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Art meets recreation – Smithers Interior News

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The Bulkley Valley Pool and Recreation Centre has been splashed with some colour.

The outside wall facing the highway is now home to a new mural done by Raven-Tacuara Professional Arts Collective. It is now halfway complete.

Raven-Tucuara is a First Nations art group based in northwest B.C. They say their name is humble nod to the Eagle-Condor prophecy of a united First Nations peoples across the Americas.

Facility Manager Tamara Gillis said this mural project has been in the works for a number of years now and they have been seeking grant funding to make it happen.

“This year we supported an application of the BV Community Arts Council to Wetzin’kwa Community Forest Corporation grant program for this project,” she said. “We are very pleased that the grant funding was awarded.”

The art piece does have First Nations influence and Gillis said the artists ensured that protocols for image design were followed.

“Public art has many benefits and is an excellent way to bring joy and pride to the community,” Gillis added. “We are pleased that our building will be showcased with this large scale mural and enhance the highway corridor through the Town of Smithers. This mural will benefit both locals and those travelling though. This is especially true during this strange time of COVID-19.”

One of the five artists working on the mural is Facundo Gastiazoro. He’s an Argentinian born with a Wichi/Lebanese background. Wichi are First Nations peoples of South America. He currently lives in Smithers.

He said the inspiration for the piece came from children playing.

“Water and the joy when you dive in,” he said. “That moment of being in the air and being super happy, that is the inspiration. I remember being a kid and knowing that I’m going to splash everyone and it is fun and lovely and everything is OK and beautiful.”

Stephanie Anderson is also part of the collective working on the mural and is from the Laksilyu (small frog) Clan. Her family is from Witset and she currently lives in Terrace. Her artwork has won regional and national awards and has been shown across B.C. including at the Vancouver (YVR) airport.

She said there is something special about working close to home.

“I find Smithers to be an awesome, colourful, friendly community,” she added. “I like having my artwork closer to home and also I like putting up some work in Wet’suwet’en territory. I find the community work to be a big draw.”

The one wall is done and the team is waiting for the stucco on the wall facing the arena to be fixed before adding more artwork there.

“It is really awesome, I like how our design has come to life. It is vibrant and really fun,” Anderson said. “We tried a new technique and overlaid the design over the base colours and are happy with the results.”

The other two artists in the collective working on the mural are Amanda Dionne Hugon and Travis Hebert. The collective also hired a student, Robyn Lough, to join them on this project.

There is currently no completion date at this time as the collective is waiting for the repairs to be done on the wall and their canvas first.

Raven-Tacuara are also commissioned to do a mural honouring Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls on the sides of the Dze L K’ant Friendship Centre building later this summer (See article Page A12).

Bulkley-Nechako Regional DistrictSmithers

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Raven-Tacuara Professional Arts Collective working on the mural. (BV Regional Pool and Recreation Centre Facebook photo)

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Art and grieving: Painter Barbara Pratt honours mother Mary Pratt's life in new exhibit – CBC.ca

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There was no cake waiting for Barbara Pratt on her 56th birthday, something that until that point had been a tradition shared between her and her mother each year to mark the annual celebration of life. 

The warmth and love was missing for the first time.

Renowned artist Mary Pratt — her mother — died at 83 in August 2018. Mary made a career of painting hyper-realistic everyday scenes — including of baking — that resonated across the country and sent her to the top of the Canadian art world. 

Today, Barbara Pratt’s newest gallery, starting Saturday at the Emma Butler Gallery in St. John’s, pays homage to her late mother. 

“I had an idea back in 2018 to paint a painting of the cake pans, that’s in this exhibition, and I wasn’t really thinking about it in a really significant kind of way,” Pratt told CBC Radio’s On The Go

“But after my mother died, in that same year, the image became more poignant for me and I started thinking about other possibilities for images. When my birthday came I realized there wouldn’t be any birthday cake from my mom that year, for the first time ever, really, and that hit me pretty hard and fuelled my creativity.”

Pratt picked up painting from her parents. She also picked up baking from her mother, something she says is taken seriously in her family — particularly with birthdays. 

This cake was designed by Maria Clarke of Petite Sweet in St. John’s. Pratt painted it as part of her latest collection. (Submitted by the Emma Butler Gallery)

“It struck me that baking, and baking birthday cakes in particular, is essentially an act of love that you do for somebody else,” said Pratt.

“I don’t take baking birthday cakes lightly. I’m not going to bake a birthday cake for just anybody.”

‘It’s just part of what we do’

Pratt said the idea to paint cakes was obvious to her after going through some old family slides, many of which featured cake.

She said everyone in the family was happy in those captured moments, but added cake itself plays a role in societal norms. 

“Cake in general has a larger picture in our culture. We have cake with many of our rituals and celebrations. Retirement, graduations, weddings, obviously, and even at funerals you bring baked goods,” Pratt said.

“It’s just part of what we do, and that’s the way my mom approached art. It’s the way I approach it as well. It’s about representing what you know.”

Barbara Pratt says painting cakes for her newest collection came to her after the realization that she would not be receiving another of her mother’s. (Submitted by the Emma Butler Gallery)

Pratt’s new works feature actual cakes designed by Maria Clarke of Petite Sweet in St. John’s and some of her own. 

Eighteen of her paintings will be hung on the walls of the gallery from Sept. 19 to Oct. 10, and the memory of her mother and the paying of her tribute goes one step further. 

Many of the paintings were used using Mary Pratt’s brushes, and even some of her own canvases that she never had the opportunity to use, said Barbara Pratt. 

“I feel lucky, in that I have sort have been with her during the whole duration of creating work for this show,” she said. 

“There were days were days when it was very emotional for me, but uplifting at the same time.… I don’t know that it helped, but I did feel honoured by the ability to use her brushes, and her paint, and well an awful lot more of her supplies as well.”

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador 

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Art exhibit captures memories of a changing landscape through COVID-19 pandemic – NiagaraFallsReview.ca

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We began lockdown toward the end of winter; still cold, we stayed inside. As spring opened up to possibilities, many of us took to the outdoors, walking our only contact with the broader community, awkward though those encounters might be, hailing neighbours at a careful distance.

Alliston, Ont., artist Gary Evans has been creating throughout the pandemic; some of his paintings are now being shown in an exhibition titled “Daylight” at the Paul Petro gallery in Toronto.

He, too, experienced the strangeness of the world and the way he was moving in it, differently. “Avoiding the few people out there and really relishing the freshness of the air and changing conditions of the spring, the walks and sights of the town and surrounding landscape became the subject of paintings,” he says. “I found myself trying to express the different textures of the landscape, capture a mood and witness change on a daily basis.”

A fence. A tree changing shape and the changing light.

“Intersections of architecture and nature always seem to catch my eye, and the painting ‘Alley’ is based on the view of a neighbour’s fence that runs beside a parking lot and an arena building. The small maples that peek over the fence mark the space or distance between the viewer and architecture.”

“Often I will start to paint an actual image, then slowly add marks and imaginative or abstract patterns and colours to complete the image in a more expressive and personal manner. I’m trying to create a dialogue between our inner world of feeling and subjective reality and the generic landscape we inhabit together.”

And now, we enter fall. The days shorter, the air crisper, the shadows longer. We’ll observe more carefully, wanting to etch moments in our mind. Some we’ll want to remember clearly, some framed, perhaps, with simply a sense of colours and lines and feelings. Memories to sustain us through a long winter indoors.

You can see the entire exhibition at the Paul Petro Contemporary Art gallery at paulpetro.com.

Deborah Dundas

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10-year-old Anishinaabe photographer makes art show debut at skatepark exhibition – CBC.ca

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Ella Greyeyes came across photography by accident, when she filled in for a photographer who was supposed to take her dad’s headshot, but cancelled at the last minute.

The 10-year-old was instantly hooked. She started snapping more pictures: some of her mom, others of nature scenes. Her parents posted them on Instagram and Ella soon drew the attention of local artist Annie Beach, who suggested Ella get involved with Lavender Menace, a mentorship opportunity that will culminate in an art show at The Plaza skatepark at The Forks.

“I’m feeling really excited and just happy that I’m going to have my photos at The Forks,” Ella told CBC’s Weekend Morning Show host Nadia Kidwai on Sunday. “When people see my photos, I hope they feel joy in them.”

For Ella, photography was a new way to see the world around her.

“When I see something, I just like to frame it,” she said. “And I love to take pictures of nature. It just feels so good and relaxing.”

The photo Ella took of her dad, Alan Greyeyes, that kicked off her budding photography career. (Ella Greyeyes)

The show organized by Graffiti Art Programming gets its name from a term rooted in the American lesbian women’s movement for inclusion within feminism, said Chanelle Lajoie, a Métis artist who mentored Ella ahead of Sunday night’s opening reception. Lajoie said Lavender Menace was a chance to create space for Indigenous people and learn from each other.

“Working with Ella provided for me that intergenerational knowledge-sharing, because it was very much reciprocated on both ends,” Lajoie said. 

“Ella really enjoying taking photography of nature … seemed [to] really fit well with the project of providing natural elements to a predominantly concrete space, and so it was a really perfect fit.”

Ella — who is Anishinaabe from Peguis First Nation and lives in Winnipeg — said she learned so much about photography from Lajoie, from how to use the different settings on her camera to how to make a person comfortable in front of her lens.

“You have to be happy when you take them,” she said. “You have to take them with some joy, because then it will make the person, the model, feel really good and smile and not be grumpy in every photo.”

Ella took this photo of her mom, Destiny Seymour. (Ella Greyeyes)

Lajoie said the show at The Forks is meant to start a conversation about representation of Indigenous, LGBT and two-spirit people in a space so deeply rooted in Indigenous histories.

“That conversation will include us. It’ll bring up some uncomfortable realities. [But] our representation is also going to encourage inclusion and build community further,” she said. 

“So I hope anyone who is at the show, whether it’s tonight or in the future, if they’re having difficulty seeking out their queer selves or their Indigenous selves, that they see this and see themselves in us.”

The Lavender Menace group art exhibition launches Sunday at 5 p.m. The event will run until 7 p.m., though the art will stay until next year.

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