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London-based artist from Ukraine wins art battle with landscapes of her home country – CBC.ca

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Using paint as her weapon of choice, Yana Litus drew on her own childhood memories to win an art battle. 

Through her paintings, she wanted to help Ukrainians. 

“Now it’s a hard time… for all Ukrainians, we all [are] missing our Ukraine, our native land.” 

“This is what I wanted, to give some kindness and some warm feeling.” 

Litus took part in an art battle event called “Art Battle for Ukraine” aimed at raising funds for the country.

The battle is a sport-like competition where artists face off against each other. They have 20 or 30 minutes to complete a painting live, in real time, in front of an audience. Once they are done painting, audience members can vote on which one they liked the best using an app on their phone. Whoever makes it past all the rounds, wins the competition. 

Litus had wanted to take part in the competition for years but was always too intimidated to do so. After the Russian invasion, she thought about her own family still living in Ukraine, and thought she was at least going to try and help raise money. 

And then she made it all the way to the top. 

“I didn’t know if I could do it or not, so it was like competition for myself too,” said Litus. 

The competition

Litus felt herself get into the zone for her first painting. She felt like she was in a studio, not in a room with hundreds of people around her. 

“I didn’t hear any music, any people, any cameras around my head,” she said. “When you start doing art, you don’t hear anything around you.”

Since the theme was a battle for Ukraine, she wanted to paint something that reflected her childhood memories, Litus said. 

She painted a landscape of an open field in a village in Ukraine where she spent her summers with her grandmother and great grandmother. 

She said walking through an open field in Ukraine helped give her energy, and she painted that in her landscape. 

Yana Litus painting, depicting an open field in Ukraine. (Submitted by Yana Litus)

When people look at it, they’ll be able to tell that it’s from Ukraine, Litus said. 

“It can be everywhere in Ukraine…it’s close to all Ukrainians. This is what I wanted to tell by my artwork,” she said. 

“Everybody who lived in Ukraine or was born there, or has relatives, they can see something close to them in the painting.” 

To her surprise, the landscape painting won, and she was able to move on to the final round of the competition. 

The painting that helped Yana Litus win the final round for the Art Battle for Ukraine event. (Submitted by Yana Litus )

For her second painting she added in her grandmother’s house to the landscape. 

“This was very close to my soul and to me,” she said. 

She was only five years old when she spent her summers there. She spent time there in a garden and playing with animals. She doesn’t have a lot of memories from then, but remembers how kind her grandmothers were to her. 

Litus’s grandmother is still living in Ukraine today. Her mom and stepfather live there as well. Family from her husband’s side of her family are also there. 

She said she’s glad that she could take part in the event and help raise money for war relief efforts. Her paintings were sold off in a silent auction, as part of the art battle event. In total the event raised more than $45,000 for war relief efforts. 

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Art and skateboarding collide in Audain's latest exhibit – Pique Newsmagazine

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Three, 3,000-kilogram marble barriers sit in the middle of a room at the Audain Art Museum.

There were actually five pieces, created by artist Cameron Kerr, in a private collector’s house on Bowen Island. Only, it turns out there are a whole host of logistical hurdles to jump in order to transport art that weighs as much as a small elephant—elevator, truck, and floor capacity chief among them.

“Three thousand kilograms is the limit of our forklift to lift things, and the big [sculpture] actually weighs more than 3,000 kg,” says Kiriko Watanabe, curator at the museum, who was tasked with monitoring that transport closely.

It might have been a unique problem, but it’s fitting for a unique exhibit. The sculptures are just one part of Out of Control: The Concrete Art of Skateboarding, which runs at the museum until Jan. 8.

“The show is very much what the title says,” says guest curator Patrik Andersson, an associate professor with Emily Carr University who teaches contemporary art. 

“It’s about who’s in control. What does it mean to be out of control? The subtitle—the concrete art of skateboarding—is relating the relationship between art and architecture. I’ve designed the show almost like a concrete poem.”

While the exhibit marries skateboard culture and visual art, the show could certainly help the museum with its goal to bring more young patrons through the door.

“I see skateboarders hanging out, outside the museum on our staircase on their way or after they skated at the skate park. I’d love to say, ‘Come in,’ but then I realized, ‘OK, would they be interested in seeing what we have?’ Really, I wanted them to get excited about art,” Watanabe says.

To that end, Andersson created several distinct sections to the exhibit—including one exhibit-within-an-exhibit tucked into a closet off the first room, curated by Michelle Pezel, who owns Vancouver’s Antisocial Skateboard Shop.

“It was nice of the museum to allow me to use this space,” Andersson says of the long, narrow closet usually hidden away. “[Pezel] has always had a gallery in her store and the gallery is in a closet in the back of her store. When I showed this to her she was like, ‘Oh yeah.’”

Other sections include: Rethinking the Barriers of Public Space, addressing the “designed environment” that skateboarders face; House, Home, and Freedom to Move, which features a fabric house created by Mikaela Kautzky made from bedsheets, table cloths and other items from her childhood home with a film screening inside; Language, Poetry, Music and Youth Culture, playing Dan Graham’s documentary Rock My Religion; Finding Balance in Art, Life, and Skateboarding, including a photo series by Samuel Roy-Bois created for the exhibit called Black Mountain, a play on the drinking game Wisest Wizard; and Skateboarding on the Edges of Modern Art, which includes Raphaël Zarka’s “Paving Space—Regular Score, W9M1,” produced by Squamish’s Van Urban Timber. Days before that piece was installed, skateboarders actually skated it, creating rough, splintered edges and marks on what was a pristine sculpture.

Upstairs, meanwhile, features five artists who respond to tropes of skateboarding’s rebellious side.

While the show features local, national and international artists, the majority are from B.C.—and a surprising number wanted to create new pieces for it.

“Patrik and I started working on this show more than three years ago and the majority of the artists featured in this exhibition are, or once were, skateboarders, so they got so excited,” Watanabe says. “Because the exhibition date was so far in advance, they wanted to create new works for this exhibition. The museum was happy to have supported some of the major productions such as Raphaël Zarka’s sculptures that we marked in Whistler and had people skate on prior to the installation, as well as Andrew Dadson’s new series of cuneiforms that are being shown for the first time. Many of those new prints of cuneiforms were taken in Vancouver in the last few months. We were very happy to have supported that creation.”

Filled with wildly varying mediums, interactive pieces, and a general youthful exuberance, the show breaks new ground for the museum.

“I hope that people will agree that this exhibition that Patrik curated engaged not only youth, but also serious art-gallery goers,” Watanabe says. “Because it really shows you how visual arts and sport can go together.” 

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Calgary mall showcases Indigenous art to inspire reconciliation | CTV News – CTV News Calgary

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Calgary’s Southcentre Mall is showcasing a variety of colourful works from Indigenous artists focusing on their history, culture and heritage.

Colouring It Forward (CIF) Reconciliation Society partnered with the mall for the timely exhibit, which launched in the weeks leading up until the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

“The fact that a mall is willing to collaborate with an Indigenous social enterprise is a really good step forward for Truth and Reconciliation,” CIF board chair Diana Frost said. “It shows that you can collaborate with a commercial entity and achieve social goals.

“Truth and Reconciliation is something that we all should care about,” said Frost. “It’s not just an Indigenous problem, when you know a large portion of our population is suffering, we should all care about that.”

This year marks Keevin Rider’s second being involved with the art installation.

His painting is of a mountain scene similar to where he grew up.

He says he consulted with one of his spiritual adivsors about what animals to include.

“I started with the tatonka – the Buffalo –  and then from there it went out and then the animals appeared like the eagle, the wolf and the bear.”

Rider says his culture believes that all things have a spirt and when he gets closer to those spirits it helps him heal.

“My parents were residential so it affected me, it’s actually affected my grandchildren,” said Rider. “So you know we have our spirit and we always call our spirit back.”

Flora Johnson, a sixties scoop survivor, was split up from her brothers who were sent to residential schools.

“I may not be completely healed,” said Johnson. “But this is a part of my healing, when I paint, I feel loved, vibrant, I feel it’s just my passion.”

Paintings by eight Calgary Indigenous artists are featured at Southcentre Mall’s centre court in honour of Truth and Reconciliation. Kalum Teke Dan’s painting style is popular with pieces commissioned all over Calgary, but he says it wasn’t always that way.

“30 years ago I couldn’t sell very many pieces,” he said. “People just didn’t understand or didn’t want to know, or they wanted us to be pushed into the corner and not thought about or cared about, so we’re showing them we’re strong, we’re resilient, we’re powerful, we’re here and we’re proud.”

Frost says that since 2017, CIF Reconciliation Society has led the effort to provide opportunities for Indigenous peoples by delivering art-based workshops and events that educate the community and promote healing and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

“I’m seeing more and more people interested in finding out about Truth and Reconciliation and supporting Orange Shirt Day by wearing orange shirts,” she said. “It’s nice to see people from all walks of life wanting to contribute.”

Paintings by eight Calgary Indigenous artists are featured at Southcentre Mall’s centre court in honour of Truth and Reconciliation. The works of art are supported by a double-sided activation wall. One side features information about the CIF Reconciliation Society and on the opposite is a canvas for visitors to express their own ideas and visions of reconciliation.

In addition to viewing the art, people can learn about a number of reconciliACTIONS.

Alexandra Velosa is the mall’s marketing manager. She says the actions are practical tips to help foster reconciliation. The signage is placed around the upper balcony on the second level that overlooks centre court and the art installation.

“ReconciliACTION is a key component of our initiative,” said Velosa. “As a community connector, we want people to come here and learn about how they can be a part of the reconciliation, how can they make a difference.”

To learn more about the Colouring It Forward Reconciliation Society you can visit the organization’s website.

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Indigenous artists honor Truth and Reconciliation through Calgary art instillation – iHeartRadio.ca

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Calgary’s Southcentre Mall is showcasing a variety of colourful works from Indigenous artists focusing on their history, culture and heritage.

Colouring It Forward (CIF) Reconciliation Society partnered with the mall for the timely exhibit, which launched in the weeks leading up until the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

“The fact that a mall is willing to collaborate with an Indigenous social enterprise is a really good step forward for Truth and Reconciliation,” CIF board chair Diana Frost said. “It shows that you can collaborate with a commercial entity and achieve social goals.

“Truth and Reconciliation is something that we all should care about,” said Frost. “It’s not just an Indigenous problem, when you know a large portion of our population is suffering, we should all care about that.”

This year marks Keevin Rider’s second being involved with the art installation.

His painting is of a mountain scene similar to where he grew up.

He says he consulted with one of his spiritual adivsors about what animals to include.

“I started with the tatonka – the Buffalo –  and then from there it went out and then the animals appeared like the eagle, the wolf and the bear.”

Rider says his culture believes that all things have a spirt and when he gets closer to those spirits it helps him heal.

“My parents were residential so it affected me, it’s actually affected my grandchildren,” said Rider. “So you know we have our spirit and we always call our spirit back.”

Flora Johnson, a sixties scoop survivor, was split up from her brothers who were sent to residential schools.

“I may not be completely healed,” said Johnson. “But this is a part of my healing, when I paint, I feel loved, vibrant, I feel it’s just my passion.”

Kalum Teke Dan’s painting style is popular with pieces commissioned all over Calgary, but he says it wasn’t always that way.

“30 years ago I couldn’t sell very many pieces,” he said. “People just didn’t understand or didn’t want to know, or they wanted us to be pushed into the corner and not thought about or cared about, so we’re showing them we’re strong, we’re resilient, we’re powerful, we’re here and we’re proud.”

Frost says that since 2017, CIF Reconciliation Society has led the effort to provide opportunities for Indigenous peoples by delivering art-based workshops and events that educate the community and promote healing and reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

“I’m seeing more and more people interested in finding out about Truth and Reconciliation and supporting Orange Shirt Day by wearing orange shirts,” she said. “It’s nice to see people from all walks of life wanting to contribute.”

The works of art are supported by a double-sided activation wall. One side features information about the CIF Reconciliation Society and on the opposite is a canvas for visitors to express their own ideas and visions of reconciliation.

In addition to viewing the art, people can learn about a number of reconciliACTIONS.

Alexandra Velosa is the mall’s marketing manager. She says the actions are practical tips to help foster reconciliation. The signage is placed around the upper balcony on the second level that overlooks centre court and the art installation.

“ReconciliACTION is a key component of our initiative,” said Velosa. “As a community connector, we want people to come here and learn about how they can be a part of the reconciliation, how can they make a difference.”

To learn more about the Colouring It Forward Reconciliation Society you can visit the organization’s website.

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