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Annie Wong's collaborative art conjures up the spirit of her ancestors – ThePeterboroughExaminer.com

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It is a time of year when we move from one season to the next, respecting the harvest in anticipation of rebirth next year. It’s a time where we are concerned with souls.

The image above is of an altar, a familiar sight in Chinatown, says Annie Wong, the creator of the work of art, “一百鬼 / 100 Ghosts.” Often contained in those altars is a piece of joss paper, also known as ghost or spirit money, which is burned in prayer as a way of acknowledging ancestors.

“I usually pull from Chinese ancestral worship practices, a long cultural practice of recognizing ancestors through different types of rituals involving home shrines and burning rituals,” she says.

At Open Studio Gallery, Wong took part in a visiting artists residency, working with printmaker Meggan Winsley to create images on joss paper.

Wong sees a parallel between creating her art and printmaking; both require a certain process, a ritual. “The process of print is very rigid and you have to engage with the paper and print in a specific way. If you mess up the ritual you mess up the image.”

Here, the image she and Winsley created becomes part of her own home altar. It leans against a statue of Guan Yin, the Chinese goddess of mercy. The image on the joss paper of the spirit, or ghost, comes from a character in Chinese eschatology in which 100 ghosts, often female, servants to the goddess, are burned.

“The little orange is an offering to that spirit,” says Wong. These simple spiritual practices are embedded in everyday life — they are sacred as much as they are profane, she says.

To bring the art full circle, you can “buy” the print but, Wong says, “you have to sign a contract that you will burn it when I die. You can’t own it forever.”

And so the cycle of life is echoed in the ritual, as it is in the seasons. Birth, death, rebirth. They are a reminder that we are, each of us, occupying our place in the long continuity of life.

The Open Studio Gallery Visiting Artists’ Residency Exhibition begins Oct. 16 and runs until Nov. 14. Go to openstudio.ca for more information and to discover the other artists involved.

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Manitoba celebrates outstanding philanthropist in the arts – CHVN Radio

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Six people from around the province are being recognized for their bold philanthropic efforts.

Michael Nesbitt is being awarded the Outstanding Philanthropist Award by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Manitoba Chapter (AFP).

There will be a virtual ceremony on November 13 to recognize six incredible people and corporations and their contributions to our province. 

Nesbitt owns Montrose Mortgage Corporation, however, it’s his investment in the arts that has him being honoured. 

Although there was not much art culture in Nesbitt’s household in his childhood, his love for it started when he went to Toronto after high school. 

“My first exposure to art was when I graduated from University. My younger sister gave me a cheque and she said ‘think about buying some art, because art matters’.”

After learning more about fine art, Nesbitt went out in Toronto and purchased his first piece. Since then his love for art has grown.

He is being recognized for his investment in the U of M, Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, the Plug In Institute of Contemporary Art, the Graffiti Gallery, Winnipeg Art Gallery and the Manitoba Opera.

Since COVID-19 hit, Nesbitt, like many, has missed being able to go see live performances, including the Opera. 

“I think it’s fair to say music is a big part of my life.”

Nesbitt will be part of the celebration evening in November, put on by AFP.

“Typically in the past, I haven’t been willing to accept these awards and tried to be under the radar. But I think in the last while I’ve come to realize it’s important for others to know what people like myself are doing. I hope other people will take notice and step up and help, not only the arts but other charities,” says Nesbitt.

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Press On Winnipeg sharing hope through art – CHVN Radio

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A local art initiative says they were inspired by a Christian punk band to use art to spread joy.

The image of a flying blue sparrow accompanied by a logo reading “Press On Winnipeg” is catching the attention of both outdoor and art enthusiasts. The anonymous street art project organizers say they hope people find inspiration when they see the bird.

The group says they want to spread positivity and encouragement and have good things from people. They say have heard of people viewing their art for a number of purposes, ranging from using it as an excuse to take a walk to hunt for the birds.

“Art can be a really deep and fascinating way in which we experience something greater than ourselves,” an anonymous representative from the group says. “Others have had spiritual experiences where they have shared that when they have seen our art that they have had experiences with God or Jesus.”

The representative says they want people to have a spiritual connection to art and is glad to see it happening with their work.

They say the name, Press On Winnipeg, comes from Relient K’s “Pressing On.” Relient K is a Christian punk bank from Ohio.

“That is actually what inspired one of us to start this project.”

While they were inspired by the band 10 years ago, their intention since the beginning is simple: to spread happiness.  

The movement is now catching the attention of thousands as the group ramped up their efforts during COVID-19.

Active since beginning to share their work on the Waterfront Bridge a decade ago, the group has only recently joined any form of social media. Their Instagram account was created in the spring after Winnipeg joined the list of cities affected by COVID-19. They currently have over 4,700 followers and say it is a great way to interact with people.

“When we only had 30 followers, one of the 30 followers in all of our group was actually the person that caught us.”

The group tries to stay anonymous and has only been caught putting their art up on a handful of occasions in the past 10 years. They say they try to be respectful regarding where they put their art and use special screws when posting their signs on trees and do not put art on occupied buildings unless requested.

Press On says they have received very little negative feedback.

“The whole idea of it was to share some happiness and hope with Winnipeg.”

The group shares art and the image of the bird both in Winnipeg and now outside the perimeter in unique spots.

Press On hints that the next Winnipeg location to see their work will be “very very high up.”

Now taken down for the winter, Press On shared that their Wall of Hope installation was fulfilling its purpose.

“The idea of it was to create this wall for people to be able to express themselves, to be able to create art that signifies hope for themselves.”

The tall structure acted as a gallery wall for people who wished to showcase their hope and what helps them “press on.”

Now waiting in storage, Press On promises that the wall will return.

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No. 6: Because breathtaking, feel-good art is everywhere – Toronto Life

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No. 6: Because breathtaking, feel-good art is everywhere

Plastering everything from 20-storey buildings to small traffic signal controller cabinets

StreetARToronto was launched by the city in 2011 with two main goals: to reduce vandalism and help support street artists. These days, it provides workshops for local artists and regularly hosts open call-outs for public art, often on themes of diversity and inclusion, to decorate Toronto’s empty walls and alleyways. So far, the initiative has sponsored over 1,000 pieces around the city, which plaster everything from 20-storey buildings to small traffic signal controller cabinets. When Covid-19 hit, the organization asked artists to submit ideas for murals honouring front-line workers. Here are a few that have been completed so far.


Queen West

Emmanuel Jarus, an artist and muralist, has redone this same wall near Graffiti Alley three times over the past six years. He completed his latest reinvention during the pandemic. The idea came to him when he ran into a very tired friend in a parkette, taking a break from work. He thought her mood and stance perfectly reflected the exhaustion and uncertainty of the current moment. “I like to observe things—I call my work ‘painting journalism’—and my murals happen organically,” Jarus says. He snapped a bunch of photos of his impromptu model, created an image on his iPad and selected his colour palette from whatever was available at the discount warehouse down the road. The result is a striking image which Jarus hopes passersby find relatable and honest.


Adelaide and Portland

Alexander Bacon is an internationally recognized artist who’s been painting since he was a teenager in the 1990s. His vibrant, large-scale pieces, featuring portraits and historical references, can be spotted all over Toronto, including Kensington Market and the Entertainment District. The inspiration for this massive mural near Adelaide and Portland came to him when he was submitting ideas for a virtual art festival in Puerto Rico. The flower represents the fragility of life, and the gloved hand represents the strength of our front-line workers. The scene is also supposed to show the sacrifices everyone is making for the most vulnerable in our society. “We basically shut the world down for people who aren’t strong enough to fight this virus,” says Alex. “I think it’s beautiful humanity is willing to do that.”


Bloordale Village

Peru Dyer Jalea’s signature style uses simple geometric shapes, primary colours and clean lines to create puzzle-like patterns with a meditative vibe. This particular mural, which is on the side of Pancho’s Bakery, a Latino-owned business near Jalea’s home, was designed to honour firefighters. “It’s one of the noblest professions I could think of,” he says. “They’re often unrecognized and underpaid for doing one of the city’s most dangerous jobs.” There’s a station nearby, where Jalea had taken his two young children for a tour earlier this year. “My son is obsessed with fire trucks and my daughter’s favourite colour is red, so I was able to make everybody happy,” he says. For the mural, Jalea used geometric shapes spelling out “gracias,” blended with the image of a fire truck to guide the eye down the wall and around the corner to the bakery. He says the community has been thrilled to see the wall, which had been tagged with unsightly graffiti before, turned into a tribute to first responders.

To people fleeing the city for more square footage and less density, we say pffft. Pandemic or not, Toronto is thriving. Let us count the ways

The People’s Pantry started small and grew fast. Now, nearly 600 volunteers devote their culinary skills, bikes, cars and time to help out

Launching a restaurant is risky in the best of times. These fearless folks did it during Covid

They’re the scientists and specialists working on the development and distribution of a vaccine

Donté Colley’s videos are little pearls of joy

They spend their free time printing face shields, making music, and helping Torontonians stay connected

Here’s how Torontonians came together to save Pam’s Roti Shop from closure

The pandemic turned our best wine bars into streetside patios, bottle bodegas and de facto wine clubs

Their success is one of the few happy small-business stories of Covid

If we can’t have nice weather, at least we can hold on to the summery vibes

And Toronto brands have stepped up to meet the demand

This guy makes really cool all-season backyard office pods for the WFH set—himself included

The pandemic meant postponement for thousands of bethrothed Torontonians. These four couples made other plans

Four examples of random kindness in our midst

By the end of this year, Toronto will have 40 kilometres of new bike lanes—the largest single-year expansion in our history

Even a global pandemic couldn’t slow film and TV production for long

Here’s just a sampling of the heavy dose of CanCon on the Billboard charts

Here are just a handful of the hyper-talented founders, CEOs, CTOs and managers who’ve brought their skills to the city

Toronto is about to get the tallest mass timber structure in North America

They’re a beacon of hope, a catalyst for progress and—oh yeah—a really good team

And Bike Share added 300 of them to its fleet

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