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New city hall art puts Indigenous past and future of Calgary on display – Calgary Herald

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‘I want everybody to look at these and be proud, to be proud of where they are. We’re on Blackfoot territory’

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Vibrant images of Indigenous history and the future of reconciliation unfolded 30 feet down pillars in the city hall atrium Thursday.

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Local muralist Kalum Teke Dan created the three images — together titled Past, Present, Future — to illustrate the history of the land that’s now called Calgary, and show how Indigenous ways and traditions are still alive.

Dan, a Blackfoot artist with roots in the Blood Tribe in southern Alberta, looked on as crews put the banners on display Thursday morning. His mother worked for the city for 30 years, he said, and now his art will be displayed just outside council chambers, a place he’s known well since he was a child.

“I want everybody to look at these and be proud, to be proud of where they are. We’re on Blackfoot territory,” he said. “We’re trying to show what we’re about. We are very proud people.”

The banners were commissioned as part of the city’s Indigenous place-keeping program. Dan’s art will be up for two years, and work from other Indigenous artists living in Calgary and the surrounding area will rotate through the municipal atrium in the future.

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City of Calgary Indigenous public art curator Jessica McMann said it’s important for people who live in Calgary to be exposed to Indigenous art, especially in an important venue such as city hall.

“This is a place of governance, and also many newcomers come into this building as well,” she said.

“It’s really important that everyone witnesses Indigenous artwork within this place. As well, it’s a step in reconciliation for everybody — people who work in the building but also all Calgarians who come visit this space.”

Dan’s project was in the works for a few years, from planning and organizing the concept to about three months of “solid painting” on a huge custom easel he worked on in his home studio. After the original acrylic on canvas paintings were done, the images were printed on the banners that are now on public display.

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“Basically, through reconciliation I was just trying to show images of our past, our present and what is to come for our future,” he said.

The banner that represents the past shows how Indigenous people used to live along the rivers that run through Calgary, and the image of the present shows the Calgary Tower but also tells a story about how the city sits on Blackfoot land, Dan said.

“I chose the youth in the future because they are going to be our next leaders.”

Eagles also weave throughout the work, which Dan said represents strength.

“In these images, I have a lot of the eagle in there because the eagle is the guardian, the guide. It’s such a prominent image in our culture.”

masmith@postmedia.com
Twitter: @meksmith

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Art thieves make off with sculptures from Kelowna gallery – CBC.ca

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Kelowna RCMP are investigating a brazen early morning art heist at Gallery 421 in the city’s South Pandosy district.

Gallery co-owner Ken Moen said two masked men took a crowbar to the front doors just before 2 a.m. Saturday and made off with almost $70,000 of Canadian fine art.

“It was a total of three minutes. They were in, they were out,” he said.

“All things considered, we feel fairly lucky because they did zero vandalism. We have paintings on the walls they didn’t touch. It was very targeted.”

Moen said the criminals immediately ran for the most expensive, heaviest works on display at the back of the gallery: two bronze sculptures by noted Calgary area cowboy artist Vilem Zach, each weighing about 40 kilograms.

The thieves quickly loaded up a vehicle, re-entered and snatched three smaller bronze sculptures cast by Summerland’s Michael Hermesh, three glass bowls blown by Jeff Holmwood, and two soapstone bear carvings from Vance Theoret.

“They knew what they were getting,” Moen told CBC News.  

“I think someone has a shopping list and they sent them here … somebody probably said go grab the most expensive sculptures and get in and get out.”

Moen says the bronze has little value smelted down or sold as scrap. Selling the works of art will be difficult at any Canadian galleries or auction houses.

The break and enter was caught on the gallery’s security cameras.

The RCMP are seeking information on two male suspects.

“One suspect is described as wearing a red bandana over his face, a grey tuque, grey sweater, black track pants with white pin stripes and white shoes. The second male suspect is described as wearing a mask over his face, a black hoodie, grey sweatpants and with black Adidas shoes,” said RCMP Cst. Solana Paré.
 

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Cold comfort: film, music, art and more to combat the winter blues – The Guardian

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Cold comfort: film, music, art and more to combat the winter blues  The Guardian



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Letters: Art in the time of COVID – Richmond News

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Dear Editor,

During WWII, Britain’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill was asked to cut the arts programs to adequately fund the war effort, to which he responded, “Then what are we fighting for?”

Many of us feel as though these past two years have been akin to a war, or at least a battle. If you are like me, it often feels like we take a few steps forward, followed by a few more steps back, particularly as new variants, such as Delta and Omicron, rear their ugly heads.

Two years later, I don’t think I am alone in feeling like I have been in the midst of a war zone, trying to keep myself, my family, my friends and my community safe during uncertain and unpredictable times.

While we collectively try to preserve and protect our physical health, we cannot lose sight of our mental wellness. At times during this pandemic, I have felt sad, scared, anxious, depressed, forlorn, hopeless, mad and defeated — often feeling more than one of these emotions at once.

Reflecting on Churchill’s quote, I have come to realize that the man was onto something, and art might be a much-needed respite to our ongoing struggle. Will we solve the world’s problems with a bit of paint and paper? No. Might art bring us some light and happiness in these dark, cold, Covid-laden days? Yes, I think so, and there is solid evidence to back this conviction.

Last month, I ordered some coloured pencils, crayons, and sketching paper on a whim. I hadn’t done much drawing and colouring since I left elementary school, but I thought, “what the heck!”

When it came in the mail, my heart was delighted, and as I started to colour my less than realistic, stick-figured tree, my soul felt lighter and happier.

I am not claiming that art can solve our problems, but it might help keep our spirits lifted and preserve our mental health. We must hold our public officials accountable for protecting us. But we must also work together to protect our physical and mental wellness so that we can emerge from this pandemic strong and ready to continue our pursuit of a better tomorrow.

Jack Trovato (he/his)

RICHMOND

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