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Lifetime of art, skill on display at retirement home art show – Woodstock Sentinel Review



From needlepoint to painting to square dancing, the lifetime art of many of the residents at Woodstock’s Chartwell Oxford Gardens was on display Wednesday.

Sybil Chandler with her display of memorabilia collected over 30 years of learning, enjoying and teaching square dancing with her husband Peter. Her accomplishments were part of a resident art show at Chartwell Oxford Gardens on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2019. (Kathleen Saylors/Woodstock Sentinel-Review)

From needlepoint to painting to square dancing, the lifetime art of many of the residents at Woodstock’s Chartwell Oxford Gardens was on display Wednesday.


The resident art showcase ran for two days, featuring the varied works of 50 residents in an open house, and was often busy as residents appreciated the creativity of their neighbours and friends.

Kathy DeWeerd, community relations for Chartwell, said the show provided an opportunity for residents to showcase their talents, often honed over a lifetime of work, and for neighbours to learn a bit more about each other.

Sybil Chandler, a wood carver and square-dancing teacher 

Chandler and her husband learned and loved square dancing for much of their lives. Eventually, the pair started teaching square and round dancing, travelling to competitions across Canada to compete. Chandler also liked quilting and needlepoint, making clothes for her daughters’ dolls. She also took a night class for wood carving at Fanshawe College, and made wood carvings for several years in the early 2000s. 

Some of Chandler’s trophies and pictures from a 30-year square and round-dancing hobby. Her accomplishments were part of a resident art show at Chartwell Oxford Gardens on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2019. (Kathleen Saylors/Woodstock Sentinel-Review)

“The dancing was 30 years of our lives. This was a big part of our lives, before and after we retired … It was the kind of dancing I always did. My husband … had to learn, but I always danced as a teen. This was a merit award we got. If you got the trillium merit award, you’d done OK.”

A selection of art by Sybil Chandler, including wood carvings she took a night class to learn. Her accomplishments were part of a resident art show at Chartwell Oxford Gardens on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2019. (Kathleen Saylors/Woodstock Sentinel-Review)

“With the carving, we went to a boutique and they were selling beautiful carvings. I saw a beautiful owl (carving). They wanted $800 for it. So I thought, I can’t afford that, I better learn how to make my own.”

Helen Turvey, a quilter and needlepoint artist

Helen Turvey, a needlepoint and quilting artist, with a small selection of her work. Turvey was self-taught, but said she believes she got her talent from her grandmother. Every year, Turvey donates a handful of homemade quilts to the London Children’s Hospital. Her accomplishments were part of a resident art show at Chartwell Oxford Gardens on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2019. (Kathleen Saylors/Woodstock Sentinel-Review)

Turvey has always made needlepoint and sewing a hobby from the time she was young, and carried it through life – everything from making herself an outfit for work on her first sewing machine to later teaching sewing to 4-H girls in Embro.

That’s how Turvey ended up with some of her most elaborate needlepoint pieces: She would tackle one stitch or section every week, bringing it to 4-H to show her students the skill. This year will mark the 50th year Turvey has donated quilts to the London Children’s Hospital; while she’s never kept count, she estimates donating 10 quilts a year. Now, she has a bit of carpal tunnel – but that’s not stopping her. 

“My grandmother was a talented seamstress. I would go (to my grandparents’ house) as a young kid, my sister and I, and my grandpa wanted to teach us cribbage. I knew she was in the other room sewing, so I kept peeking, but if he sneezed or turned, I was gone.”

An example of smocking, an embroidery technique used in place of elastic, done by Helen Turvey. Her accomplishments were part of a resident art show at Chartwell Oxford Gardens on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2019. (Kathleen Saylors/Woodstock Sentinel-Review)

“I’m self-taught. Doing smocking … my niece was starting school. I was 20 or 21, (and) she had to have a dress for school. I am from Brantford, and there was a little store that sold just smocked clothes. So I would go in there, and if I didn’t see anyone, take a little piece of paper and figure out a pattern, and I picked it up. I made a couple little dresses for her to start school, and that’s what started me.”

“(These quilts) are what I send to the (London) Children’s Hospital. You have a child in bed, they don’t want anything too heavy … they might have serious illness, they put (a quilt) on the bed to suit them. Last year (the doctor) was telling me about flying this girl in … asking what colours she liked. She said pink and purple; they had a pink and purple quilt put on the end of her bed. And I thought ‘wow if I can keep doing this.’”

Two examples of quilts that Helen Turvey will donate to the London Children’s Hospital this year. She has been donating homemade quilts for 50 years, and has never kept count of how many she’s donated, she said she’s just so happy that the hospital, and the children, are happy to have them. Her accomplishments were part of a resident art show at Chartwell Oxford Gardens on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2019. (Kathleen Saylors/Woodstock Sentinel-Review)

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Mix of contemporary, historical Indigenous craftwork in Winnipeg exhibit shows art ‘still living and thriving’



A new exhibit in Winnipeg blends the old with the new to show that while Indigenous craftwork has a rich history, it’s also still very much a living artform.

The exhibit, called Gathering, features Indigenous beadwork, embroidery and quillwork from five contemporary artists alongside pieces from the collections of 11 Manitoba museums — with some items dating back to the 1800s.

Mixing contemporary pieces in with the historical ones is an important element of the exhibit, says Margaret Firlotte, a Red River Michif artist and the exhibit’s project manager.

“This art form is not gone, it’s not archaic, it’s not archived. It’s still living and thriving today,” she said.


The exhibit — presented by the Manitoba Crafts Museum and Library in partnership with the Ross House Museum — also offers a rare opportunity to see some of the historical work on display.

Smaller museums in Manitoba often have Indigenous craftwork that’s not on permanent display, or which requires a one-on-one appointment to view, Firlotte said.

“We wanted to honour those pieces, and bring them to light, and just give them the proper space and respect that they deserve.”

A woman smiles to the camera. Behind her, there are several pairs of moccasins displayed.
The exhibit has a particular focus on pieces made before or around the early 1900s, because the artistic patterns from that era contain many cultural, familial and regional ties, says project manager Margaret Firlotte. (Özten Shebahkeget/CBC)

Andrea Reichert, the exhibit’s curator, said an important part of the outreach for it included informal viewing sessions of the pieces for Indigenous communities.

“It was an opportunity for them to see it up close, to compare things side by side,” she told CBC.

Preparation for the exhibit began about a year ago, but Firlotte said she wouldn’t call her work on it a “labour of love.”

“Labour is the wrong word, because if you enjoy beadwork, working alongside with these pieces and with the communities, then it’s not really work,” she said.

Putting the exhibit together involved extensive research and outreach to museums and Indigenous communities in western and northern Manitoba.

Artwork from museums in Dauphin, Portage la Prairie, Souris, The Pas and Winnipegosis is displayed in the exhibit, alongside works from several Winnipeg museums.

Beadworks are pictured.
Five contemporary artists created work inspired by the exhibit, including this beadwork by Bronwyn Butterfield, David Heinrichs and Shauna Ponask. (Özten Shebahkeget/CBC)

The exhibit, which opened on March 3, has drawn visitors from Alberta and British Columbia who came just to see the artwork, along with strong local support, said Firlotte.

“Opening night, just seeing the community come together to welcome and celebrate these pieces, it was really great. It just made it all worth it, for sure.”

Exhibit may help put names to work

The exhibit is the first time Tashina Houle-Schlup’s work has been displayed in an art show. Her quilled moccasins are called Abinoojiiyens Makizinan, which translates to “baby moccasins” in Anishinaabemowin.

The Ebb and Flow First Nation member has been making quillwork since she was a child. She began to sell her pieces as a teenager, but never imagined being featured in an art exhibit.

“It’s kind of a surreal feeling and it makes me want to do more of these,” she said.

A pair of quilled, baby mocassins are pictured.
Abinoojiiyens Makizinan were made in honour of Indigenous children, ‘as they are the future of our people,’ as well as in ‘remembrance of our babies and children that were lost to residential school,’ Tashina Houle-Schlup’s artist statement says. (Submitted by Andrea Reichert)

The mix of contemporary and historical pieces in the exhibit shows that Indigenous crafts aren’t going anywhere, Houle-Schlup told CBC.

“Quillwork is still thriving. There was a point where quillwork was nearly disappearing.”

Her moccasins were made in honour of Indigenous children, “as they are the future of our people,” says Houle-Schlup’s artist statement, as well as in “remembrance of our babies and children that were lost to residential school.”

An embroidered jacket is pictured.
This embroidered, smoked-hide jacket was created by women in Norway House between 1910 and 1920. (Özten Shebahkeget/CBC)

Reichert says in addition to offering historical perspective, the exhibit may also help curators learn more about some of the pieces.

The names of the artists behind many of the historical pieces — such as an embroidered smoked-hide jacket made by women from Norway House between 1910 and 1920 — have been lost, which is not uncommon, Reichert said.

QR codes are displayed throughout the exhibit that will let people submit any information they may have on the historical pieces or the artists behind them.

“When the works go back to the different museums, the research that we’ve collected will go back to those museums as well,” said Reichert.

“Reconciliation and decolonization is an important part of the museum community, and being able to interpret the works with correct information is a really important first step.”

Public programming and a long-term website with photos and research collected on the pieces are also part of the exhibit.

Two beaded tikinagans are shown.
The exhibit welcomes visitors to submit information they may have on the historical works or the artists behind them — many of whose names have been lost, according to curator Andrea Reichert. (Özten Shebahkeget/CBC)

The exhibit has a particular focus on pieces made before or around the early 1900s, because the artistic patterns from that era contain many cultural, familial and regional ties, according to Firlotte.

“You’re able to tell which pattern comes from which community, which is really cool,” she said. “You’re able to tell if a piece is probably more Métis than it is Dakota, or if it’s Cree or Anishinaabe.”

Response to the exhibit has been fantastic, said Reichert.

“All of the people who come have just been blown away by the work, and the breadth of it, and seeing it all in one place.”

Gathering is on display at the C2 Centre for Craft at 329 Cumberland Ave. until April 29.


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‘Women, Life, Freedom’: Protest art exhibition comes to Art Windsor-Essex this weekend



A couple dozen visual artists are coming together this Saturday for an exhibition focused on the oppression of women, curated by a Windsor woman who escaped Iran three years ago.

Maryam Safarzadeh came to Canada after leaving Iran with her son and daughter to escape the country’s government.

The visual artist made it her goal to curate a gallery of protest art to shine a light on the plight of oppressed women around the world, including her home country of Iran.

“I’m in a free country. If my people, if women can’t talk, I’m gonna be their voice,” said Safarzadeh, who points out women who do this in Iran face prison time.


“You shouldn’t have a filter, you should just express your feelings, talk about what you want to talk about,” she said.

Her show “Women, Life, Freedom” brings together 27 artists from all over the globe, each with a story to tell.

One of those artists is Kobra Safi, who escaped the Taliban rule of Afghanistan six months ago. The trained surgeon started painting while in a refugee camp and the passion turned into a great outlet for her pain and sorrow.

This weekend, Safi is taking part in her first art exhibition.

“We have the same pain and that’s why we work together and we made the art about ourselves,” said Safi, whose painting depicts women of various professions hanging from a tree while the Taliban look upon them with pointed guns.

“I want them to know what is going inside of me and what is going on with Afghan woman,” she said. “That’s why I like to express something inside the paintings for them to know their stories.”

Asaph Maurer has a completely different story. The Windsor artist explains he was part of an extremist Christian Cult that moved around between Mexico, the United States and India. He managed to escape 11 years ago.

“The minute that I heard about this exhibition from Maryam, I instantly related to the concept of suppression of freedom of expression, whether that be through art or through dress,” he said.

Maurer painted a picture of a woman who was shot in the eye for speaking up. It symbolizes oppression and control, he said, through violence, noting it’s an uncomfortable reality that people need to see.

“A lot of these images are not beautiful, scenic landscapes that you can put in your living room,” he admits. “However, I think that one way to get involved is to attend exhibitions like this and feel the discomfort.”

Judy Chappus drew her inspiration from a woman she met at a public shower. Chappus said the woman agreed to be photographed and has since become the subject of many of her paintings. This one fits, Chappus said, because she exuded confidence, power and presence.

“She’s almost the opposite of what is expected of women in Iran,” said Chappus. “I liked how I can associate this with taking the hijab off because I feel like if women did that, they would just release all this incredible power.”

Women, Life, Freedom goes on display at Art Windsor-Essex Saturday, April 1 from 12 to 5 p.m. with the official program running 2 to 5 p.m.

The art pieces will be on display at Sho Art Studios for the two weeks following.

Safarzadeh is excited to lay it all out on the line.

“I can’t go back to Iran, because they’re going to arrest me for sure. But I don’t care,” she said.

“This is supporting these women. And this is about talking about the truth, even it’s not beautiful.”



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Art collector Myriam Ullens killed outside her home in Belgium, allegedly by her stepson



Myriam Ullens, a major collector who, with her husband Guy Ullens, supported and championed Chinese contemporary art, was killed outside the couple’s home in the village of Ohain south of Brussels today (29 March) according to multiple reports in the Belgian press. She was 70 years old. The reports claim she was shot by her stepson Nicolas Ullens, who has been detained by police. Her husband, Guy, reportedly survived the incident.

Myriam and Guy were in their car outside their home around 10am when Nicolas fired on his stepmother, who died at the scene, according to La Libre. Myriam and Nicolas had been in a protracted dispute over issues of inheritance, according to multiple reports.

Myriam and Guy Ullens, who married in 1999, have been important and influential art collectors for decades. They started out collecting classical Chinese scroll paintings, but eventually shifted their attention to contemporary art. In 2007, they opened the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing—considered at the time to be the first contemporary art museum in China—which showed works from their collection of more than 2,000 works. In 2017 they sold the museum, renamed the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, to a group of investors; they continued and broadened their collecting activities under the banner of the Swiss-based Fondation Guy & Myriam Ullens.

In 2004 Myriam, who went by Mimi and was a cancer survivor, founded the Mimi Foundation to create centres within hospitals to provide physical and mental therapy for patients undergoing cancer treatment. In 2013 she co-organised an exhibition and benefit auction during Frieze Week in London to support the Mimi Foundation.


“If many of the artists in this project are Chinese that is because of our long and close relationship with them. This is just the tip of our iceberg—that we are continuing to follow and collect intensively with the new generation,” Myriam told Ocula at the time. “A collection is like a living breathing body.  It evolves in an organic manner.”

Myriam was born in Cologne, Germany. Following early success in the food industry, she married Guy, a Belgian businessman and baron, and devoted herself to fashion (launching the brand Maison-Ullens) and philanthropy. The couple’s charitable activities also included opening the Ullens School, an educational facility in Nepal.

Nicolas Ullens, a former Belgian state security agent, is one of four children Guy had with his first wife, ​​Micheline Franckx.

The Ullenses’ foundation did not immediately respond to a request for further information.



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