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CELEBRATING 125: Culture and collaboration inspire new art installation in Agassiz – Agassiz Harrison Observer – Agassiz-Harrison Observer

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Agassiz artist Mike Ewards and Sto:lō artist Zack McNeill-Bobb stand with their collaborative sculpture called “Squaring the Circle,” now on display in Agassiz’s Pioneer Park. The sculpture is part of the celebration of the 125th anniversary of the District of Kent and represents different cultures and viewpoints all living in one valley. (Contributed Photo/Sabina Iseli-Otto)Agassiz artist Mike Ewards and Sto:lō artist Zack McNeill-Bobb stand with their collaborative sculpture called “Squaring the Circle,” now on display in Agassiz’s Pioneer Park. The sculpture is part of the celebration of the 125th anniversary of the District of Kent and represents different cultures and viewpoints all living in one valley. (Contributed Photo/Sabina Iseli-Otto)
Agassiz artist Mike Edwards has created art installations across B.C., often teaming up with fellow Agassiz artist Rose Quintana. (Contributed Photo/Sabina Iseli-Otto)Agassiz artist Mike Edwards has created art installations across B.C., often teaming up with fellow Agassiz artist Rose Quintana. (Contributed Photo/Sabina Iseli-Otto)
Sto:lō artist Zack McNeil-Bobb was the first-ever artist featured in a pop-up residency at the Ranger Station Art Gallery in Harrison Hot Springs. (Contributed Photo/Sabina Iseli-Otto)Sto:lō artist Zack McNeil-Bobb was the first-ever artist featured in a pop-up residency at the Ranger Station Art Gallery in Harrison Hot Springs. (Contributed Photo/Sabina Iseli-Otto)

A new piece of art has quietly manifested in Agassiz’s Pioneer Park.

Local artist Mike Edwards and Sto:lō artist Zack McNeill-Bobb created “Squaring the Circle” in honour of the 125th anniversary of the District of Kent.

Amid the cold December rain, the artists finished the install on Dec. 10. From the base of ancient, glacier-polished stones on up, the sculpture stands as a tribute to the Fraser Valley long before the Fraser Valley ever had its colloquially known name.

READ ALSO: Monday Painters celebrate 58 years of Agassiz art

The eastern face of the sculpture is McNeill-Bobb’s work, titled “Slalem te Alemex.” It is a four-faced representation of Turtle Island. The four faces represent the four cardinal directions on a map, and the turtle itself represents a moving home wherever you go, there’s home. The circular shape of the turtle can represent the animal itself, the cycle of the seasons or the world.

“If you look closely, you’ll see that the four faces share one mouth, and this represents diversity with a shared voice, and offers a vision for a better future together,” the artists told The Observer.

The western face of the sculpture was created by Mike Edwards and is titled “Tabula,” the Latin word for table. Edwards chose the name because tables are where conversations happen. “Tabula” is also a reference to the phrase “tabula rasa,” which means a fresh start or clean slate.

READ ALSO: Indigenous artist re-imagines B.C. provincial flag

The map on the western face features longitude and latitude lines cutting through the local mountains, rivers and landmarks.

The name “Squaring the Circle” comes from an ancient math problem of trying to create a square that perfectly encompasses a circle. While a square’s area is easy to calculate, the circle is a bit more complicated.

“The circle is a different story,” the artists wrote. “Calculating the area of a circle involves the magical number pi, which is infinite. In other words, you can literally calculate the digits in a circle’s area until the cows come home. The area of a circle cannot equal the area of a circle, but we can come really close.”

The sculpture itself is meant to represent different points of view, different homes and different ways to draw maps, all occupying the same valley.

The 1967 novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Márquez inspired the sculpture.

“This book acknowledges history, colonization, and, at the same time, a respect for science and the true magic of nature,” the artists said. “We hope our sculpture does this, too. We also hope you’ll find your own stories in the artwork. In the end, whether we are defined by squares or by circles, we all share this rich-soiled valley and the river that runs along its bed of polished stones.”

The artists gave special thanks to the District of Kent, district director of community services and projects Jennifer Thornton Agassiz Ready Mix.


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Art with heart: B.C. artists are saying thanks to frontline staff by offering them their works – CBC.ca

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B.C. artists are using their skill and creativity to thank frontline workers by offering them original works through an online platform. 

Artists can donate their work by making a submission on the Arthanks website, where each available piece is displayed in a photo. Frontline workers can then browse through the options and request a piece of art. 

“We connect the two. We just say here’s the art, here’s the recipient, please get together socially distanced and hand it off,” said David MacLean, a North Vancouver-based artist who came up with the idea.

“When you give a piece of art it’s kind of original, it’s a little bit different, it’s a little more than just a one-off thank you,” he added. 

MacLean says the concept of Arthanks was formed as he found himself painting more during the pandemic.

“I was getting madder and madder about the grief that frontline workers are taking … and thinking, ‘what have I done?’ Well, nothing. I’ve done little or nothing to help,” he told CBC’s The Early Edition on Thursday.

MacLean began giving his art to friends and family who were frontline workers — including nurse Robyn Whyte, who he met at a Deep Cove cafe.

Whyte said the two had chatted about their professions and MacLean offered her one of his works after noticing a wolf design on her sweater. 

“It just happened … he was donating a piece of art that was related to wolves and I couldn’t say no, it’s a beautiful piece of art,” said Whyte. 

MacLean had informally donated about 20 pieces of art when he reached out to Ginger Sedlarova, a friend in the local art scene, to help recruit volunteers and expand the initiative. 

He said they have given away about 40 pieces of art since the initiative started last summer, and they are now looking for more artists to donate. 

The works on display currently include paintings, vases and miscellaneous pottery.

He said all frontline workers are welcome to request a piece of art, including health-care workers, education workers and those in customer service-facing jobs such as grocery store clerks — “anyone who put themselves at risk to help us in this time of COVID,” according to the Arthanks website.

In receiving her gift, Whyte said she was reminded that people are thankful for the contributions of frontline workers. 

“It’s great to be acknowledged. We’ve all been working very hard and it’s just going on so long…” she said. “I know that there’s people out there who are thankful and I really appreciate it.”

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Restoration of Michelangelo’s Pieta statue in Florence reveals flaws in marble

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The restoration of Michelangelo’s famed Pieta dell’Opera del Duomo in Florence has revealed that the single block of marble from which the masterpiece was sculpted was flawed, offering a likely reason for why it was abandoned before it was completed.

The statue, better known as the Bandini Pieta, represents the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene holding the body of Christ as he is taken down from the cross by a man, Nicodemus, whose face is the self-portrait of the Italian Renaissance artist.

“It’s a Pieta that has suffered and is very intimate… it is a really personal statue,” Beatrice Agostini, director of the restoration project, told Reuters.

The works of restoration confirmed that the 2,700 kg piece of marble had veins and numerous minute cracks, particularly on the base, which may have been the reason for Michelangelo’s decision to stop working on the sculpture before finishing it, a statement said.

The artist had initially planned to place the sculpture next to his tomb but only years after beginning to sculpt it, in the mid 1500s, a then 75-year old Michelangelo decided to abandon the masterpiece, giving it as a gift to a servant, who then sold it to a banker, Francesco Bandini.

Restorers did not find any sign of hammer blows, making it unlikely the widespread hypothesis that an unhappy Michelangelo tried to destroy the sculpture in a moment of frustration, the statement added.

The non-invasive restoration started in 2019 but was interrupted several times due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Deposits were removed from the sculpture’s surface, which was then cleaned, bringing it back to its original hue.

The project was commissioned and directed by the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore and was financed by U.S. non-profit organization Friends of Florence.

“The operation has restored to the world the beauty of one of Michelangelo’s most intense and troubled masterpieces,” a joint statement said.

Visitors have been able to witness all stages of the process as the statue was always on display, in an open laboratory, on a platform, behind a glass screen.

 

(Reporting by Matteo Berlenga in Florence, writing by Giulia Segreti in Rome, editing by Angus MacSwan)

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Art Beat: Arts Council keeps its friends close – Coast Reporter

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Until Feb. 6, the Sunshine Coast Arts Council is exhibiting works by its members in a variety of mediums.

The annual “Friends of the Gallery” show is hosted in the Doris Crowston Gallery of the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre, at 5714 Medusa Street, in Sechelt.

Now in its 20th year, the “Friends” event began as a way to encourage emerging artists. Today, individual artists from the community are invited to submit one piece of work they completed in the previous year to be shown in the group exhibition.

Artworks are also available for purchase.

Youth Urged to Float Beachcombers-Inspired Creations

The Sunshine Coast Writers and Editors Society describes itself as “a magnet for creative souls on the Coast.” To mark this year’s golden jubilee of The Beachcombers, the iconic CBC Television program, the society is seeking to attract young creative souls through an art and writing contest.

Various types of submissions are welcome, including short stories, creative nonfiction, poetry, scripts, cover artwork and colouring for the planned anthology and exhibit.

Written entries must contain at least one reference to The Beachcombers, the Coast or the beach. Allusions to jet boat manoeuvres and amicable ribbing at the lunch counter of Molly’s Reach are likely assets as well.

Details are online on the Society’s website at scwes.ca. Submissions must be received by midnight on June 1.

Family Literacy Week: Tales on Trails

The Province of British Columbia has proclaimed Jan. 24 to 31 as Family Literacy Week, marking the fifth successive year that Family Literacy Day (Jan. 27) has overflowed with a sevenfold increase in bookish intensity.

“Children’s literacy skills expand and grow much faster when families read, play and learn together,” said Jennifer Whiteside, B.C.’s Minister of Education. “Family Literacy Week is a great opportunity to focus on dynamic ways to support our youngest learners so they can develop the skills they need to succeed in their school years and beyond.”

Decoda Literacy Solutions, a province-wide literacy organization, is hosting a photo contest. Participants may take a photo using a “Let’s Be Active” theme and submit it by email to contest@decoda.ca or post it on social media using these hashtags: #LetsBeActive and #FLW2022. There will be a class prize and a prize for individuals.

To mark the occasion, the Gibsons and District Public Library has encouraged families to host “reading walks” in which families and individuals stroll through local parks, reading along to stories.

The Coast Reporter encourages all such literary ramblers to glance up from time to time, in order to avoid mid-chapter collisions incurred while covering one’s tracks.

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