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Let's Talk Trash: Art with heart – Powell River Peak

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When our creative juices are flowing, thinking about the toxicity or recyclability of art supplies may be the last thing on our mind.

Artistic expression is a powerful way to communicate, and we are feeling a lot these days, aren’t we? How can we best share our voice through art while also acknowledging its potential impact on the planet’s wellness?

Some of the most moving art actually takes what would otherwise be waste and incorporates it into a new life cycle.

Oddly, inspiration often comes from the purest of places: a walk in nature, a conversation with a loved one, or while listening to an inspiring speech. Finding ways to fully honour the natural world and the heart of humanity that moves us invites even more creativity – something artists are great at, thankfully.

Maybe this is a time to rethink our art habits and find more earth-friendly mediums. Using materials found in nature is a wonderful place to begin greening our creations.

Driftwood, fallen leaves, vines, shells, wave-sculpted rocks, animal pelts, sustainably harvested bark and found feathers are all works of art on their own. When collected with permission and used with respect they can find new expression as a dream catcher, drum, table centre, piece of jewellery, mobile and so much more.

Consider using sap, natural fibre twine and screws that can be removed when putting these elements together. By doing this, our art can one day become part of nature again.

Raiding a recycling box can be useful, too, especially for children’s art projects. Plastic egg cartons can be used for painting or storage for tiny art supplies. Old pieces of paper and cardboard are great for making signs and as informal canvases. Old magazines and flyers are perfect for making art collages or a vision board used as a visual representation for our intentions and dreams.

When paint and glue are involved, things, well, get stickier. Ditch the plastic glitter and aim for paints with low toxicity, not just for your little ones, but for the other creatures inevitably exposed to anything we flush down our drains. Wastewater treatment plants are generally unable to filter out such materials and, in fact, there are no requirements currently requiring them to do so.

Natural dyes are making a comeback and there are local dye masters in most communities. Get to know one or peruse the internet to learn how to make your fabric and textile dyes out of mushrooms, vegetables, roots and flowers. The results are compelling and the feel good vibes are hard to ignore.

If you must use paints regularly, do your diligence in finding the most earth-friendly sources, including considerations about how they are extracted, what chemicals are involved, what packaging they come in and how excesses are best disposed of.

Colouring books have become a modern day adult stress reducer during these times of increased anxiety and uncertainty. Refillable pens are out there and where they are not, there is a free recycling program available through TerraCycle’s writing instruments recycling program. Find out if you can start up a collection of these in your art studio or school. All qathet Regional District recycling depots accept these items for recycling.

The world needs more artists, not less. When you are moved to express through art that takes a physical form, consider how you might do this with the least impact on the earth.

Let’s Talk Trash is qathet Regional District’s waste reduction education program. For more information, email info@letstalktrash.ca.

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Local artists selected for Art in Public Places program – Stony Plain Reporter

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The City of Fort Saskatchewan has chosen to feature the work of two local artists as part of the annual Art in Public Places program.

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The Art in Public Places program began in 2005 as a way to “showcase local City of Fort Saskatchewan artists who have shown excellence in their body of work.”

City Council approved a budget for the purpose of purchasing a piece of art that will be displayed in a public place in Fort Saskatchewan for all residents and visitors to see and appreciate.

There are two submission categories: students, open to senior high school and post-secondary students who live in Fort Saskatchewan, and adults, open to any local artist over the age of 18. Any media including, but not limited to, watercolor, fibre arts, glass, ink, mixed media, photography, pottery, and sculpture are eligible.

“The City of Fort Saskatchewan is thrilled to announce the artwork and artist selected for the 2022 Art in Public Places Program,” the City announced in a press release this week.

The 2022 winning artwork in the student category is a framed painting titled Seventh Night, created by local student Emily Saxby.

The 2022 Art in Public Places winners were announced last week. Local student and artist Emily Saxby posed with her winning work, titled Seventh Night, a portrait of her idol Tyler Joseph– from band 21 Pilots. Photo Supplied.
The 2022 Art in Public Places winners were announced last week. Local student and artist Emily Saxby posed with her winning work, titled Seventh Night, a portrait of her idol Tyler Joseph– from band 21 Pilots. Photo Supplied.

The piece is a painting of her idol, Tyler Joseph, from the band 21 Pilots. “Emily looks up to him as he is a mental health advocate. This is her favourite painting she has done and the first portrait she was ever proud of,” the City’s statement explained.

The 2022 winning artwork in the adult category is a free-hand beaded piece on deer hide titled Angels Among Us, created by Métis resident Angela Hebert. “Her objective with this piece was to listen to the leather as it knew what needed to be done when the first 215 unmarked graves were found at the Kamloops Indian Residential School in British Columbia in 2021.”

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“The submissions received for 2022 demonstrate the varied talent that is here in Fort Saskatchewan. The Art in Public Places Program is one way in which we can celebrate and foster a love of the arts and of local artists,” said Fort Mayor, Gale Katchur.

The selected 2022 artwork was unveiled by Mayor Katchur at the Alberta Lottery Fund Art Gallery on Saturday, May 14.

“The heart and soul of any city or community is defined in part by what residents deem to be important for promoting their sense of well-being and for enhancing their quality of life. The extent to which arts and culture is celebrated and is an integral part of a community indicates how much well-being and quality of life is valued,” Katchur said.

“It is in the spirit of personal well-being, increased quality of life and community enhancement that City Council has approved an annual allotment to the Mayor’s budget for the purpose of purchasing up to two pieces of art, per year, to place on public display, for all residents and visitors to appreciate and enjoy. This has been made possible through the Art in Public Places Program.”

The Art in Public Places Gallery is located between the Lion’s Mane and the Fort Saskatchewan Pottery Guild’s Studio in the Dow Centennial Centre.

Previously selected artists’ work has been displayed at the Dow Centennial Centre Gallery, City Hall, Fort Saskatchewan Elementary School, Dr. Turner Lodge, and the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 27.

jhamilton@postmedia.com

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Addressing systemic issues through art — University Affairs – University Affairs

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Concordia professor curates historical exhibition of Black Canadian works.

Joana Joachim was still a student when the idea first came to her for a project highlighting Black Canadian art history. While doing her master’s in museum studies at Université de Montréal, she took part in a group residency at Artexte, an arts organization in downtown Montreal. The students developed a bibliography for Black and Asian Canadian art, in response to how those groups have faced exclusion from historically Eurocentric art institutions.

“I had the distinct feeling that we had only just scratched the surface, and I tucked that in the back of my mind as a thing to revisit someday.” She is now doing just that with Blackity, an exhibition that traces the major moments – and, importantly, gaps – in the story of Black artists in Canada. It launched at Artexte in September and will run until the end of June.

Dr. Joachim, who was recently appointed assistant professor of Black studies at Concordia University in art education, art history, and social justice, said the willingness of Artexte to address systemic issues in the art world was important to the genesis of Blackity. “That set the tone for me as a curator and art historian,” she said.

Items in the Blackity exhibition date back to the 1970s when the archive was more sparse and run up until the past decade, which had plenty to draw from. To physically show the gaps, Dr. Joachim had vertical bands painted on the walls of the exhibition space, their thickness representing how much was available – or widely recognized – at the time. Photo by Paul Litherland.

The exhibit makes thoughtful use of what’s known as ephemera: items created for a specific purpose that weren’t necessarily meant to last, such as a pamphlet or admission ticket. Ephemera is crucial, Dr. Joachim explained, because even with a lack of institutional recognition, it serves as evidence of what took place. Viewers will find things like a poster for a show of Tim Whiten, slides of sculpture art by Stan Douglas, and literary journals with work from Dionne Brand and Sylvia Hamilton.

Items date back to the 1970s, when the archive was more sparse, and run up until the past decade, which had plenty to draw from. To physically show these gaps, Dr. Joachim had vertical bands painted on the walls of the exhibition space, their thickness representing how much was available – or widely recognized – at the time. She chose large letters for some text, in a faint grey shade; symbolizing how Black Canadian artists have always been present and influential, but haven’t always been treated as such.

Dr. Joachim worked closely with Mojeanne Behzadi, who currently works in her previous role at Artexte. Ms. Behzadi brought in artists to paint the grey bands, and commissioned web developer Alex Nawotka of Mutual Design for the online exhibition. What she finds most impactful about Blackity is how it reminds us of the importance in documenting diverse experiences. “This great show you saw that nobody wrote on, it can end up disappearing very easily. I love that [Blackity] asks us to do something in response to that.” She described the exhibition as “a visualized bibliography” of Dr. Joachim’s work, something researchers can actively use and reference.

There are a few pieces that stood out to Dr. Joachim, some for their quirkiness, like the small plastic bull someone catalogued in a plastic bag – proof that you never know what’s going to be important later. But there’s one, a 1993 catalogue with mention of the artist Khadejha McCall, that hit close to the mission behind Blackity. McCall had been exhibiting work since 1967, but Dr. Joachim found just one sentence of critical writing about her in the archive. It’s a stark example of Ms. Behzadi’s sentiment; if meaningful work is not properly engaged with, it can go too long without recognition.

In the exhibition description, Dr. Joachim wrote that she strives to represent the history of Black Canadian art as “a constellation rather than a linear canon.” By letting go of the timeline format, “we end up with these seemingly disparate pockets of art-making, which are connected.” she said. “We end up with something that allows us to understand people and history and the spaces they occupy in a much more textured, nuanced way.”

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Art exhibition putting spotlight on Indigenous women's voices – Regina Leader Post

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Curator Melanie Monique Rose wants be “uplifting and amplifying” Indigenous women’s voices by telling their stories through art.

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Regina-based artist Melanie Monique Rose uses Saskatchewan’s native plants to dye the fibers she uses in her artwork, a deeply personal nod to her experience as an Indigenous artist connected to the land on which she lives.

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“I take these plants, like goldenrod, and create colour with them to dye my wool that I use,” said Rose. “All the colours I have there have been taken from Treaty Four territory, for my needle felting.”

Rose is both artist and curator of the exhibition titled ᑌᐸᑯᐦ or Tepakohp, which means “seven” in Cree, a multi-media exhibition of works from seven Saskatchewan artists that uses art to share their experiences as Indigenous women.

The unique collection is set to debut at the Cathedral Village Arts Festival next week, before it begins an extended tour across the province with the Organization of Saskatchewan Arts Councils.

ᑌᐸᑯᐦ includes artwork from Audie Murray, Larissa Kitchemonia, Stacey Fayant and Brandy Jones, among others, who each contributed several pieces, each of which represents their lived experiences in a way that examines connections with the land.

Rose envisioned the exhibition because she wanted to place the experiences of Indigenous women on centre stage, as traditionally theirs are voices that have been stifled.

“It’s really all about uplifting and amplifying,” said Rose. “I wanted the artists to think about something that’s important to them, that they want to share through their art.”

What resulted is a series of very personal pieces, she said, that touch on topics ranging from experiencing Indigenous motherhood to discovering identity, grappling with grief and navigating injustices.

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A striking self-portrait by artist Marcy Friesen tells the story of her reaching comfortableness with her Welsh and Cree heritage; a piece from Donna Langhorne examines her journey of reconnecting with her Anishinaabe roots after being adopted by a white family as a child.

“A lot of the works are really speaking to connection and reconnection,” said Rose. “It’s quite contemporary, but definitely you can see how it’s rooted in tradition.”

Melanie Monique Rose, curator of a multi-media art installation titled ᑌᐸᑯᐦ, or Tepakohp, makes a willow wreath for the show at her home on Wednesday, May 18, 2022 in Regina.
Melanie Monique Rose, curator of a multi-media art installation titled ᑌᐸᑯᐦ, or Tepakohp, makes a willow wreath for the show at her home on Wednesday, May 18, 2022 in Regina. Photo by KAYLE NEIS /Regina Leader-Post

For Rose, the overarching goal is to educate the audience on the experience of being Indigenous in the current climate.

“We know we have a major problem here in Canada, with missing and murdered Indigenous women and negative stereotypes that just aren’t true,” said Rose. “I really wanted to use my gifts as an artist as a form of activism.”

Rose is enthusiastic to be partnered with both OSAC and the festival to show ᑌᐸᑯᐦ, to reach audiences across the province. OSAC’s tour will take the physical exhibition to Prince Albert, Estevan, Indian Head and more over the next two years.

But the show’s Regina debut will be at the upcoming arts festival in Cathedral, which begins on Monday. ᑌᐸᑯᐦ will be on continual display throughout the week, on the digital billboard located at Westminster United Church.

It will be the first time the festival has hosted an art installation in this way, said chair Marilyn Turnley, and the nature will allow for hopefully more reach than a typical display inside a venue.

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“It offers an opportunity for people on bikes, walking, driving by to see it up close and personal,” said Turnley.

Turnley said the festival is excited to be the first look at the collection.

“Diversity and inclusiveness has always been at the forefront of the festival,” said Turnley. “This is how we build community — we bring art together in this way.”

A piece by Melanie Monique Rose, curator of a multi-media art installation titled ᑌᐸᑯᐦ or Tepakohp, debuting at the Cathedral Village Arts Festival next week.
A piece by Melanie Monique Rose, curator of a multi-media art installation titled ᑌᐸᑯᐦ or Tepakohp, debuting at the Cathedral Village Arts Festival next week. Photo by KAYLE NEIS /Regina Leader-Post

The artists featured in ᑌᐸᑯᐦ will also be attending personally on the final day, Saturday, to interact with festival-goers and offer original art pieces for purchase — both their own, and from other Indigenous artists.

“It’s about opening that door for other artists,” said Rose. “Creating that space for the next generation, which I think is the whole spirit of the exhibition.”

lkurz@postmedia.com

The news seems to be flying at us faster all the time. From COVID-19 updates to politics and crime and everything in between, it can be hard to keep up. With that in mind, the Regina Leader-Post has created an Afternoon Headlines newsletter that can be delivered daily to your inbox to help make sure you are up to date with the most vital news of the day. Click here to subscribe.

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