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Contest open to young artists; art grads needed more than ever – SooToday



Art students in Grades 6, 7 and 8 are invited to submit samples of their work to be included in a separate exhibition and contest within the annual St. Mary’s College art show to be held at the Second Line East high school beginning at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 14.

Students have until 3 p.m. Thursday, June 9 to submit their drawings, painting or digital art work with their identification and contact information in person at SMC’s main office.

While the SMC art show is an annual event – featuring work by artists from Grades 9 to 12 and including not only visual art but also musical and dance performances in one night – this year marks the first show and contest for students in Grades 6 to 8.

The contest is the brainchild of Adriano DiCerbo, SMC art teacher and Samantha Lance, an SMC graduate now pursuing a career as an art show curator in Toronto.

“Adriano approached me with this idea. He wanted to get the ball rolling on this and try to attract kids’ attention to this. We came up with the title Spring Back To Life, to get students to think about what inspires you about this new season?” Lance said.

That includes:

  • What images of spring best represent your personal connection to this season?
  • What moments of spring do you cherish?
  • Are there certain aspects of spring (flowers, plants, landscapes, animals) that hold a special place in your heart?

The contest poster has been designed and will be sent out soon to parents and teachers across the H-SCDSB system.

DiCerbo hopes word will get out to art students in Grades 6 to 8 students in other school boards.

Students and parents can contact DiCerbo by email

Lance will judge the Grades 6 to 8 art show.

“I first got immersed in visual arts in Grade 10 with Mr. DiCerbo’s class and then I started helping with the arts festivals from Grade 10 to 12 and I realized, while curating the work, that art is what I wanted to do as a career,” Lance said.

Lance graduated from SMC in 2017 and went on to study art for four years at Toronto’s Ontario College of Art & Design – OCAD University. 

There she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts, specializing in Criticism and Curatorial Practice, learning how to organize art shows at galleries, museums, art shows and festivals. 

She plans to attend the University of Toronto in September to begin a Master of Curatorial Studies program.

At OCAD, she was inspired by the work of many artists including Vincent Van Gogh, American photographer Nicolas Bruno and Christian painter Akiane Kramarik.

“After I graduated from high school I came back to help curate the arts festival at SMC. Every year it was nice to see the work and the talent students brought to the table,” Lance said.

“I appreciate art history and love looking at the different types of media people bring into their art. When I go for my Masters in Toronto I want to support local, national and international artists by showcasing their art,” Lance said, adding she’ll always enjoy keeping in touch with the Sault arts scene.

Admission to the June 14 SMC art show is free for kids, $10 for adults.

Proceeds from admission go to Tumaini Afrika, a Sault Ste. Marie-based, non-registered group of volunteers dedicated to working with children and women in Kenya in such spheres as education and nutrition.

“After COVID, everybody needs this art show,” Lance said.

Both Lance and her high school art mentor DiCerbo spoke of the importance of art and art education for kids despite the heavy emphasis on science, technology, engineering and math in schools.

“Art speaks when words can’t,” Lance said.

“Art gives anyone – students, young and old – to speak about their background, their culture and their response to everything that’s happening in the world in their own way, it gives them that freedom to do that. That’s so critical, to express yourself, and to have that confidence.”

As for exposing younger students to art at an early age, Lance smiled “if we nurture this at the beginning in younger students we could be fostering the next Monet or Van Gogh.”

“I believe in having a well-rounded education. Yes, science and math, but the arts as well,” DiCerbo said.

“That enables students to have creative skills, critical thinking skills and they need those opportunities to be self expressive. It’s an incredibly valuable skill for the 21st Century, more than we realize. It helps us to connect with nature and each other. An arts festival is a celebration of when we come together and celebrate creativity.”

“There are jobs out there for creative people,” DiCerbo said.

“They’re just not as visible as the teacher, the doctor, the dentist. There are so many creative people behind the scenes working in traditional and digital media, architectural studies, the business world needs creative thinkers. They’re needed.”

“Imagine Paris without the Eiffel Tower. What if the Mona Lisa vanished? It’s priceless. These are iconic pieces of art that help define who we are. The Group of Seven helps define who we are. Filmmakers, musicians give us a sense of identity and belonging. How can we possibly take that out of our world? We need more of that particularly during these times more than ever before,” DiCerbo said.

“Hopefully we get a lot of submissions,” Lance said.

“We’re not expecting students to donate a huge painting or drawing, but it’ll be exciting to see what comes in.”

Lance said she hopes it will be an encouragement for kids to start building a portfolio and consider a career in art.

It’s late in the school year but kids can submit work they’ve done earlier in the current school year.

Prizes of $100, $75 and $50 will be awarded to first, second and third place winners in the Grade 6-8 show and competition.

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'Deaf Shame to Deaf Same': Art exhibit aims to destigmatize hearing loss – CTV News Regina



A new art exhibit at the George Bothwell Library is hoping to examine and remove the feeling of shame associated with people who are deaf and hard of hearing.

Students in Winston Knoll’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing (DHH) program helped create the art installation “Deaf Shame to Deaf Same.”

Different dioramas illustrate the students’ collective experiences with isolation, bullying, humiliation and challenges with communication and acceptance due to their hearing loss.

The stories for the installation are based on personal narratives from the students.

The exhibit was made up of different dioramas representing the DHH students experiences within school. (Allison Bamford/CTV News Regina)

“I’ve often felt a lot of shame because in my past it was quite traumatic, going to school and even at home,” said Grade 11 student Amna Warda Wahid.

“A lot of people would bully me because I was deaf.”

Warda Wahid said she used to identify as a hearing person before she entered the DHH program.

Her experience is quite common among DHH students, according to Michelle Grodecki, certified teacher for the deaf.

“Many times students say, ‘I can’t do it, I’m stupid,’” Grodecki said.

“But it’s not that they’re stupid, they just don’t have the access.”

Six students from Winston Knoll’s DHH program helped create the dioramas at the centre of the exhibit. (Allison Bamford/CTV News Regina)

Yamama Alrweilei, a Grade 11 student in the DHH program, struggled in “mainstream classrooms” without an interpreter.

“I didn’t understand a lot of what the teacher was saying, people talk very fast and I was missing a lot,” Alrweilei said.

Through the DHH program supports and interpreter, she said she can now understand the lessons.

Grodecki said hearing loss needs to be normalized in society and in the classroom. If that happens, she said, bilingual education and supports of all modalities will be widely accepted.

For now, she said the goal of the art exhibit has been achieved, and her students have accepted themselves and their identity.

“For each of our students to stand in front of an audience and proudly say, ‘I am hard of hearing. I am deaf. I wear my hearing aids. I have my confidence back,’ I would confidently say we’ve achieved our goal,” Grodecki said.

The exhibit is a collaboration between the DHH program, SKArts and Deaf Crows Collective.

From Deaf Shame to Deaf Same will be on display in the Creation Cube at the George Bothwell Library until June 25.

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Art was a battlefield for Italian painter Artemisia Gentileschi, a feminist before the word was invented –



Sexual assault. The battle for control over a woman’s body. The silencing of women’s voices. Italian artist Artemisia Gentileschi lived it all in the 1600s, resisted and ultimately won.

Gentileschi carved a name for herself as the daring painter of biblical and Roman heroines — Judith, Esther, Susanna, Lucretia. Her bold history paintings upended traditional depictions of women by male artists and delivered instead complex female figures: gutsy, intelligent and strong.

“I will show your illustrious Lordship what a woman can do,” she wrote in a note to her patron in 1649.

Gentileschi achieved extraordinary success in her own time. In the centuries that followed her death, however, the artist’s standing faded. Art books referred to her in passing as the daughter of her artist father, Orazio Gentileschi. 

Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith and her Maidservant, 1625–7, oil on canvas. (Detroit Institute of Arts, USA)

That changed in 1971 with the publication of an article titled, Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists? Five years later, several of her paintings were included in a groundbreaking exhibition about women artists that opened in Los Angeles and Brooklyn.

Since then, Gentileschi has been the subject of exhibitions, books, movies and plays. She is now often known by her first name, Artemisia, like superstar male artists Michelangelo, Caravaggio, Picasso and Basquiat.

But the drama of her biography has often eclipsed her sensational and subversive paintings. At age 17, she was raped by a fellow artist and had to endure a humilating trial, during which she underwent torture to prove the veracity of her statement. The 400-year-old court transcripts are today held in the State Archives in Rome. 

Curators and art historians are now working to refocus attention where it belongs: with her paintings.

A new vision of Susana

Artemisia painted Susanna and The Elders in 1610. Based on the apocryphal Old Testament story of Susanna, the painting shows a young woman, nude, seated by a bath. Two much older, fully-clothed, leering men hover over her threateningly. Fingers to their lips, they try in vain to silence her. Susanna bravely resists their demands for sexual favours.

This was Artemisia’s first known work. She was 17 years old.

“It’s astonishing for its maturity, both in its storytelling, but also just in the sheer skill, in the way it’s painted,” said Letizia Treves, curator of Later Italian Paintings at the National Gallery in London, England. 

The story of Susanna and the Elders had been painted many times before, but Artemisia’s was the first by a woman’s hand. And it was a revolutionary first.

Artemisia Gentileschi, Susanna and the Elders, signed and dated 1610, oil on canvas. (Collection Graf von Schönborn, Pommersfelden, Germany)

“Her male contemporaries saw this as an excuse to paint quite an erotic subject — a half naked woman, a titillating subject,” said Treves. “What Artemisia focuses on is that very strong, I would say violent physical rejection of the elders. This is the first picture in my mind where Susanna is very clearly saying, ‘no.'” 

The work is also a rare example of a female artist painting the female nude, said art historian Sheila Barker. As a woman, Artemisia understood the intimate details of the female body.

The painting’s greatest strengths live in its contrasts, she said.

“The contrasts between her beautiful, smooth, shining, clean flesh — it’s tender, it’s plump, it’s feminine, it’s round, it looks motherly, it looks warm, it looks inviting — and the harshness of that stone wall behind her and the red cloth, red blood-red, danger-red of one of the elders who was leaning over it.” 

It was just a few months after she painted Susanna that Artemisia was raped by fellow painter, Agostino Tassi. “In the months leading up to that point,” precisely when she would have been painting Susanna, said Treves, “Artemisia was likely being harassed by Tassi.”

‘A gauntlet thrown down to the world’

Artemisia included some of her own features in her depiction of Susanna. 

This was a radical gesture for a female artist who would have known that this painting, with her likened nude image, would hang in a collector’s home, “always with her name prominently displayed on it,” said Barker. “[It] was an act of incredible courage and self-confidence and a gauntlet thrown down to the world.”

Artemisia’s most famous painting, the one that catapulted her to fame, is Judith Beheading Holofernes. The blood splattered image is based on the biblical tale of the Israelite widow Judith who, with the help of her servant, murders the Assyrian general in order to save her people. Artemisia painted the moment of the beheading, when Judith thrusts a large sword into Holofernes’ neck. 

Artemisia Gentileschi, Judith Slaying Holofernes, c. 1618–20, oil on canvas. (Gallerie degli Uffizi, Florence )

Male artists — most famously Caravaggio — had previously painted this well-known story. But Artemisia delivered a Judith unlike any other. “She spares us none of the horror and the violence,” said Treves. “There’s a truthfulness here. She imagines how hard it would be for a woman to actually cut off the head of a man as strong as Holofernes, and you can sense the sheer strength of brute force needed to carry out this really gory task.”

Barker added that only Artemisia “succeeded in painting Judith as a figure worthy of having changed the course of history with a single stroke of a sword.” 

“This painting shows us the courage of women, the fearlessness of women. And that includes the ability to do violence,” she said. 

The iconic work is often described as Artemisia’s revenge in paint against her rapist. 

“For me, that’s rather diminutive,” said Treves, “I think there’s a danger there to diminish the achievements and the extraordinary originality of these pictures by just reading them in that vein.” 

Artemisia Gentileschi, Jael and Sisera, signed and dated 1620, oil on canvas. (Szépmüvészeti Múzeum, Budapest)

A feminist before the term was invented

With her paintbrush, as in her life, Artemisia fought gender inequality and helped to reimagine womanhood and what it meant to be a female artist.

“She was fighting for all the things that we’re fighting for today,” said Treves, “and she was a feminist in the truest sense of the word before the term feminism had even been invented.”

Mary Garrard, an art historian and author of Artemisia Gentileschi and Feminism in Early Modern Europe, said “feminism was a vital force before it was given a name.”

Artemisia Gentileschi, Self-Portrait as Saint Catherine of Alexandria, c. 1635–7, oil on canvas (The National Gallery, London)

Gender debates figured prominently at the time, particularly among writers. “Artemisia dealt with the same issues — sexual violence, political power, the myth of female inferiority, and the cultural silencing of women’s voices and achievements.”

“This art was her battlefield,” said Barker. “And the victory she won with this art was a victory that all women have benefited from. Artemisia made it possible for women in the future to imagine that it might be possible to remake the world as it needed to be for them to succeed.” 

Guests in this episode:

Sheila Barker is an art historian and director of the Jane Fortune Research Program on Women Artists at the Medici Archive Project. She is the author most recently of Artemisia Gentileschi (Getty Publications, 2022).

Alessandra Masu is co-founder of the Associazione culturale Artemisia Gentileschi in Rome and director of The Artemisie Museum, the first virtual museum and database dedicated to women in the arts. 

Letizia Treves is the Sassoon curator of Later Italian Paintings at the National Gallery in London, England. In 2020-2021, she curated the retrospective, Artemisia, at The National Gallery, London — the first exhibition dedicated to the painter ever to be held in Britain. 

Artemisia Gentileschi and Feminism in Early Modern Europe by Mary D. Garrard (University of Chicago Press, 2020).

*Written and produced by Alisa Siegel.

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