Local organizers are planning a demonstration Sunday afternoon at the Vancouver Art Gallery to demand justice for George Floyd, the Black man who died this week after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck.
The protest will start at 5 pm in Robson Square, and attendees are encouraged to wear masks and spread out for safety during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We are going to show the world that Black lives do matter,” organizer Jacob Callendar-Prasad said in an Instagram video Saturday night.
“This is a historic event for Vancouver. Everyone should… be proud and carry yourselves proud,” he continued. “We are rising up. We are making a change in this world for the better.”
Callendar-Prasad plans to begin with a moment of silence to honour Floyd and other Black victims that have been killed due to police brutality before moving into speeches and calls for action.
He said he’s been working with the Vancouver Police Department to plan the event and anticipates anywhere from 500 people to a few thousand to attend.
“This is the time to fight. This is the time to unite. No matter your skin colour, your pigment, where you’re from, this is something you should care about,” he said.
On Instagram, Callendar-Prasad was clear he wants the demonstration to be peaceful and that safety is his top priority.
“Do not start a riot,” he said. “Do not do anything that would assist in police presence to take people out of the protest.”
Protests in the US this weekend have turned violent as demonstrators and police clashed.
Sunday’s demonstration in Vancouver follows another protest Saturday afternoon and a large demonstration in Toronto demanding justice for Regis Korchinski-Paquet, a Black woman who fell to her death this week while police were responding to a call at her apartment.
Although the demonstrations support the Black Lives Matter movement, Vancouver’s BLM chapter has said it’s not participating in any in-person rallies at the moment because of coronavirus concerns.
“We do not feel that we can ensure the safety of our community in public protest at this time,” the organization wrote in an Instagram post. “Black Lives Matter EVERY DAY. Indigenous Solidarity, ALWAYS. Not just when we are collectively traumatized by another guileless savage gang of cops.”
There are also more demonstrations planned in Vancouver for next weekend. On Friday, June 5, Callendar-Prasad is also involved in organizing a protest in front of Trump Tower beginning at 5 pm. On Saturday, June 6, there is another march planned to start at the Vancouver Art Gallery, an organizer told Daily Hive.
Ottawa Art Gallery reopens this week, with reserved time slots for visitors – CTV News
The Ottawa Art Gallery is set to reopen to the public this week, 117 days after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of the popular downtown gallery.
Measures are being put in place to keep visitors and staff healthy and safe during the pandemic, including reserved time slots to visit the gallery.
On Wednesday, the Ottawa Art Gallery will open for a special day reserved for all frontline workers. On Thursday, the gallery at 50 Mackenzie King Bridge will open for the public. The new temporary hours will be Wednesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Admission to the Ottawa Art Gallery will continue to be free, but visitors are asked to pre-book a time either by phone or through Eventbrite. The first two hours of every day will be set aside for seniors and immunocompromised visitors.
Visitors are asked to “consider wearing your mask at all times while in the Gallery”, and complimentary masks will be provided if you don’t have one. The gallery will be cleaned on a 30 minute rotation during visiting hours, and hand sanitizing stations will be available on every floor.
“The last few weeks have been dedicated to ensuring safety and cleaning measures are in place, and we are ready to welcome you back to the art,” said Alexandra Badzak, Director and Chief Executive Officer, Ottawa Art Gallery.
Remember the pandemic? Canadian museums and art historians are working on how to do that – Toronto Star
When the Museum of Vancouver closed in March, the acquisitions team was already thinking deep into the future, strategizing how they’d preserve this pandemic moment in time.
Museum people tend to see the world a little differently. Take last year, when the city of Vancouver approved a ban on plastic straws. The museum’s acquisitions team made sure to snag a couple for the permanent collection, so the citizens of the future can see what they looked like in person.
During the pandemic, they have had to be nimble to save items from the dumpster of history.
As the lockdown in British Columbia eased and businesses started to reopen, many of the murals that had been painted on the boarded-up storefronts were being tossed away, said museum spokesperson Lorenzo Schober. The museum worked with a local business improvement association to help curate an outdoor art show, and it plans to keep a few of the murals for its permanent collection.
It also acquired a pair of John Fluevog shoes made in honour of B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. They plan to collect COVID-19 signage when it is no longer needed.
Across the country, museums and arts professionals are collecting materials and planning for future acquisitions that reflect people’s experiences with COVID-19.
Months of lockdowns have made people across the country “desperate to reconnect,” and the possibility of using art to create conversations can be healing, said Ulrike Al-Khamis, director of collections and public programs at the Aga Khan Museum in Toronto.
“People have been turning to art to overcome isolation, to stay sane and healthy,” said Al-Khamis, who also teaches in the department of art history at University of Toronto.
The museum management knew the importance of “reacting in the moment” so it reached out to the public for submissions of art depicting things that have provided a sense of comfort, stability and hope. The museum will add these submissions to their pre-existing “Sanctuary” exhibition and plans to work with a renowned Pakistani artist to create a special project with these items in the future.
Guelph Museums sent out a similar call for artwork and objects that would help tell the story of Guelph during COVID-19.
Usually, they collect items years after an event occurs, so this was a new approach, manager Tammy Adkin said in an email. More than 50 people have submitted artwork, items and suggestions, including locally created masks, face shields, hand sanitizer, photographs of through-the-window visits at long-term-care homes, photographs of signs supporting front-line workers, written reflections from students, and painted rocks planted in front of a local hospital with messages of love and support.
“I’ve been so touched by the very personal stories people have shared about how their lives have been impacted — separation from elderly parents, struggles with home-schooling, and inspiration to rally as a community,” Adkin wrote. “What is essential is that we recognize this pandemic is affecting different people in different ways, and we need to ensure that we are representing the entire story of the impacts.”
Irina Mihalache, the director of the Master of Museum Studies program at the University of Toronto’s faculty of information, agrees that future exhibits on the pandemic should reflect the social inequalities revealed by the virus, because the pandemic and the protest movement surrounding anti-Black racism are intertwined, she said. From what she has seen, museums seem to be taking that direction.
“Hopefully, 10 years from now,” she said, an exhibit will show “how things have changed based on those realizations. That’s my hope that I have for museums.”
In the early days of lockdown, the Glenbow Museum in Calgary asked people to send letters and emails about their lives in this moment. They launched “Dear Glenbow” with a few prompts — What brings you joy right now? What is your daily life like? What are you worried about? Have you learned anything new? What should our descendants learn about this time in our lives?
A couple of people have written about Black Lives Matter. “It’s been a pretty intense period all around,” said museum spokesperson Jenny Conway Fisher. “I’m really happy this is a potential outlet and a way for people to share how they’re feeling.”
Everyone is experiencing the pandemic differently, she said, depending on factors like privilege and geography.
“It’s important to capture that variety of experience because it isn’t one thing,” she said. “There are so many cascading impacts, economic and social and personal — but in order to get a sense of it, you need those individual stories.”
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So far, they’ve received about 250 letters, 460 emails and 20 social media posts. In a time when people have felt helpless and uncertain, the project has given focus — “I’m going to tell my story, and it’s going to mean something,” she said.
A boy who developed a 3D-printed ear protector for masks sent one with a letter. Children wrote about how surprised they were to miss school; how happy they were to spend more time with family. Some people have written about difficulties at work, loved ones who died of COVID-19, and the pain of family separation.
They are collecting letters until the end of July. (Torontonians are welcome to write, she said: “The thread is only made richer if we witness other people’s experiences across the country.”) The collection will be used later as a resource, and eventually, as an exhibit, pending permission requests.
In April, the Museum of Vancouver launched a similar outreach campaign encouraging citizens to document lockdown life by tagging their social media posts with #isolatingtogethermov. They’ve had hundreds of digital submissions that live on their website.
Traditionally, museums have collected items many years after an event — and often receive donations from families when a loved one dies. One risk in asking for submissions in the moment is the potential performative element.
People “might not necessarily be genuine or authentic in what they collect because they’re thinking, ‘Oh the museum is collecting from me I have to send them the best representation of my COVID behaviour,” Mihalache said.
Curators at the ROM have already started collecting artisan-made and sustainably produced facemasks for the museum’s textile collection.
Swarupa Anila, the senior vice-president for exhibition and gallery development at the ROM, believes that one of the themes artists will explore are the intersections of racial and economic disparity through the lens of the pandemic.
“I think artists have often shown us what has been and needs to be broken, to see solutions differently,” she wrote in an email.
When it comes to physical artifacts, Mihalache can all but guarantee that the Metropolitan Museum of Art or the Fashion Institute of Technology will have a mask exhibit. Masks are already being collected heavily as a focal point of this moment: a tool, a point of protest, a fashion statement.
As she reflects on the many items and narratives that will likely be collected, Mihalache said it’s important that specific voices are given space in exhibits, like grocery store workers. And when museums collect, they need to remember the needs of the community over their own.
“You have to ask what is the need? Why am I bothering this community,” she said. “Is the collecting going to be a support to them, or is it going to be a form of exploiting them to make the museum look better?”
Museums have to be accountable to people about what they are going to do with these stories, and they should approach any collecting in a spirit of solidarity, she said.
“You’re collecting fragile objects or memories from people who might be experiencing trauma, from people who maybe have lost people during these times, and you’re also collecting funny videos from people who are doing yoga with their cat or dog.”
How I learned to stop worrying and love online art galleries – The Globe and Mail
It is from a position of great privilege that I acknowledge some of my greatest losses of this time have been the inability to travel and the inability to visit art galleries and museums. I have longed for both of these experiences like missing a faraway friend, one you are not sure when you can see again.
I have always resisted the online art experience – other than for research, it seemed as if it was beside the point. You need to be in front of the piece to really appreciate it, dammit.
COVID-19 has taught me that there’s another way to look at it.
The National Gallery of Canada’s excellent series of “Virtual NGC” videos were a pandemic balm for me. Tom Thomson’s The Jack Pine, Janet Cardiff’s Forty-Part Motet, Annie Pootoogook’s Cape Dorset Freezer are explored in detail by curatorial staff.
The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, a place I haven’t visited in probably 15 years, has a “3 Minutes with an Artwork” series, which I also recommend. You can learn a lot in three minutes, as it turns out, as in a knowledgeable volunteer guide’s talk about Marc-Aurèle Fortin’s painting Storm Brewing over Hochelaga, during which she discusses its contemporary resonance in the age of COVID-19.
Google’s Arts and Culture app – which I have spent countless hours using during the shutdown – allowed me to “visit” some of my bucket-list museums that I began to worry I might never actually get to. The glory of Paris’s Musée D’Orsay – the museum itself, its magnificent collection and the way the works are installed – was evident, even on my little iPhone. (The experience is better on a larger screen, though, like your laptop.)
I was moved almost to tears by Diego Rivera’s murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) (a place I have somehow never visited, despite having grown up in not-very-far-away Toronto) and by the work Frida Kahlo produced during their time there. Then I had a good laugh at the headline of a newspaper clipping the DIA included in its online exhibition Frida Kahlo in Detroit: “Wife of the Master Mural Painter Gleefully Dabbles in Works of Art.”
The Google Art experience was particularly effective, I realized, when visiting places I have been and loved. “At” the AGO, I spent time with paintings I have seen for years at every visit, so familiar yet so far away right now – works by Emily Carr, Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven. Augustus John’s The Marchesa Casati, James Tissot’s La Demoiselle de Magasin, Paul Peel’s The Young Biologist. Seeing these works – even on my computer screen – felt like visiting home.
Visiting the Vancouver Art Gallery (which has now re-opened) online was a particularly emotional experience; the only way at the time that I could visit the place I have toured through countless times, for work and for pleasure.
Its online exhibition offering was Douglas Coupland’s 2014 show “everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything.” Looking at its intricate and whimsical Lego towers, colourful Pop Head series and his massive installation The Brain (made with thousands of found items), I felt such joy remembering what art can do, and such a loss wondering when it will ever be the same again.
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