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Doctor-turned-artist makes house into playful art using thousands of toys – CBC.ca

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This time of year in New Brunswick isn’t known for being colourful.  The grass is mostly light brown, and trees and bushes are just beginning to grow tiny buds.

But, take a drive through a quiet downtown neighbourhood in Fredericton and you’ll be greeted with a riot of colour from Brian MacKinnon’s latest art exhibition, which is on display — on his house.

The retired family doctor still works part-time as a physician, but spends his down time as a visual artist. For his latest project, melted toys are his chosen medium. Thousands of them, fixed to panels, and now adorning the windows as shutters on his charcoal grey home off Waterloo Row. 

“So far people have been laughing and being very surprised,” MacKinnon said, adding that he’s been enjoying the reactions of people so far. 

The pop of colour on this quiet side street can be seen from the main road — and it’s enough to cause drivers and pedestrians to take a detour to get closer.

Brian MacKinnon replaced six shutters on the front of his house with children’s toys that he melted together. (Gary Moore/CBC)

MacKinnon’s latest labour of love was kept a secret from his neighbours until it was revealed last weekend. 

“I like the element of surprise in art,” he said, adding that his neighbour have been very supportive of his work.

MacKinnon said he chose only contemporary toys and specifically picked toys with bright colours. There are blues, reds, greens, oranges and yellows… squirt guns, bubble-blowing pipes, beach rakes, toy electric drills… you name it, you can probably find it. After all, there’s about 6,000 of them.

He has no personal attachment to the toys he used, but he hopes people who pass his house to view the art will make a personal connection of their own.

This Fredericton artist wanted to add colour to his neighbourhood, so he replaced his window shutters with toys — more than 6,000 of them. 2:20

“I hope people can have their own fun, and their own memories from finding some of the toys, which some of the neighborhood kids have done.”

MacKinnon said putting his art outdoors in a public viewing area brings a new perspective for people coming to see the work. And, part of what he wanted to do in this case was take art away from a gallery setting. 

MacKinnon said he picked the toys based on shape, size and colour. (Gary Moore/CBC)

“People can see them from their car, they can be walking by, they can laugh at them and do what they want — but nobody’s telling them how to think.”

MacKinnon lives on a flood plain, and said this work is his way of celebrating that, so far, the spring has been relatively flood-free. 

“And it’s the dullest visual time of year — probably this week, and I really wanted to burst forth with this colour.”

MacKinnon said he doesn’t know how long he’ll leave the display up, but he hopes all this colour will bring people onto his street. 

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Interview – South Frontenac's Land-Art Bioblitz: Monica Capovilla of Wintergreen Studios – lake88.ca

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Ottawa business faces backlash after posts on Blackout Tuesday – CTV News Ottawa

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OTTAWA —
Expressing outrage over racism can be a complicated and sometimes divisive action. One Ottawa business that tried to share its opinion on social media this week found out exactly how hard that can be.

Blackout Tuesday is a collective action to protest racism and police brutality. The action, originally organized within the music industry in response to the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.

Earlier this week, Art-Is-In Bakery, a popular eatery in Ottawa, posted a ‘black-tile’ for #BlackoutTuesday on its Instagram page. Stephanie Mathieson owns the business, along with her husband,

“We’re a family run business, and IG is run by a few members of this family, I posted the black square.”

Then, according to Mathieson, another family member created a promotional post – celebrating the stores re-opening; something that you are not supposed to do once you post a “black-tile” on social media; creating a backlash.

“Unfortunate that we hurt people along the way, and we are terribly, very sorry about this… We made a mistake, but our heart was at the right place; we deeply care what happened, that’s why we posted the black square in the first place.”

Comments then flooded the Art-Is-In Bakery Instagram account. Makda Kidane used to shop at Art-Is-In and she left comments, which were deleted. According to her, she was then blocked by Art-Is-In.

“We put money in your pocket, we support your business; we share this business with other people when I have my friends coming in from out of town, it’s an establishment that I frequent with them, and it was disappointing that they don’t see the value in our dollar or our voice.”

Kidane does not think the use of the “black-tile” is appropriate, if used along side a marketing campaign,

“The plight of black people is not a trend; it is our life, it is our reality; and, we need allies and we don’t need people to just follow a trend.”

Yodit Haile also saw the post, comments, and then the deletion.

“What they did was wrong; it’s clear that they used the Black Lives Matter movement for their own benefit, for their own advertising, and that’s not what this movement is about.”

Art-Is-In deleted the post, now making their Instagram page private.

SO HOW SHOULD BUSINESSES USE THE BLACK TILE?

“There’s no appropriate way to use that,” says Boulou Ebanda de B’béri, Professor of Media, Communication, and Cultural Studies at the University of Ottawa’s Department of Communication, whose areas of expertise include history, culture, and racism in Canada.

“When some businesses, particularly white businesses – white owned businesses are trying to all of a sudden become black, that is problematic; there is not an appropriate way to recycle pain.”

He says that businesses should participate more with their actions – who they hire, and who they employ in management positions.

As for Art-Is-In?

Mathieson says, “All our intention by posting this black square were good; it came from a concerned and caring place.”

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New works selected for Yukon Permanent Art Collection – Whitehorse Star

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Eleven new artworks have been selected for the Yukon Permanent Art Collection, the territorial government said Thursday.

By Whitehorse Star on June 4, 2020

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