Twelve of the Campbell River area’s best artists will compete across three fast-paced rounds for audience votes when Art Battle returns to Campbell River on Saturday, Feb. 29.
Held at Campbell River Toyota (2785 N. Island Highway), the audience will circle the competitors in each round, and choose their favorite. After the final round, only one champion will remain!
These competitors are a mix of veteran professional artists and emerging talents who want to share their process and talent with a new audience. Featured Battlers include Alyssa Penner , who uses her painterly approach to express “the fantastical beauty of local island nature and wildlife,” as well as Dave Stevens, whose signature blend of representational imagery and abstract elements is inspired by his goal of “evoking memories, associations, or connections.” Art Battleinvites culture enthusiasts, painters, art collectors, art party lovers, and the entire Campbell River community to join us for this free experience and vote for the next Art Battle Champion.
Art Battle has been sharing live painting competitions and incredible artistic performances with audiences since 2001. Today, across the country and around the globe, we celebrate live talent by turning a blank canvas into a work of art.
Campbell River is one of more than 100 cities on six continents and tens of thousands of competitors from Brooklyn to Bangladesh, São Paulo to San Francisco, and many more.
Anyone interested in applying to be a special voting delegate should firstname.lastname@example.org
Princess Diana photo exhibition tours three U.S. cities
A new exhibition featuring photographs of the late Princess Diana will be on display in three U.S. cities starting in December.
“Princess Diana Exhibition: Accredited Access” gives a candid view of Diana through the eyes of Anwar Hussein, the longest-serving British royal photographer, and his two sons Zak and Samir Hussein, also photographers. Anwar Hussein took photos of Diana from when she became a public figure until her death in 1997.
“You get to walk through and see a proper journey of how Diana progressed throughout her life from being just a shy, innocent girl to then moving on to being a fashion icon and a humanitarian,” said Zak Hussein, promoting the exhibition in Santa Monica, California.
Visitors are given a phone and headphones so they can read and hear commentary about the significance of each image.
“You get to hear from myself and my brother the stories behind the pictures,” said Zak. “It’s not your regular exhibition of just looking at pictures on the wall … It’s got that more documentary feel about it.”
Zak hopes to educate people about the ways Princess Diana changed the royals. For example, Diana rarely wore gloves.
“Beforehand, it was quite normal for the royals to wear gloves when touching members of the public and it’s something that Diana didn’t do. She wanted to really feel the person and that emotions come across through touch,” said Zak.
Anwar Hussein is widely credited with conveying a more candid view of the royals. Zak said his father excelled at capturing authentic glimpses of the subject’s personality, and advised him to do the same.
“People like to see more candid, more relaxed images of the royals and it’s something that again you can see in this exhibition,” Zak said.
The exhibition by the Husseins goes on display in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York from Dec. 1.
(Reporting by Rollo Ross; Editing by Karishma Singh and Cynthia Osterman)
Aberdeen Art Gallery wins architecture award – Museums Association
Aberdeen Art Gallery has been named Scotland’s building of the year following its recent £36.4m redevelopment.
Aberdeen City Council’s flagship cultural venue was designed by Hoskins Architects. The redevelopment, which was completed in late 2019, involved refurbishing and extending the 19th-century building.
The project involved new exhibition and education spaces, upgraded building services and environmental performance, and improved art handling, storage, back of house and study facilities. Aberdeen Art Gallery is an A-listed building.
Chris Coleman-Smith, director at Hoskins Architects, said: “The team has done an exceptional job of subtly and sensitively restoring original features of the 19th-century building and improving fabric performance, alongside confident alteration and the bold addition of new elements that enhance the visitor experience, knitting together a thread of careful conservation and the requirements of a world class, 21st-century gallery.”
The annual Doolan Award is assessed by an expert jury who look at each project’s architectural integrity, usability and context, delivery and execution, and sustainability. All types of building are eligible for the award, which is named in memory of its founder and patron, the architect/developer Andy Doolan, who died in 2004. The architects of the winning building receive a £10,000.
RIAS president Christina Gaiger PRIAS said: “Aberdeen Art Gallery is an outstanding building and a highly deserving winner of the 2021 Doolan Award. Hoskins Architects have brought a piece of Scottish heritage into the 21st century with humility, skill and sensitivity.
“In the face of the climate emergency, how we upgrade, respect and adapt our existing building stock is absolutely crucial. In Aberdeen Art Gallery we have an outstanding example of how a public building, thanks to the talent of Hoskins Architects and far-sighted clients Aberdeen City Council, exemplifies the smart re-use of an existing building, as part of a collective regenerative response to climate change.”
The redevelopment of the gallery was supported by Aberdeen City Council, which provided £14.6m, and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, which contributed £10m. Energy company BP donated £1m to the project.
This was the year of public art in Toronto – The Globe and Mail
During a lively reception at Toronto’s Union Station, an unmasked crowd of artists, curators and culturecrats gathered to celebrate what the city has designated as a year devoted to public art. Upstairs, around and about the echoing Great Hall, there was a Day of the Dead altar, aerial views of disastrous South American mining projects funded with Canadian money, and a photographic mural that inserted images of enslaved servants into a crowd of commuters. Downstairs, in the bowels of the newly renovated transit hub, there was vodka, beer and charcuterie boards for the initiated.
At this delayed party for a delayed project, it was finally time to toast Toronto’s decision to devote more money, more space and more thought to murals, sculptures and pop-up exhibitions in 2021-22. Public art is no longer just some chunk of bronze plopped down on the street, but as the project infiltrates parks, plazas and shopping malls in the 10 months ahead, it raises questions about its audience. Who is public art serving and how? What about the uninitiated?
One of the most prominently displayed pieces at Union Station is House of Bâby, a large lenticular print showing a contemporary commuter crowd in which 18 figures appear and disappear according to your viewing angle. It is the work of Camal Pirbhai and Camille Turner, artists who have investigated the slave-owning history of James Bâby, an early 19th-century Toronto landowner. Their research shows Bâby enslaved 18 Black, Indigenous and Métis people and now, in a prime civic space, the artists have represented them as ghostly figures re-emerging from a conveniently forgotten history. In a regular year, tens of thousands could be expected to walk by House of Bâby every day. Even if a tiny percentage bother to stop and read the text about the figures, the work will have made a mark.
Union Station notwithstanding, one of the goals of the city’s strategy is to place more art in underserved locations. For historic and financial reasons, most of Toronto’s vast public art collection, which originated long before the city’s amalgamation with its inner suburbs, is located downtown. Monuments and memorials, such as the forbidding statue of Sir Adam Beck on University Avenue or that bizarrely retro tribute to multiculturalism in front of Union Station, tend to be erected on ceremonial routes or in historic parks. Developers are asked to commit one per cent of their building budgets to public art but those works, whether the developers commission the art themselves or just hand the money to the city, are clustered where the most dense and expensive development takes place.
So, ArtworxTO, as the year-long project is dubbed, reaches out to the suburbs by pooling money and identifying new locations. Sometimes, this is just a matter of catch-up: A statue of Black abolitionist, escaped slave and local resident Joshua Glover was erected last summer in the new Etobicoke park that bears his name. But the city’s plan also includes a series of year-long community hubs located in Downsview, Etobicoke and Scarborough, expanding the definition of public art to include temporary installations, free indoor exhibitions and performances in shopping malls or other public buildings.
These create more premeditated and curated encounters than the conventional stroll by a graffiti-busting mural or forgotten old monument. At the Cloverdale Mall, for example, you’ll need to pass an attendant and enter a storefront space next to the Service Ontario office to see Akshata Naik’s Bloody Boats, an eye-catching wall covered with red paper boats as part of a larger piece about immigration. That takes some commitment from the Cloverdale shopper.
Traditionally, an encounter with public art is serendipitous, the sculpture or mural providing an unlooked-for presence in the urban space. That is, after all, why public art often makes people angry. Lately, Torontonians have hotly debated the merits of Toronto Man, an oversized statue of a man in a dress shirt clasping a condo tower to his chest that has been placed at Yonge and St. Clair. Is the piece celebrating development or criticizing it? And, in 2018, citizens lambasted a brightly coloured wedge of steel girders erected at Bathurst and Vaughan that some believe will distract drivers.
Perhaps the real problem is that neither is particularly successful – the first both bombastic and ambiguous, the second an unimaginative use of the space.
Seeking some of the many new pieces flagged on the ArtworxTO’s fabulously comprehensive website – it covers hundreds of art works, old and new – makes you realize how hard it is to craft successful public art. Whether populist or lofty in its intentions, good public art animates effortlessly, such as the trompe-l’oeil mural with which Derek Besant decorated the Flatiron building on Front Street in 1980 or the two giant circles designed for the Bay-Adelaide Centre by Micah Lexier in 2017. Asking people to plan their viewing, enter a specific building or follow dense thematic schemes seems to defeat the purpose: The art should introduce itself to them, not vice versa.
At Downsview, there is one new piece that does command the visitor to go the distance. On the top of a high knoll, bright blue flags can be seen from across the park. Those who make the climb are rewarded with an explanation of a wind rose, a system for representing prevailing winds that would have been used to position the runways of the former Downsview airport. Two flags featuring petroglyphic figures – a turtle and a traveller – have been added to the first piece by Mi’kmaq artists Chris and Greg Mitchell to acknowledge the Indigenous presence on the site long before any plane landed. From the top of that hill you can see the city spread out before you; it’s a place that seems to demand a marker, and now it has one.
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