What does 2020 mean to you?
That was the seed planted in three young Calgary artists and it grew into huge, colourful, thought-provoking murals now on display in the northwest community of Sunnyside.
“This is the first mural I have ever done,” Daniel Volante told CBC News.
“I have never used spray paint before and I have never done anything this big before, so it’s been quite the process. I am learning a lot.”
The 17-year-old’s mural, Dreamer, is bookended by the art of two other teens on shipping containers at a Sunnyside park just southeast of the Kensington Safeway.
Volante says he’s spent several hours a day for three weeks putting together his contribution to containR, a pop up arts and culture hub organized by Springboard Performance.
“I wanted it to look dream like. A lot of the colours are vibrant. I used a blue to outline everything,” he explained.
“I found this piece in myself. It’s a pretty personal piece. I was inspired by how I felt during the last four months. I’ve been dreaming and thinking a lot. I want to do everything but in the last four months stuck at home, it’s just not coming out. That’s what this piece means to me.”
And that’s exactly what Springboard was looking for, the artistic director says.
“What does 2020 mean to you? That was the starting point,” Nicole Mion said.
“The best art comes with what is most meaningful to you. That’s a great place to always start.”
The containR program started in 2009, perhaps ironically, as a way to combat vandalism.
“While it started as a way of deterring tagging, it became a way of sharing incredible art,” Mion said.
Springboard had a call out for artists. A jury narrowed the applications to three.
Their canvas is a shipping container about nine feet by 40 feet (roughly three by 12 metres).
“The point of containR is to connect communities with art,” Mion said.
“You can see performances, you can play music, you can see family theatre, you can see a whole series of murals. Like any park, you go to play, you go to connect in the way you feel comfortable.”
Another artist, 15-year-old Kate MacLean, was uncomfortable with some of what she sees as media representation of people of colour.
“The Black woman on the left depicts the sun. The Asian woman on the right depicts the moon,” MacLean explained.
In an eclipse, they are together. So that’s what MacLean has named her piece.
“I wanted the opportunity to paint people of different ethnicities. Different kinds of people are equally beautiful.”
Jaxson Naugler wanted to make a point about interconnectivity in his art.
“A human and a tree. The person’s face turns into a tree. That’s the most important connection,” the 17-year-old said.
“I also added some trippy, colourful stuff on the other side to show that, yes, these two things are connected, but also everything in the universe is connected.”
Naugler says it’s reaction to his work that he most enjoys.
“My favourite part is just hearing what people think it means,” he said.
“Everybody thinks it means something else. It could mean a thousand different things. People’s interpretation is my favourite part.”
The murals will be on display for a few more weeks.
Art and grieving: Painter Barbara Pratt honours mother Mary Pratt's life in new exhibit – CBC.ca
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.
“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.”
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.”
Art exhibit captures memories of a changing landscape through COVID-19 pandemic – NiagaraFallsReview.ca
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.
10-year-old Anishinaabe photographer makes art show debut at skatepark exhibition – CBC.ca
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 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.”
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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