Connect with us

Art

Egan: Science, beauty and the art of medicine — a departing doctor reflects – Ottawa Citizen

Published

 on


Dr. Dehejia has been collecting art of all kinds for decades, turning his second-floor offices into a shifting gallery of exhibit rooms. (There is scarcely any medical equipment here, to be honest, or else it’s hidden away.)

Article content

For the minute, Dr. Harsha V. Dehejia doesn’t want to talk about his 51 years as an allergist on Elgin Street; or his second PhD in Hindu culture; or his 25 years teaching at Carleton University; or the 35 or so books he has authored; or how his wife delivered Justin Trudeau; or how he helped found CKCU, where he’s had a radio show forever; or how he drives a VW Beetle.

Advertisement

Article content

For a second, he wants to talk about the “oar” — a mini canoe paddle, really — that sits in the corner of a waiting area in the Lego-like set of rooms where he has practised medicine since 1971.

“The beautiful, you see, is part of my life.”

The paddle was painted by Donnell Taylor, an Ojibwa Cree who essentially saved himself through art. The self-taught artist was a fixture for years on Elgin, where the sidewalk became his studio, merchants his friends. The good doctor asked Taylor to paint him a paddle, all the more cherished after Taylor died unexpectedly in February, age 59.

He is showing me the vibrant colours and symbolic animals, as though this is the most important thing he will do today. “I find great resonance with Indigenous people here because they make beauty, they make art, a part of their lives.”

Advertisement

Article content

Dr. Dehejia has been collecting art of all kinds for decades, turning his second-floor offices into a shifting gallery of exhibit rooms. (There is scarcely any medical equipment here, to be honest, or else it’s hidden away.)

There were only a handful of allergy specialists in Ottawa when he began practising with field pioneer Dr. Lazarus Loeb (yes, of the prominent family) in 1971. But, at age 83, it’s time to pin up his needles.

He will be vacating the offices sometime in November, ending an era, closing a practice that has combined science and beauty in pursuit of the art of medicine.

(Is there another doctor in Ottawa who would say: “I love potters. Pottery is a primal art everywhere in the world, especially India … You can describe your life by using this pot as an example,” pointing to a painting of a “wish-fulfilling” tree.)

Advertisement

Article content

Born in a privileged family in Mumbai, he originally wanted to become a writer, until he broke the news to his father. “He gave me a look and said: ‘There is no such thing. You become a doctor.’”

So doctoring it was. He studied in India, then Cambridge, England, and had a stint at Bellevue Hospital in New York. When he became accredited in Ottawa, he said he didn’t know much about allergies and asthma, but Dr. Loeb told him: “I’ll teach you.”

Within a short period, he had a patient waiting list that stretched to 18 months, as the field was exploding. It’s a curious thing about allergies that, maybe 50 years ago, hardly anybody had them and now hardly anybody doesn’t. He mentioned, sadly, 14 of his patients who died of peanut allergies over the years.

Advertisement

Article content

He lamented that modern medicine is all about ordering a battery of tests on ever-advancing diagnostic equipment, as though patients are a medical problem.

“My regret is the art of medicine has gone down,” he said. “By that I mean talking to a person … The patient may have no physical signs that you’re going to diagnose with a blood test or a CT scan, and yet he’s not well.

“So, talk to them.”

Dr. Harsha Dehejia, an allergist, has been practising medicine on Elgin Street for 50 years and is closing his office.
Dr. Harsha Dehejia, an allergist, has been practising medicine on Elgin Street for 50 years and is closing his office. Photo by Jean Levac /Postmedia

He pointed to a system where patients and relatives must endure eight- and 10-hour waits in ER departments where nearly every player is frazzled, seniors care that amounts to soulless warehousing, and doctor relationships where no one can be hugged.

“Elder care? They don’t need medicine, they need love and compassion.”

Hinduism and the study of its aesthetic is an essential part of his life, a personal passion, as evidenced by him donating his teaching salary to Carleton to further religious studies.

Advertisement

Article content

“Ancient Indian culture is my soul.” He and his wife Sudha, a pediatrician, spend several months a year in India, where he says the poorest person, someone with nothing, will still try to decorate their shanty with something beautiful, even if just a flower.

And so he’s feeling nostalgic these days about Elgin Street, remembering the Party Palace where Moe, the short-order cook, knew his lunch order from memory, and Boushey’s, where he knew the staff by name, or the Mayflower, another haunt, or the little old post office where he caught up on news.

“The chit-chats of the world have gone,” he said. “Even on the phone. Press one for this, two for that, three for this, then on hold for 25 minutes.”

So true — the 25 minutes, the 51 years — all that time, where did it all go?

To contact Kelly Egan, please call 613-291-6265 or email kegan@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/kellyegancolumn

Advertisement

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.

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Art

In the boreal forest, nature inspires art – Prince Albert Daily Herald

Published

 on


Greg Hardy stands in front of just part of his exhibition titled La Ronge Drawings at the Mann Art Gallery. The exhibition is on until mid-January.

The outside has come inside at the Mann Art Gallery, with simultaneous displays from several artists who draw their inspiration from nature albeit in different ways.

For Ken Van Rees, it was walking through a burnt patch of forest near South End (Reindeer Lake) that caused him to wonder what he could do with charcoal and canvas.

“As I was walking through the forest, I looked down at my pants, they were light-coloured, and there were all these charcoal markings on them,” said Van Rees during a reception held by the gallery on Nov. 26. “I thought, oh, maybe I could do something with this and this started this long journey of creating art from burnt forest.”

Van Rees allows the forest, wind and time to do some of the work for him. He puts a canvas down in a chosen spot, puts a burned log on top and then comes back days, weeks or months later to see what has happened.

He has also set up a game camera and was interested to see the wildlife that stopped and took a sniff or walked on the canvas.

“There were all these animals looking at my artwork. There were deer, there were bears walking across my artwork. There were wolves walking around,” Van Rees said.

Where most people avoid burned areas of nature and look for lush, green landscape, the fiery side of nature has a more visual appeal for him.

“Most of us prefer a green forest. That’s what we like to go camping in or hiking in. For me, because I worked on forest fires when I was a teenager and I had that first experience with forest fires, it somehow resonated with me,” he said.

Ken Van Rees stands beside two painting drawn by nature – literally – after he left a burned piece of wood on a canvas in the wilderness at Fort a la Corne for five months. The two canvases were the result. Photo Susan McNeil

Van Rees’ art can be found at the Mann Art Gallery until January 15 and is an accompaniment to the work of well known artist Greg Hardy.

In contrast to the more muted colours in Van Rees’ work, Hardy’s in some cases has bursts of orange and other bright colours.

“This is a show of drawings from the La Ronge area, where I have a cabin up on an island,” said Hardy.

About four years ago, Hardy was talking to the then director of the Mann gallery and agreed to a showing of his drawings.

With changes in staff at the gallery and the pandemic, it took time for the exhibition to come together, but it is now displayed.

Some of the drawings were done decades ago and some are more recent but the focus on the natural world is shared with Van Rees.

“I have an affinity for the natural world and I paint a lot of things, but I always come back to its landscape that moves me the most as subject matter,” said Hardy.

Hardy’s career has been established for some time and he makes it his full time occupation, sharing his time between La Ronge and his main studio near Saskatoon.

“Realistically, this is a small sampling of the drawings that I have because I draw all the time,” Hardy explained.  “It’s primarily the landscape,” he said of his decision to work in northern Saskatchewan. “We used to go up further north and do a lot of canoe trips and it had always been a dream or a hope to have a wilderness cabin at some point.”

An architect from Prince Albert had the cabin available for sale and so Hardy was able to buy it.

“As soon as I saw it, I was just like this is amazing,” he said. “The subject matter was all around and I knew it was going to be very positive.”

Hardy paints or draws where ever he is, and mainly draws inspiration from the plains before focusing on the forest.

“This was like a 15 year concentration on Lac La Ronge and it still feels like a positive source of inspiration,” he said. “But having said that, I’m shifting gears and going to go back to the plains.”

He looks for good quality light when he paints and also looks for energy.

“The more dramatic the landscape the better. I feel more in tune with what’s going on if there’s a storm or a pending storm,” Hardy explained.

“And I’ve always been taken with the sky, since I was a little kid.”

A third display is up at the gallery for the duration of the exhibition featuring Hardy along with Van Rees.

Title ‘The Secret is in the Paper’, the collection was curated by collections assistant Breanne Bandur and is focused on different approaches to the treatment of paper.

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Art

Princess Diana photo exhibition tours three U.S. cities

Published

 on

A new exhibition featuring photographs of the late Princess Diana will be on display in three U.S. cities starting in December.

Princess Diana Exhibition: Accredited Access” gives a candid view of Diana through the eyes of Anwar Hussein, the longest-serving British royal photographer, and his two sons Zak and Samir Hussein, also photographers. Anwar Hussein took photos of Diana from when she became a public figure until her death in 1997.

“You get to walk through and see a proper journey of how Diana progressed throughout her life from being just a shy, innocent girl to then moving on to being a fashion icon and a humanitarian,” said Zak Hussein, promoting the exhibition in Santa Monica, California.

Visitors are given a phone and headphones so they can read and hear commentary about the significance of each image.

“You get to hear from myself and my brother the stories behind the pictures,” said Zak. “It’s not your regular exhibition of just looking at pictures on the wall … It’s got that more documentary feel about it.”

Zak hopes to educate people about the ways Princess Diana changed the royals. For example, Diana rarely wore gloves.

“Beforehand, it was quite normal for the royals to wear gloves when touching members of the public and it’s something that Diana didn’t do. She wanted to really feel the person and that emotions come across through touch,” said Zak.

Anwar Hussein is widely credited with conveying a more candid view of the royals. Zak said his father excelled at capturing authentic glimpses of the subject’s personality, and advised him to do the same.

“People like to see more candid, more relaxed images of the royals and it’s something that again you can see in this exhibition,” Zak said.

The exhibition by the Husseins goes on display in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York from Dec. 1.

 

(Reporting by Rollo Ross; Editing by Karishma Singh and Cynthia Osterman)

Continue Reading

Art

Aberdeen Art Gallery wins architecture award – Museums Association

Published

 on


Aberdeen Art Gallery has been named Scotland’s building of the year following its recent £36.4m redevelopment.

The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) announced that the gallery had won the 2021 Andrew Doolan Best Building in Scotland Award on 30 November.

Aberdeen City Council’s flagship cultural venue was designed by Hoskins Architects. The redevelopment, which was completed in late 2019, involved refurbishing and extending the 19th-century building.

The project involved new exhibition and education spaces, upgraded building services and environmental performance, and improved art handling, storage, back of house and study facilities. Aberdeen Art Gallery is an A-listed building.

Chris Coleman-Smith, director at Hoskins Architects, said: “The team has done an exceptional job of subtly and sensitively restoring original features of the 19th-century building and improving fabric performance, alongside confident alteration and the bold addition of new elements that enhance the visitor experience, knitting together a thread of careful conservation and the requirements of a world class, 21st-century gallery.”

The annual Doolan Award is assessed by an expert jury who look at each project’s architectural integrity, usability and context, delivery and execution, and sustainability. All types of building are eligible for the award, which is named in memory of its founder and patron, the architect/developer Andy Doolan, who died in 2004. The architects of the winning building receive a £10,000.

Aberdeen Art Gallery’s redevelopment was completed in 2019© Dapple Photography/Gillian Hayes

RIAS president Christina Gaiger PRIAS said: “Aberdeen Art Gallery is an outstanding building and a highly deserving winner of the 2021 Doolan Award. Hoskins Architects have brought a piece of Scottish heritage into the 21st century with humility, skill and sensitivity.

“In the face of the climate emergency, how we upgrade, respect and adapt our existing building stock is absolutely crucial. In Aberdeen Art Gallery we have an outstanding example of how a public building, thanks to the talent of Hoskins Architects and far-sighted clients Aberdeen City Council, exemplifies the smart re-use of an existing building, as part of a collective regenerative response to climate change.”

The redevelopment of the gallery was supported by Aberdeen City Council, which provided £14.6m, and the National Lottery Heritage Fund, which contributed £10m. Energy company BP donated £1m to the project.

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Trending