled “One Circle,” was created by local artist, Yafa Goawily, after a unique connection was made between Chief of Police Shawna Spowart and herself.

Chief of Police Shawna Spowart had been searching for a unique piece of art to purchase as a gift to the Service and all future Chiefs of Police for display in her office. She was seeking a piece that would be a continuous reminder of the importance of prioritizing equity, diversity and inclusivity, with a purpose to also incite reflection.

Former Cornwall Police Services Board Police Chair, Elaine MacDonald, had suggested that Chief Spowart attend a local Art Show at the Cornwall Square, where the Chief was immediately connected to three pieces – all created by the same artist, Yafa Goawily.

From there, Chief Spowart and Ms. Goawily began discussions, where the Chief learned about Yafa’s experiences, having been born and raised in Egypt. Yafa shared her perception and fear of police as a result of her own lived experiences and how as a newcomer to Cornwall, she continued to carry a fear and mistrust of police. Their conversations continued to several months, with Chief Spowart hopeful that she could help bring Yafa to a place where she felt safe and could trust in police. Through their journey, Yafa developed “One Circle,” which was revealed to various diverse community representatives, members of the public, and staff of the CPS on the morning of December 20th, 2022.

“The artwork is a coherent and intertwined mixture of diverse fabrics and components, constructed around the circle element that emerges the diverse Canadian culture and natural features, Indigenous and Newcomers,” said Yafa while describing the piece of art. “While the pulsating core is the maple leaf that transfuses its green power all over the future, the background mass consists of the land, the soil and nature all detailed in a collage that reflects furthermore the various need to create a distinguished live layer that lies beneath our land, our home. We are all connected - we are the circle.”

During the unveiling, Yafa acknowledged how welcoming her interactions with members of the CPS has been and how much of her distrust with police have since been alleviated.

“The art work will serve as an important reminder of our changing community and the need to prioritize equity, diversity and inclusivity,” said Chief Spowart. “As police, we need to remember that everyone’s journey is different and we need to be conscious of that during our interactions with the public in order to help build greater trust and stronger connections.  Ms. Goawily has done an incredible job illustrating my vision of how our community as a whole must be connected and treated equally.”

The artwork, purchased by Chief Spowart with her own funds, will be displayed in the Office of the Chief of Police now and for future Chiefs to ensure the conversations surrounding equity, diversity and inclusivity, as well as efforts to change and do better are always continuing to take place.

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