As the pandemic continues to devastate countries around the world, natural disasters bear down and Election Day draws nearer, I find myself struggling with opposite impulses: I want to keep up with the news, and I want to escape into pleasure and imagination. Instagram offers both. Some accounts help me process current events, others provide aesthetic wonder, and still others manage the two at once. This list covers all the points on that spectrum. Consider it a creative coping mechanism for staying engaged during a trying time.
Piotr Szyhalski/Labor Camp
Many artists who started projects while on lockdown in March have stopped posting about them on Instagram, but Piotr Szyhalski is still going strong with his “Daily Covid-19 “Labor Camp Reports.” (“Labor Camp” is the framework within which Mr. Szyhalski has made art since 1998.) The series consists of black-and-white drawings that use the style and language of propaganda posters to capture the pain and absurdity of the pandemic, with heavy doses of sarcasm and rage at the federal government’s response. Some are direct, like one with a hand pointed at the viewer that implores “You! (Do Something)”; others are more abstract, like a sparse drawing of silhouetted birds above the words “Limitless Melancholy.” Either way, the works are meticulous but piercing, like a carefully released primal scream.
The work of Patience Zalanga, a freelance photojournalist who often covers the Movement for Black Lives, has a gripping, quiet intensity. She tends to forgo the drama of big action for the intimacy of portraits and smaller moments. For instance, a photo of young men inside a ransacked Office Depot seems to hit pause on the scene, as a hooded figure stops to check his phone; through that mundane gesture, Ms. Zalanga creates a feeling of familiarity, even tenderness. There’s also a welcome honesty to her captions, which include a mix of information about the images, personal comments and thoughts on the ethics of documentary photography. Ms. Zalanga, whose work has been featured in The Guardian, Minnesota Public Radio and Time, among other places, and who got her start in Ferguson, Mo., after the killing of Michael Brown, doesn’t pretend to be an all-knowing, objective observer, but lets her followers in on her process and works in community.
Jamie Lee Curtis Taete
If Ms. Zalanga’s images speak to an experience of being Black in the United States, Jamie Lee Curtis Taete’s showcase a culture of whiteness. The Los Angeles–based photographer has an eye for distinctly American forms of consumerism and, and over the past few months he’s brought it to bear on events like pro-Trump rallies and coronavirus lockdown protests. Many of his pictures carry a tension between the ironic distance of the viewer and the subjects’ earnestness, encapsulated by a proudly carried sign or boldly emblazoned T-shirt. In one of my favorites, a yelling blond woman holds an American flag and a poster reading “Give me liberty or give me death,” while standing outside a Baskin Robbins. The intensity of her crusade of victimhood is palpable. As with so many of Mr. Taete’s photographs, I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry.
Tiffany Jaeyeon Shin
Part of what I love about the artist Tiffany Jaeyeon Shin’s account is that when I come upon her posts, I don’t necessarily know what I’m looking at. Maybe it’s an almost abstract image of bubbles, or maybe a pair of hands holding dirt, but I’m still wondering: Why this dirt? What’s she doing with it? Such murkiness is appropriate, since Ms. Shin is interested in processes we can’t see, like brewing, fermentation and the cultivation of mold, and how they reflect the complexities of society. It’s a delight to come across one of her photographs and be awed by the extent of the natural, and largely invisible, world. Her captions offer limited explanations — the dirt contained hyphae nuggets, which she brought home to feed — but just as quickly generate new questions, like what are hyphae? (The answer: parts of fungi.)
The Flag Art Foundation
What does an exhibition look like when it doesn’t comprise objects in a gallery? The pandemic has prompted a variety of answers to this question, from bland online viewing rooms to printable PDF shows. The Flag Art Foundation’s inventive response has been to post “impossible exhibitions” on Instagram. Each one takes the form of a slide show, with a title, curatorial statement and checklist. What makes them “impossible” is that they can include anything available in image form, even if it no longer exists or is physically inaccessible. Eliminating the logistical aspect of curating has freed up people’s imaginations in intriguing ways. The miniature shows are cross-cultural, richly associative and sometimes deeply evocative. The curator Amy Smith-Stewart’s “In this short Life,” for example, is titled after an Emily Dickinson poem and in just nine slides evokes a spiritual sense of the fleetingness of life.
Art at the Gate festival moving online in effort to give art lovers a show – SaltWire Network
When people can’t go and see artists there is only one recourse to making things right.
You bring art to the people instead.
Enter the 2020 version of the Art at the Gate Festival taking place virtually from the scenic coastline of Twillingate and New World Island.
After a successful first run of the Art at the Gate Festival in 2019, organizers wanted to keep things going in 2020.
That was before a global pandemic and the subsequent restrictions snuffed out any semblance of a normal festival season.
Still, organizers were keen.
“We wanted to keep the name alive,” said festival chairperson Kathy Murphy-Peddle. “We wondered if we could come up with something creative.”
This year’s Art at the Gate festival is vastly different than its first edition.
With the inability to gather in person and appreciate the work being done by artists in the province, the festival turned online.
Work started in August to put something together for this fall.
As such, the Art at the Gate Festival is giving supporters the chance to paint along — or just watch — two of the province’s finest Plein air (outdoor) painters do what they do best.
In September, well-known landscape artists Jean Claude Roy and Clifford George visited Twillingate and completed an outdoor session in the region.
That session was recorded for the Art at the Gate Festival. Both of those sessions will be launched in the next week as the festival kicks into gear.
Each will be free for anyone who registers at the festival’s website. After you register, you will be emailed a YouTube link to each session that you can access on and after the launch day.
Roy’s session will air virtually on Oct. 25 at 1 p.m. Newfoundland time, while the session featuring George is scheduled to go online on Nov. 1 at the same time.
At time of writing, the Art at the Gate festival had more than 300 people registered, some of them will be viewing the sessions internationally.
“The interest is amazing,” said Murphy-Peddle.
George’s session landed him in Jenkin’s Cove portion of the region. He said there was strong wind as he got about to painting and shooting.
“If there is a plus (to the pandemic) is that it forced us to think outside the box. We’ve probably reached a bigger audience.”
“It was excellent,” he said of the session. “It was a wonderful place for scenery.”
When George was asked to be a part of the event, he was quick to say yes and lend his style.
The idea is for the viewer to be completely immersed in the painting as it unfolds in front of them.
Murphy-Peddle said how people choose to enjoy the experience is completely up to them.
They are encouraging people to settle into their studios or their homes and paint along. There will be reference photos posted on the festival’s website to help with that process.
Those who do paint along are being encouraged to send in photos of their completed works.
For those who might not be artistically inclined, they’re being encouraged to sit back and enjoy watching the paintings slowly come into focus.
“If there is a plus (to the pandemic) is that it forced us to think outside the box,” said Murphy-Peddle. “We’ve probably reached a bigger audience.”
Nicholas Mercer is a local journalism initiative reporter for central Newfoundland for SaltWire Network.
New Downtown Public Art to Support #MississaugaMade – City of Mississauga – City of Mississauga
Those travelling through Mississauga will notice new public art in the form of light pole banners stretched throughout the City’s downtown core. This temporary installation by Mississauga-born artist and illustrator, Pranavi Suthagar, celebrates Mississauga’s diversity and cultural identity.
Much of 2020 has been spent reacting and adapting to a new reality brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The new street banner public art also helps to promote local businesses, products, artists and activities through the City of Mississauga’s #MississaugaMade online initiative developed by Tourism Mississauga.
“Being born and raised in Mississauga, I am grateful to be a part of this campaign,” said artist Pranavi Suthagar, who was commissioned by the City’s Public Art Program to create new artwork for the Mississauga Made campaign. “I remember seeing all colourful banners decorating the city growing up and I always wondered who created them. To be selected for this campaign, and given the opportunity to share my perspective on how I view the city is a full circle experience.”
“Tourism Mississauga is very proud to be a part of this year’s street banner campaign, in collaboration with the City’s Public Art Program. Not only are the banners a great way to show our support within the community, but they also offer us an opportunity to celebrate and showcase the work of a local artist”, said Tej Kainth, Manager of Tourism Mississauga. “Mississauga Made is a campaign that supports all our local businesses and the arts, and we encourage residents and visitors alike to join the movement and support our local talents, and all Mississauga has to offer.”
The street art was installed on Friday, Oct. 16 and will remain on the following streets until mid-January 2021:
- Living Arts Drive
- Duke of York Boulevard
- Prince of Wales Drive
- Princess Royal Drive
“Mississauga Made is a great local initiative that supports our small business community. During these difficult times, more than ever, we need to stand together and support our entrepreneurs and our local businesses”, said Bonnie Brown, Director of Economic Development Office. “During the month of October, the City has been celebrating Small Business Month, and the Mississauga Business Enterprise Centre continues to offer free webinars and events to celebrate entrepreneurship and help people start and grow their business.”
The next time you visit Mississauga’s downtown, take a closer look at this important artwork and reflect on your own connection to Mississauga.
T 905-615-3200 ext.3253
How travel restrictions are impacting art – The Globe and Mail
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