Connect with us

Art

Black Canadians brought to the centre at Vancouver Art Gallery – Vancouver Sun

Published

 on


Nya Lewis is guest curator for the exhibition Where Do We Go From Here?

Article content

Attention on the Black art experience in Canada is somewhere it has never been before at the Vancouver Art Gallery — the architectural centre of the neo-classical building in the rotunda on the third floor.

A text work written on panels and directly on building surfaces by artist Nya Lewis focuses attention on the institutional promises and disappointments of Black Canadians which have largely been ignored by the VAG since it was founded in 1931.

Above one side of the rotunda are the words: “The Promise to the Black Canadian.” Directly opposite, “The Myth of the Black Canadian.”

One of the work’s panels in block letters starts with “The illusion of a quilt of equitable voices,” and ends with, “I didn’t realize I was missing.”

Lewis said she wanted the work, Commit Us To Memory, in the rotunda because its central location means that viewers can’t ignore the Black experience and, “You’re forced to reckon with me and forced to stop and read it.”

Advertisement

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

The work draws attention to the building’s imposing institutional architecture and the VAG’s role in shaping ideas about what constitutes art in B.C.

“Vancouver just doesn’t think it needs to reckon with Black histories because we’re not Toronto, we’re not Montreal,” Lewis said in an interview.

Lewis is guest curator for the exhibition Where Do We Go From Here? She played a central role in bringing art by Black and African Canadian artists Jessie Addo, Rebecca Bair, Chantal Gibson, Jan Wade, Tafui and herself into the exhibition, which explores the historical gaps and absences in the gallery’s collection. It also builds on the VAG’s 2020 statement in support of Black Lives Matter.

The work of decolonizing collections and exhibitions and including minority and Indigenous voices is one of the challenges facing cultural institutions across the country.

In Victoria, for example, Premier John Horgan recently appointed former finance minister Carole James to investigate the “dysfunctional and toxic workplace” at the Royal B.C. Museum, as well as charges of institutional and personal racism.

At the VAG, Lewis said the gallery was in the early stages of a completely different show on the formal elements in the work of Emily Carr and the Group of Seven, which celebrated its centenary in 2020. Planning was taking place last May when George Floyd was recorded on video being killed by a police officer in Minneapolis. Protests drawing attention to anti-Black racism spread around the world — including Vancouver.

Advertisement

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

Lewis, who is doing her master of fine arts in curatorial studies and working for the Museum of Anthropology in its African collection, was asked by the VAG to become involved in planning an exhibition.

“I said I would come on as a guest or contributing curator, but that we would have to start from scratch,” said Lewis, founder of BlackArt Gastown.

“They were, honestly, really kind, really open,” she said. “We did a lot of training together.”

The VAG, she said, could have ignored the call to action represented by Floyd’s death.

“To their credit, they were like, ‘We want to do this. We don’t have a Black person. We need to have someone join our team even if it’s just temporary so we can get the ball rolling.’ I think it was quite brilliant on their end.”

Diana Freundl, the VAG’s interim chief curator and associate director, said the gallery recognizes that an artist such as Emily Carr is an important part of the visual history of B.C. The VAG was bequeathed almost 200 works by Carr following her death.

The gallery also recognized it doesn’t have a history of showing Black Canadian artists, and lacked works in its collection by Black Canadians.

Freundl said the VAG reached out to Lewis for help to better reflect the diversity of artistic expression in the community.

“Rather than say to Nya, ‘Oh, we would like to include you in a show, or can you recommend some names.’ We said, ‘Would you collaborate with us and would you be a guest curator?’” Freundl said.

Advertisement

Story continues below

This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.

Article content

She said the VAG saw that Lewis has an expertise in Black Canadian art and culture.

“Having someone who has the experience, knowledge, and relationships with artists, we wanted not only to collaborate with her on the exhibition, but also learn from her,” she said.

Freundl acknowledged that some of the discussions during planning were challenging because people were made aware of their blindspots.

“It can open you up to vulnerability,” she said. “It can be uncomfortable.”

Freundl believes the process has made the VAG’s curatorial department better.

“The only regret is that it would have been great to begin it earlier.”

Where Do We Go From Here? continues through Black History Month in February to May 30 at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

kevingriffin@postmedia.com

VANCOUVER, BC. Nya Lewis is the guest curator of Where Do We Go From Here? at the Vancouver Art Gallery....................(Photo credit: Francis Georgian / Postmedia) , Vancouver. Vancouver Reporter: ,  ( Francis Georgian   /  PNG staff photographer) [PNG Merlin Archive]
Nya Lewis is the guest curator of Where Do We Go From Here? at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Photo by Francis Georgian /PNG

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Art

The Agnes Etherington Art Centre reopens to the public – Queen's Journal

Published

 on


After Kingston moved back to the green zone, the Agnes Etherington Art Centre reopened to the public on Feb. 20with a maximum capacity of 41.

In an interview with The Journal, Kate Ducharme, visitor services assistant, described the process of reopening with social distancing protocols.

“We’re a very safe space, and visitors really adhere to our guidelines and I think they’re just excited to be able to come and experience art again,” she said.

According to Ducharme, the reduced capacity in the art centre allows for a more intimate viewing experience.

“It’s a huge change, and you do feel that change when you’re in the galleries. Most times you’re in the galleries with just yourself or with the household that you’re with, which also allows for a real personal experience with the exhibitions.”

Ducharme is excited about the reopening and looks forward to seeing people enjoy the experience of viewing art in-person again.

“It’s wonderful to be able to share those experiences with people,” Ducharme said. “We have a collection of 17,000 pieces, so there’s lots to share. There are new exhibitions from visiting artists as well, so it’s a great opportunity to come in and check it out.”

Agnes staff members faced a challenge last spring when COVID-19 forced them to move online, but Ducharme said she’s proud of the work the team has accomplished.

Read More: The Agnes goes digital

“Virtual exhibitions and public programing all went online, so that was a huge shift for our staff. And a lot of that work is still going on, trying to make those exhibitions available because not everyone has the option to come in person,” she said.

For those unable to visit in person, Ducharme recommended taking advantage of the Agnes’ online resources, which include workshops, lectures, and tours.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Art

Open Your Art launches Take-Out Art Kits – Brunswickan

Published

 on


Amidst lockdowns and lowering temperatures, it is gratifying to learn that quality recreation is still available and affordable in Fredericton. Open Your Art Fredericton has just launched a product that facilitates access to art materials, even for the greenest of novices. Handcrafted in-studio by talented ceramic instructors, Open Your Art promises you won’t be bored anymore in quarantine.

Take-out art kits have been around for a while, but now they are being produced and marketed for and by locals. Angela Black, Arts Educator and owner of Open Your Art, explains that the product is facilitating access to art expression for, “folks unable to come out to a studio for whatever reason.” She adds that the barriers imposed by Coronavirus protocols are easily overcome by creating the art takeout kits.

“We have learnt, working with many ‘vulnerable’ sectors, that attendance and access to transportation for example can be a real barrier to taking part in extracurricular activities,” said Black.

The kits come in various sizes and options for individuals, families, and teams. Open Your Art accords special privileges for “team” and “family” kits by providing live tutorials over Zoom with an instructor who will guide and inspire your first steps. 

“The kit itself is a reusable container that gets returned to the studio once your piece is finished. Everything is washed and reused as much as possible. The kit contains a range of underglazes for decorating your tumblers in line with individual or group taste as well as brushes and a manual,” Black explained. 

“This product is literally flying off the shelves,” Angela Black said. “People are buying them five at a time sometimes. We have started selling them for birthday parties as well. The kits are very popular at $25 (plus tax), so we have decided that our next few options will be a bowl, wine cup, and wait for it – dog bowls.”

If you’re wondering what to do to liven things up at your next family get together, (virtual) office retreat, or even just one random Sunday afternoon, Open your Art kits may be a good option. The instructors have become quite proficient at hosting team building events. The prospect of teaching work enhancement skills in a positive, low-key environment sounds decidedly tempting. 

Black expects the art kits to become even more popular as new options are constantly being developed to accommodate everyone. According to her, the company is all for inclusion.

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Art

The Art of Clanny Mugabe | The Journal – Queen's Journal

Published

 on


Biography

Clanny Mugabe is a second-year student in the faculty of Arts and Sciences. She’s currently majoring in English and would describe herself as heavily inspired by world mythology, speculative fiction, and character design. She primarily draws digitally, and each digital painting often has a spiritual/mythological element to it.

Ulysses

“This is a digital painting with the simple goal of portraying an ambiguous black person with a regal air, to contradict the normative stereotypes of black people that portray them in a less than dignified light. The gold is used because its associated with riches and royalty. The word Ulysses is the latinized form of the name Odysseus, who is a figure of Greek/roman mythology that was known for his nobility and intelligence.”

Celebrities as Greek Gods

Adut Akech

“Greek mythology is something that has inspired me a lot throughout my life, and the legacy of Greek/Roman mythology and ancient Greek/Roman civilization is still celebrated today. So, I felt like inserting black people into that mythology because history is very whitewashed; we are not educated on non-European civilizations often, and ancient Greece and Rome is very whitewashed in the public consciousness even though they were diverse empires whose art history and mythology have roots in the Middle East and Africa.”

Decolonized fashion

“I had always imagined what the world would look like if European colonization never happened, and I specifically wondered about what aspect of culture would be changed, specifically culture we take for granted, like fashion. This line of speculation was encouraged by Black Panther, and the costume design of the movie inspired this series and was referenced. So last year I designed several pieces of fashion mostly inspired by African fabrics, African fashion, futuristic aesthetics and film costume design.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending