Connect with us

Art

'Kind of a small miracle': Winnipeg-born actor at the helm of charity art auction for Ukraine – CBC.ca

Published

 on


Olena Kayinska was forced to put down her paintbrush at the end of February.

The Ukrainian artist was in the middle of a project when Russian troops invaded her country, prompting her to leave her studio and stay with her mother.

Thoughts of returning to art seemed like a luxury amid all the death and destruction, but the events also provided material for the project she had to unexpectedly abandon six months ago.

Now, some of her pieces are among those featured in a global online auction co-organized by a former Winnipegger.

“In a mystical way, it’s very connected to the war,” Kayinska said in a phone interview from Lviv, Ukraine. The project titled Trauma explores the theme of recovery.

With her career in limbo, Kayinska knew she needed to do something that would not only occupy her time, but give her the ability to help her people. So she joined Doctors Without Borders as an interpreter and project manager with the humanitarian organization.

“Psychologically, it’s easier to overcome this fear and loss of war when you’re surrounded with people and when you are doing something useful,” she said.

Olena Kayinska is an artist based in Lviv and has submitted eight pieces to be included in the Fight With Art global art auction including this piece from 2020 called Desert Sand Witches. (The Canadian Press)

Another calling, this time more in line with Kayinska’s roots, came in spring when members of FestivALT, a Krakow-based Jewish arts and activism organization, reached out on social media to see if she wanted to be part of global art auction called Fight with Art.

Winnipeg-born actor and playwright Michael Rubenfeld, who now lives in Krakow, Poland, is co-director of the auction along with James Arellano, who is from California.

Rubenfeld got a close-up view of the war’s frightening effects as many fleeing western Ukraine crossed over the border to seek refuge in Poland. He and his wife took in a Ukrainian woman and her mother soon after the invasion. Their home quickly filled with tourniquets, bandages and other supplies as the woman led efforts to collect supplies to distribute to the Ukrainian army.

It was clear the war’s effects didn’t end at the border and the art collective needed to pivot, said Rubenfeld.

“There was just so much news and so much noise about the war that we wanted to ensure that there was also a contribution of the human element, the cultural element to also keep people rooted in the fact that we’re dealing with humans,” he said.

‘Small miracle’ transporting art amid war

The team came up with the idea to host an online global art auction to showcase and support Ukrainian artists whose careers had been halted, as well as financially support charities assisting with war relief.

They were able to source more than 130 pieces of original artwork from roughly 40 artists across Ukraine.

It was no small feat.

The team had to figure out how to get art out of a country at war.

They built a network of people to help. Their goal was to get everything to Lviv in western Ukraine, where they had two storehouses. The art was then transported by truck to Krakow. It took about two months to collect everything.

“It was kind of a small miracle that we managed to get it all here,” said Rubenfeld. “When the final truck came, we were just so overjoyed that it arrived because you never know with a country at war.” 

The collection includes pieces done before and after the war started.

Artists are fighting to preserve their culture and people against genocide, and the auction is a way to show the world what Ukraine is through art, said Rubenfeld.

“The exchange is not that you bought a piece of art, it’s that you’ve actually contributed to a people who are trying to preserve their country and culture.”

Works reflect artists’ resolve 

For Nata Levitasova, practising art has become a form of therapy.

“Art has helped me feel a little less pain and now it [takes] my attention from war to art,” she said by phone from the Carpathian Mountains in Ukraine.

The artist, whose style reflects neocubism and geometric simplification, submitted 10 paintings to the auction. All pieces were created before the invasion, but she has since created a series called “PAINted,” which reflects themes of war.

The auction goes until Sept. 4. 

Back in Lviv, Kayinska says Russian attacks have diminished. She has been able to develop four pieces about the war for her “Trauma” project. While the future remains uncertain, she hopes to one day exhibit the project internationally.

Artwork coming out of Ukraine is showing the true spirit, strength and resistance of artists, she says.

“The art shows things that we just now are starting to reveal in ourselves.”

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Art

This project brought art and quirky commentary to Calgary's parking lots – CBC.ca

Published

 on


If you noticed art displays popping up around Calgary this weekend, you weren’t the only one. 

On Saturday and Sunday, Calgary-based artists took over several parking lots with art projects built into and around a number of vehicles that traveled throughout the city. 

The exhibition, dubbed Idle Worship, is a mobile showcase of art and performance in trunks, back seats, box trucks, minivans, and automobiles, designed specifically for the context of parking lots across the greater Calgary area. 

“We dedicate a lot of our cities to roads and parking lots and these spaces, I think, could be more absurd,” said Caitlind Brown, an organizer and part of the artist-driven project.

“[The spaces] could be weirder and come with more conversations.”

The movement brought art to unsuspecting crowds near malls, big-box stores and grocery shops.

Keith Murray’s piece about “neutrality and nothing” was among those that were set up over the weekend. (Helen Pike/CBC)

People were climbing into a U-Haul, peeking in car windows — and jumping into the mouth of an unidentified species. 

Abebe Kebede was just out to grab a coffee with a friend when he noticed something next to him.

While they were chatting in the car, one of the art pieces was set up right beside them. 

“When I saw that [being set up], I thought, ‘what, I have to go see it,'” he said. “It looked like a weird animal’s mouth opening, it’s so amazing, I really like it.”

The exhibit popped up in every one of Calgary’s quadrants.

Idle Worship has a performance art component, too. One artist sat in his vehicle with dirt and flowers, giving the viewers a choice: water the plant or water the boy. 

And there was some tongue and cheek commentary.

Khalid Omokanye said his piece is about ‘greenwashing’, a popular marketing tactic that brands use to give the impression that their business practices are sustainable and fight climate change, without actually reducing greenhouse gas emissions. (Helen Pike/CBC)

Khalid Omokanye said his piece is about greenwashing— a popular marketing tactic that brands use to give the impression that their business practices are sustainable and fight climate change, without actually reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

His project is housed in the back of a pick-up truck.

“I made a little sculpture there, that drops seeds as I am driving, potentially planting a forest in my wake,” he said. “So this vehicle becomes no longer an issue because it plants enough trees to fix its problems.” 

Given the circumstances of the art show, Brown was surprised that there were no issues at all. 

“This has been a remarkably problem-free exhibition, considering we are literally just touching down in parking lots without asking for permission from the property owners, and then getting up and driving away,” she said. 

“The great thing about this exhibition is that if there had been any problems, we could’ve just packed up and left.”

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Art

Vancouver Art Gallery protest condemns Iran regime | CTV News – CTV News Vancouver

Published

 on


An afternoon rally was held at the Vancouver Art Gallery Sunday following the death of a 22-year-old Iranian woman while in police custody.

Mahsa Amini died earlier this month in police custody, after being detained by the morality police for allegedly wearing her hijab incorrectly. Her family says she was beaten by police. Officials say she died of a heart attack.

Since her death on Sept. 16, protests and rallies have erupted in Iran and around the world.

“People are frustrated,” said Farad Soofi, an Iranian-Canadian who also attended the UN General Assembly in New York last week to protest the Iranian regime.

“They’re coming to say, ‘We don’t want that regime.’”

Chants of “women, life, freedom” could be heard coming from the crowd.

“It has always been like this in Iran,” said Lena Kruk, who moved to Vancouver from Iran four years ago.

“It is an anti-women kind of regime.”

Clashes between Iranian protesters and security forces have turned deadly, and the government has restricted the population’s internet access to help prevent more demonstrations. https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/at-least-9-killed-as-iran-protests-spread-over-woman-s-death-1.6079121

Iranian-Canadian Amir Takbash says he’s been unable to speak with his family.

“It’s really hard. I haven’t heard from my mom for more than a week and it’s really, really hard for us here,” said Takbash.

“You just feel so bad,” said Kruk. “I feel like, you know, I couldn’t stop crying.”

“It’s heartbreaking to not be there with them, to not fight with them,” said Iranian-Canadian Parisa Moshfegh.

“So we’re going to do whatever we can from here.”

Despite living thousands of kilometres away, some in the crowd said they’re still fearful of protesting against the current regime.

“Even in the protest in Vancouver, a lot of people are wearing masks because they are afraid of being recognized. This is how much we are scared of speaking out,” said Moshfegh.

The rally spilled out onto Georgia Street, with thousands of people chanting and holding signs while marching for several blocks.

Vancouver police tweeted that the public should avoid the area as officers work to keep traffic flowing.

Several people at Saturday’s protest told CTV News that more rallies are being planned for next weekend.  

Adblock test (Why?)



Source link

Continue Reading

Art

Montreal percussive dancers step in to tell stories of Black art and history – Montreal Gazette

Published

 on


Children are always in motion. Yet when they experience it in rhythm, they are linked with their peers in an intangible way, Kayin Queeley says.

Article content

Kayin Queeley expresses himself with his entire body. One can feel his enthusiasm in every sweep of his hand, in the set of his shoulders and the widening of his eyes.

Advertisement 2

Article content

He uses language that echoes his passion in phrases like “tapping into” and “taking the step” and “resonance.”

Article content

Queeley is the director of the Montreal Steppers, a team that uses their bodies to create rhythms and beats. The non-profit percussive dance group performs for themselves, for the community and visits schools for workshops and discussions that Queeley says quickly become “next-level.”

Percussive dance has origins in West Africa. It was a form of celebration and communication among slaves in North America and became popular among Black fraternities in the 1940s and ’50s, making its way to Canada by the ’90s.

Queeley, who is now a crisis case manager for students at McGill University, joined and went on to lead a stepping team while doing his undergrad in Upstate New York in 2007.

Advertisement 3

Article content

“What I didn’t realize then,” Queeley says, “was that stepping was going to introduce me to part of my history, a rich art form rooted in blackness, rooted in Black expression, Black healing. These are ways we are communicating with each other. For me, it was very superficial at first. It was cool, it looked good. Yet it has meant so much more for us.”

Although he had fallen away from stepping by the time he moved to Montreal with his wife in 2014, the need to “keep the art form alive and keep the passion of using my body to make music” was never far from his thoughts. Montreal Steppers was formed in 2019 and has 18 members, 13 of whom are active steppers, while the others take charge of such things as stage management, music direction, media, photography and spoken word.

Advertisement 4

Article content

When Queeley goes into a school for a workshop, the children will learn how to step. Yet the first thing he tells teachers is that he will allow the students to ask anything they want. A statement like that makes teachers nervous, he says, but he is blown away every time by the depth of conversation children set in motion.

He introduces himself and, with mid-elementary and older children, will begin, “About a hundred or so years ago (I’m just being generous), I would not be allowed to be in your classroom. The kids stop and say, ‘Mr. K., why?’ I say, because of my skin colour. At that time, although slavery had ended, there was segregation. Some ask, ‘What do you mean, what is that?’ It starts questions right away. As a Black man, I would not have been allowed into a white school. I would only have been allowed to teach at a Black school.”

Advertisement 5

Article content

In this way, the Steppers are bold about centring Black history and acknowledging what some children might not have had to think about. Kids, with their finely tuned sense of justice, “call out what is wrong,” he says. The workshops are wrapped up by talking about people’s differences and the importance of appreciating them.

Children stomp and clap, they walk and clap, they are almost always in motion. Yet when they experience it in rhythm, they are linked with their peers in an intangible way, Queeley says.

“We use our bodies to tell the story of stepping and history. We use the art form as a starting point to have dialogues and conversations around blackness, Black art, Black history, Black importance, around creating a safe space and taking up space for ourselves.”

Advertisement 6

Article content

It has been healing for the Montreal Steppers, Queeley says.

“As we dissect deeper into stepping, we connect the history. We recognize that this is not new. This has always been part of our ancestors’ expression. Going back to 14th century, back to West Africa before these folks were displaced against their will and brought to this North American context, these were elements of expression they were tapping into.”

The only time Queeley grasps for words is when attempting to define the connection his team experiences while stepping.

“Some folks say, ‘As you step on the ground, as you hit your body, you’re activating your land and you’re waking up your ancestors. It’s something we can’t really describe. … We’re tapping into something our ancestors laid down.”

Advertisement 7

Article content

The team has done more than 300 workshops and has met close to 10,000 students, Queeley says. It is one way they want to sow into Montreal communities.

“We want people to see us and know who we are: ‘This is in response to everything you have said about Black people and believe about us.’ We are incredible. We are gifted. We are intelligent. We are impressive.”

***

AT A GLANCE

The Montreal Steppers are part of the English Language Arts Network’s education program, wherein schools are granted an amount to invite artists to hold workshops.

The Steppers have made an intentional decision to not do any workshops during Black History Month, to avoid being tokenized or made a checklist item. They use that time to focus on their own healing.

Advertisement 8

Article content

The group has set a fundraising goal of $4,000 for the month of September. The money will go directly to four community groups that have identified specific needs. The Steppers want their performances to be accessible and therefore not tied to fundraising, so donations are accepted online only. The groups benefiting are: The West Island Black Community Association’s robotics program; Côte-des-Neiges Black Association’s teen program; South Shore Youth Organization’s tutoring program; and Tinsdale Community Association’s high-school perseverance program.

“We want to continue to find ways to serve, teach, heal ourselves,” Queeley says. “Wherever this goes, if they feel a need to connect with us, we are happy to. We have seen the impact. We are very optimistic about what lies ahead.”

To donate, visit gofundme.com/f/q3pusj-back-to-school-fundraiser. More information can be found at montrealsteppers.com.

Sign up for our parenting and advice newsletter at montrealgazette.com/newsletters.

hjuhl@postmedia.com

twitter.com/hjuhl

  1. Dorothy Williams has dedicated more than 40 years of her life to documenting, archiving and telling the stories of the African presence in Canada as far back as the 16th century.

    Montreal’s Afromusée is the first museum of its kind in Quebec

  2. The Richmond 4-H square dance troupe holds up teacher Erin Scoble at a competition.

    Ponytails and suspenders: It’s hip to be a square dancer

Advertisement 1

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

Trending