WARNING: This story contains details some readers may find distressing.
A memorial created on the steps of a Moose Jaw church in tribute to children who died at residential schools is now going to become an exhibit at a local art gallery.
Shoes and other items were placed on the steps of churches or government buildings all over Canada last month after the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation announced the preliminary finding of unmarked graves containing 215 children at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.
Cassidy and Kayleigh Olson organized the memorial on the steps of St. Andrew’s United Church in Moose Jaw. It will now be featured at the Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery.
“When the bodies were found, my sister and I knew that we had to do something and we just didn’t know how,” Cassidy told The Morning Edition. “It didn’t sit well, just knowing that there were children that weren’t rested.”
The two Indigenous sisters asked the reverend at the church for permission and he said yes, as the discovery was a time to come together, Cassidy said.
“We had expected maybe a row of shoes. And by the end, we had all of the [steps] just filled with shoes and bears and candles. It was amazing. I can’t even describe how I felt,” Cassidy said. “We had over 500 … I was breathless.”
The two Indigenous sisters’ home reserve is Whitecap Dakota First Nation and the impact of residential schools is in their family.
“My grandma had actually attended residential school and so she had placed a pair of moccasins that she made when she first left residential school and she placed those on the stairs,” Cassidy said. “It was big. There was a lot more emotion than I had expected.”
Each shoe had its own story behind it and it was beautiful to see it all come together, she said. After the display was up for some time, the sisters were asked what they were going to do with the shoes.
“With the amount of shoes we had, we just didn’t really want to just leave them or donate them,” she said. “So then I had reached out to the Moose Jaw Museum and Art Gallery.”
The curator was supportive in acknowledging the display, and making sure people know it wasn’t just history and still affects people today. Cassidy said the curator did an amazing job.
A local photographer’s shots of the shoes on the steps, and an orange t-shirt Cassidy and her sister created, are displayed above the shoes.
Cassidy hopes people realize the effects of these schools are still ongoing today.
“It has created intergenerational trauma,” she said.
“It’s not just in the museum because it was history, it’s in the museum because I want people to understand and be a learning tool and to educate each other.”
Support is available for anyone affected by their experience at residential schools, and for those triggered by the latest reports.
A national Indian Residential School Crisis Line has been set up to provide support for residential school survivors and those affected. People can access emotional and crisis referral services by calling the 24-hour national crisis line: 1-866-925-4419.
Greenpoint This Week: Art Fair, Staycations and More – greenpointers.com
Happy Weekend Greenpoint!
This weekend, The Other Art Fair is back in town, with affordable artworks ready for your post-quarantine redecorating plans.
If you’re eager to get out, plan a staycation in the neighborhood, for a change of scenery, without a sink full of dirty dishes. If you prefer your own pillows, consider just spending a day at one of our local outdoor pools. The newly opened Le Doggie Cool also has open cafe hours this Saturday, for pups to play in their backyard pool.
This week, we reported that Brooklyn Bowl is reopening in early September! Get your tickets now for upcoming parties and shows. If you’re looking for a free event, Friday night brings a screening of Frozen to Transmitter Park.
We also reported that a new community fridge has opened on Greenpoint Ave. near Transmitter Park. And shared some unfortunate news about a Greenpoint resident arrested for recording his female roommates without their consent.
Make sure to fit in your last visit to the Leonard Library before it closes for renovations on Monday, August 2. Worry not – Greenpoint Library is still up and running, with computer service and open seating also now available.
Don’t forget to check out our summer 2021 fashion sundae roundup for this season’s best local looks.
The art of the deal: empty storefronts become gallery space to lure shoppers back downtown – CTV News Montreal
With many Montreal storefront real estate lying empty, some landlords have turned to the arts in a bid to bring people back downtown.
Where some would see a crisis in the decimating effect that online shopping and the COVID-19 pandemic has had on brick-and-mortar stores, Frederic Loury, who runs the Art Sousterrain festival, saw an opportunity.
“During the pandemic, I noticed it was a necessity to build a bridge between real estate and emerging artists,” he said.
Loury convinced several downtown landlords to lend available spaces to artists.
One of those artists, Dana Edmonds, now has storefront space in Alexis Nihon Plaza.
“I thought it was a really cool idea because I got to expose art, which doesn’t get exposed a lot,” she said. “It’s hard to get into galleries in the first place, so at least we can show our work.”
Edmonds is sharing her space with fellow artist Florence Gagnon, who said the initiative is giving people who don’t normally go to art galleries a chance to see what local talent has to offer.
“I think it’s a beautiful way to integrate art into places that don’t usually have it,” she said.
For the landlords, it’s a smart marketing opportunity and a way to get people shopping again.
“They were kind of afraid of coming back to Montreal, so basically this will make them want to come back and shop and visit some emerging artists that we have with Art Sousterrain,” said Alexis Nihon general manager Danny Thery.
Edmonds says that while her work might be in a store, she isn’t giving a hard sell to curious window shoppers.
“My work is kind of political, It’s commentary about over-consumption, mental health, climate change. I like the dialogue,” she said. “If I sell something, that’s great. If people just look at garbage a little differently, then I’m happy.”
Thus far, there are 30 stores being lent to artists downtown. Loury said he believes mixing art and retail will become a trend.
“Others have to rethink the model if they want to survive.”
Art Gallery of Ontario reopens with blockbuster Andy Warhol exhibition – Toronto Star
The Art Gallery of Ontario is betting on a blockbuster Andy Warhol retrospective to entice audiences back following a nine-month pandemic induced closure.
The aptly titled “Andy Warhol” exhibition, which opened to AGO members Wednesday, aims to bring biographic and cultural context to one of the most recognizable and divisive iconoclasts of the 20th century. Through 250 art works and ephemera, including a trio of Warhol’s infamous wigs and the manifest from his mother’s arrival at Ellis Island, “Andy Warhol” makes the argument that its subject is, as Kenneth Brummel, the AGO’s Associate Curator of Modern Art puts it, “due for a reassessment.”
Pointedly, “Andy Warhol” casts its subject as a product of circumstance. The first half of the exhibition is devoted to establishing Warhol’s working-class bona-fides: his humble upbringing as a child of Eastern European immigrants in Pittsburgh, moving to New York to work on commercial and advertising art before establishing himself as a figurehead of the counterculture. In contrast, the latter half moves beyond the biographical into Warhol’s obsession with mortality and religion, a perspective made all the more visceral when he was shot in 1968 by the feminist author Valerie Solanas (Solanas also shot art critic Mario Amaya, who happened to be at Warhol’s studio at the time and would, the following year, become the chief curator at the AGO).
Presented across a massive section of the Gallery (twice the typical floor space to allow for physical distancing), the exhibition reframes the Pop Art Svengali by spotlighting some of Warhol’s lesser-known works while postulating that, as the homosexual son of poor Catholic immigrants, he was uniquely positioned to become the eminent art world translator of American culture.
To achieve this vantage point, the exhibition fleshes out the artist’s work as pointedly flawed and acerbic rather than the sleek, machine-like superficial mirror that has become the artist’s modern caricature. As such, seminal pieces including 1962’s “Marilyn Diptych” and 1964’s “Jackie Triptych” are presented couched in Warhol’s macabre obsessions and Catholic guilt, while the lesser seen “Ladies and Gentlemen” series, in which Warhol was commissioned to create portraits of New York’s Latin and African-American drag queens and trans women, is given pride of place, bluntly asking the viewer to confront the necropolitics of the work, both of its time and of modern day.
“We want to take Warhol as we understand him and make him strange again,” Brummel, who curated the AGO presentation following its debut last year at the Tate Modern in London, explains. “Our goal is to enrich understanding of Warhol as this bifurcated figure; more than a myth with a past.”
In parallel, the AGO presentation subtly points out Warhol’s ties to both the gallery and the city. This connection is brought to bear via a selection of works exclusive to the Toronto stop, including multiple commissioned portraits of the ballet superstar Karen Kain and, fetchingly, a neon Wayne Gretzky, whose placement in juxtaposition to “Oxidation Painting” (which Warhol created by coating a canvas with wet copper paint and getting his friends to urinate on it) serves as a commentary on the artist’s own fraught relationship with celebrity, commerce and the art world.
Moreover, by purposely positioning the retrospective in divergence with the polished colourful imagery and pithy quotables that have come to define Warhol as a pop culture figure, Brummel says he hopes it will help salvage the artist’s reputation as a precursor for the disposable nature and lavish absurdisms of modern art.
“The reality is every good painter has to reckon with the cult of admiration,” he says, pointing to the late-era series, “Stitched Photographs,” in which the artist toyed with his own authenticity by stitching a series of reprinted photographs together to form a repeated pattern. “And Warhol was a formidable precursor.”
In the works since 2017, “Andy Warhol” had been intended to debut at the AGO in March of 2021 and joined exhibitions across the sector and around the world which had been delayed or cancelled due to the pandemic.
According to CEO Stephan Jost, while it undoubtedly caused a number of logistical and financial headaches, the pandemic also allowed for something all too rare in the field: a moment to reflect.
Speaking during a brief interview under a posthumous self-portrait of Warhol, Jost explains that over the past year he “learned to stop talking and listen.”
“[The pandemic] allowed us to ask ourselves what are we actually doing and why are we actually doing this? That’s framed as an existential question, but it actually reminded people why they do what they do,” he says. “What I discovered was, on a basic level, we’re doing fine and that’s because everybody, from the night guards to our board, pulled their weight. That gives you a lot of confidence”
In addition, Jost says the break gave the heads of many of the city’s cultural organizations a chance to retrench and consider how best to reinvigorate what has been one of the hardest hit sectors.
“We used to meet maybe quarterly and now it’s every two weeks,” he says of the group, which includes representatives from the National Ballet, Harbourfront Centre, Canadian Opera Company and Soulpepper Theatre. “We’re all trying to figure it out and it’s actually been great to find a common learning.”
As for the near future, Jost says he’s excited for the gallery to come “roaring back,” beginning with the Warhol exhibition, which runs until Oct. 24, to be joined by, beginning Oct. 9, a blockbuster exhibition focusing on Picasso’s Blue Period.
“It’s the best exhibition schedule the AGO has ever had,” Jost exclaims. “We want to be all in on culture.”
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