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Even with matches, Scouts learn starting campfires is an art – Owen Sound Sun Times

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Corbin Smith, 11, and Jeremy Lewis, 12, both of the 1st Owen Sound Scouts, learn how hard it is to make a fire with a plank of wood, a knife and matches at the 57th annual Scout campout in Harrison Park on Saturday, January 25, 2020 in Owen Sound, Ont. Scott Dunn/The Owen Sound Sun Times/Postmedia Network

Maybe you think all you need is a match to start a fire.

Tell that to the Scouts who tried and tried again to build self-sustaining fires using only matches, a small wooden plank and a knife Saturday.

Down in Harrison Park at the 57thannual Scout campout, 104 Scouts and leaders took part in fun events including building fires, lashing, sawing logs, and the rescue mission, a culmination of the self-sufficiency training all Scouts get.

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It was a grey, damp and cool day. Scattered drops of rain added extra challenge to the fire-building event. The air smelled of wood smoke though, so fire was possible.

Corbin Smith, 11, and Jeremy Lewis, 12, both with the 1stOwen Sound Scouts, were given 10 minutes to get a fire going. They used three matches. When the first one went out, they used a second to light the first like kindling, then came the third.

After seven minutes of trying, their fire sustained for a minute. Just starting a fire earned points. Using fewer matches scored more points. Each minute the fire lasted added more points too.

The trick demonstrated later was to take a piece of the quarter-inch-thick plank supplied. With a very sharp knife, slice thin peels of wood, creating a flayed piece of wood containing a series of shavings. Whittle similar types of tinder, assemble into a tepee and light.

One year a Scout did all of that and created a sustained fire in two minutes.


At the 57th annual Scout campout in Harrison Park, Scout leaders Jeff Bowen, left, of the 1st Mildmay Scouts, and Nick Noseworthy, of the 4th Orangeville Scouts, hold in their hands wood carefully carved such that it will catch fire more easily and sustain a fire on Saturday, January 25, 2020 in Owen Sound, Ont. Scott Dunn/The Owen Sound Sun Times/Postmedia Network

Afterwards, Jeremy said it was fun. “I don’t get to start fires that often at home because, like any other parent, (they) would just tell you no,” he said. “You definitely get to learn a lot, by people who know what they’re doing.”

“And you get to meet new friends. That’s definitely one thing.”

Corbin, in his second year of Scouting, said it’s taught him a lot too, including how to use a knife safely. They’re practical things he’ll need someday, Corbin said.

Each safety skill certification must be earned. Once achieved, a permission card is awarded, to use a knife, hatchet or to build a fire. Getting caught using unsafe practices incurs a penalty though. After four penalties, the permission card must be surrendered until requalification is achieved for a new one.

The boys said they enjoy camping – this was about their fourth campout this year – and the chance to meet new people, including from the United States.

None came from the U.S. this year because they come every other year. But the Scouts decided to fly the U.S. flag and sing the American national anthem as a gesture of kinship, camp director Len Cox said.

Still, Scouts from Collingwood, Barrie, Lucknow, Hanover, Owen Sound, Chesley, Mildmay, Flesherton, Orangeville and Oshawa slept in tents at the back of the park and enjoyed being young boys and girls from different places, all on the same weekend campout.

Scouting isn’t as big as it once was though.

Troops in Walkerton and Kincardine have folded and troop numbers have been declining, 1stMildmay Scout leader Jeff Bowen said. He brought five Scouts from Mildmay, population about 1,000. He brought three more from Chesley.

Yet Scouting is growing in Orangeville, said 4thOrangeville Scout troop leader Nick Noseworthy, where population and demographics provide fertile ground for the youth self-improvement organization founded in 1907 by British Lt.-Gen. Robert Baden-Powell.

Sometimes it’s more because of a lack of volunteer leaders, including behind-the-scenes volunteers doing office work, Bowen and Noseworthy said. “I like sharing what I know. I like teaching kids. I like camping,” Noseworthy offered.

Kids’ skills aren’t as developed coming into Scouting as when Bowen and Noseworthy entered, they said. And conversations around the campfire tend more towards online gaming now.

“They also have a passion to come out here and be outdoors and learn new skills,” Noseworthy said.

“Because it’s not just learning about knots and fires, it’s responsibility. It’s taking ownership of their stuff, of other people, of taking care of other people, friendship. It’s life skills . . . It’s stuff they can take with them for the rest of their lives.”


Ryan Johnson, of Berkeley, helped members of the 1st Flesherton Scouts build a double igloo — one for the girls and one for the boys — at the 57th annual Scout campout in Harrison Park on Saturday, January 25, 2020 in Owen Sound, Ont. A tarp protected the top from rain but the Scouts reported sleeping in the igloo was too hot, and quiet. Scott Dunn/The Owen Sound Sun Times/Postmedia Network

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Toronto Biennial of Art Appoints Curators – Galleries West

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The Toronto Biennial of Art has appointed Montreal curator Dominique Fontaine and Peruvian curator Miguel A. López as co-curators of its 2024 edition.

Fontaine, who was born in Haiti, is a founding director of aposteriori, a non-profit curatorial platform that produces diverse and innovative contemporary art. Her projects include curating Between the earth and the sky, the possibility of everything for Scotiabank Nuit Blanche in Toronto in 2014, and co-curating the survey exhibition Here, We Are Here: Black Canadian Contemporary, which showed at the Royal Ontario Museum and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 2018. 

López worked as chief curator, and later as co-director, of TEOR/éTica in San José, Costa Rica, from 2015 to 2020. In 2019, he curated the retrospective exhibition Cecilia Vicuña: Seehearing the Enlightened Failure at the Witte de With (now Kunstinstituut Melly) in Rotterdam. The exhibition travelled to Mexico City, Madrid and Bogota. 

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Patrizia Libralato, the biennial’s executive director, said the two curators will contribute scholarship, innovation and inspiration to deepen the event’s connections to both local communities and global conversations.

“Together, we aim to create an event as uniquely diverse, responsive, challenging and engaging as the city itself,” she said.

The biennial, which will run from Sept. 21 to Dec. 1, 2024, attracted more then 450,000 visitors to its first two editions, which featured free programming across the city. 

It has featured work by artists such as AA Bronson, Judy Chicago, Brian Jungen, Tanya Lukin Linklater, Kapwani Kiwanga, Caroline Monnet, Denyse Thomasos and Camille Turner.


Source: Toronto Biennial of Art

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Football and art come together in the first NFT exhibition of its kind

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–  The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture’s From Strike to Stroke exhibit features 64 FIFA World Cup match results in a unique man-machine collaboration

DHAHRAN, Saudi Arabia, Dec. 6, 2022 /CNW/ — The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) celebrates the art of the beautiful game in a unique exhibition at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. From Strike to Stroke features 64 NFTs by 32 artists from the competing nations, while Artificial Intelligence (AI) fuses the pieces from the contending two countries in each of the 64 matches into a unique piece based on the match outcome. The result will be a singular collection of one-of-a-kind NFTs created through a collaboration of man and machine. Strike to Stroke runs at the Msheireb Galleria Doha, Qatar until December 23.

Ithra, a cultural bridge between Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world, channels the world’s passion for football into its infatuation with the arts as the world comes together for the World Cup. The exhibition melds the man-made with the machine-made, and combines art, sport and technology in an innovative fashion.

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It features the work of 32 emerging and established artists, each tasked with creating a piece representing their country and using their respective team’s jersey colors. After each match, the AI-powered algorithm combines the artists’ creations with match statistics to generate unique pieces that represent each game. The collection will be a unique set of pieces presented as NFTs – non-fungible tokens. These cryptographic assets are based on blockchain technology, and created in a process similar to cryptocurrencies.

From Strike to Stroke includes artists who have never created NFTs and NFT artists who had not worked within traditional fine art.

“The passion shared by football fans for the love of the beautiful game can be tangential to the passion shared by art aesthetes,” said Dr. Shurooq Amin in her curator’s brief to the exhibition. “By connecting 32 artists from both the traditional and digital arenas, Ithra not only bridges the gap between Web2 to Web3, and between football and art, but furthermore between human and machine, as the artists collaborate with AI generation technology to create unique NFTs that combine art, football and technology.”

Visit www.striketostroke.com.

Images and exhibition catalogue can be found here.

For more information on Ithra and its programs, visit www.ithra.com.

Photo – https://mma.prnewswire.com/media/1961775/Ithra_World_Cup_NFTs.jpg

SOURCE King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra)

For further information: Media contacts: Nour Aldajani, [email protected], +966-583268120, Nora Al Harthi, [email protected], Domia Abdi, [email protected], Hadeel Eisa, [email protected]

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Richard Serra’s art installation hard to miss in Qatar desert, once you get there

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Depending on the direction you approach, you see only part of the art. As you get closer, the dark plates get bigger and bigger and you get to see all four.The Canadian Press

Art stands tall in the desert some 75 kilometres northwest of Doha.

You need a rugged vehicle and no small resolve to find it, given signage is almost non-existent. The last few kilometres take time as you cross the desert on a slightly flattened but irregular path well away from the closest blacktop. Proceed with caution.

But East-West/West-East by American sculptor Richard Serra is worth the effort.

Completed in 2014, the installation comprises four giant steel plates – the outer two stand 16.7 metres high and the inner two 14.7 metres – and span more than a kilometre. Slightly different in height, to compensate for the difference in ground level, they line up like enormous fence posts in the barren desert flanked by gypsum plateaus at some points.

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If not the middle of nowhere, it’s well on the way.

Possibly the last place on earth you’d expect to see “one of the most significant artists of his generation,” as Serra is dubbed by the Gagosian Gallery which has showcased his work in both New York and France.

“Taking art to the people,” is how Qatar Museums, the country’s arts and culture arm, explains it.

Depending on the direction you approach, you see only part of the art. As you get closer, the dark plates get bigger and bigger and you get to see all four.

“After the perceptual bombardment of Doha, with its architecture dominated by idiosyncratic shapes and kitschy facades, the sensuous experience prompted by the rigorous abstraction of the (desert) sculpture is at once bracing and sensitizing,” wrote Artforum magazine.

“Serra reminds the viewer, like 19th-century German Romantic artists such as Caspar David Friedrich, of man’s frailty in the face of nature’s omnipotence,” added Numero magazine.

For non art-critics, imagine the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey on steroids and times four in the desert. Stand next to one and you feel like an ant – a very hot ant under the blazing Qatari sun.

You’ll also likely be alone, albeit under review from what seemed like security in a nearby pickup truck.

The 84-year-old Serra, who worked in steel mills during college, is known for his large-scale abstract steel sculptures.

There is another in Doha itself. A sculpture called 7 – the number seven has spiritual significance in Islamic culture – was commissioned by Qatar Museums.

Built out of seven steel plates, it faces the sea at MIA Park, adjacent to the Museum of Islamic Art.

Like a billionaire stocking his mansion with objets d’art, the government of Qatar has dug deep into its oil-filled coffers to decorate the country with world-class art.

There are big-ticket art works all over.

In 2013, Qatar Museums Authority head Sheikha al-Mayassa al-Thani, the daughter of the emir of Qatar, was listed atop ArtReview magazine’s annual Power 100 list “on account of her organization’s vast purchasing power and willingness to spend at a rate estimated to be US$1-billion a year – in order to get top works of art for its Doha museums,” ArtReview said.

Le Pouce, a giant golden thumb by French artist Cesar Baldaccini, is front and centre in Doha’s Souq Waqif market. French-American artist Louise Bourgeois’ Maman, a giant spider that can also be found outside Ottawa’s National Gallery of Canada, stands inside the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC), which doubles as the World Cup’s main press centre.

Another edition of Maman, one of seven, was sold for US$32-million by Christie’s in 2019.

“The Miraculous Journey” by English artist Damien Hirst is hard to miss outside Sidra Medicine centre just down the street from the QNCC. The 14 monumental bronze sculptures chronicle the gestation of a fetus inside a uterus, from conception to birth – ending with a statue of a 14-metre-tall anatomically correct baby boy.

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Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 5, 2022

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