A new 24-foot-long artwork commemorates the beaching of the largest mammal on Earth in Trout River in 2014.
“Still Life III (Narratives of Loss)” is a public artwork by Corner Brook-based artist Marc Losier, depicting the skeleton of a blue whale like the one that washed ashore on Trout River’s beach in April 2014.
At the time, the whale, and the predicament its massive carcass presented Trout River, drew international media attention before it was removed by personnel from the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM).
The blue whale’s skeleton is currently displayed at the Research Casting International facility in Trenton, Ont.
The luminous piece, also incorporating local images of whale watching, sea life and the whale, was installed on the side of Trout River’s fish plant, facing the river, on Nov. 23.
In conceptualizing the piece, Losier was interested in the discrepancies between the different perspectives of the whale’s body.
“One of the things I was particularly interested in with the blue whale death in 2014 is the distance between the museum’s presentation of this animal and the actual place from which it was recovered,” he told SaltWire.
Losier explained that when you go to Trout River, other than a small placard, there was very little to commemorate the blue whale’s appearance.
Meanwhile, he found it peculiar how the whale was displayed in a storage facility as if it was on display at a museum.
“For me, it crystallized the different kinds of perspectives that communities have of these animals,” he said. “If you grow up in Ontario, you can only imagine an animal such as the blue whale. But if you grow up in Newfoundland, you have a very different relationship to the ocean and to different kinds of economies and histories that exist on the water. What I wanted to do was to try to animate the whale body in such a way that it reflected aspects of western Newfoundland inside that workspace and create a new kind of depiction of a whale body that hasn’t been seen before.”
The whale ended up in Ontario after the ROM in Toronto was called upon to dissect the whale and bring it back to the museum to be a feature exhibit in 2017.
Losier explains the skeleton on display at the ROM was an “idealized skeleton” comprised of two blue whales and other composite materials.
“It was kind of pulled together or ‘frankensteined,’” he said. “Which is a technique natural history museums use for dinosaurs, for example.”
After the exhibition, the skeleton was moved to the Trenton facility for further analysis.
There, Losier was allowed to photograph the whale for his piece.
Losier lit the skeleton, using digital cinematic projectors, with local images from the Bonne Bay area.
He then took multiple photographs of the skeleton and constructed the art as a composite of these photographs.
Losier said he felt the way the image was constructed reflected the composite reconstruction of the whale for exhibition.
“The process for reconstructing mimics the way in which the museum actually reassembled the whale body for the exhibition,” he said.
Trout River Mayor Horace Crocker called it a “beautiful piece of work” that the community is appreciating more and more.
“As you stop and look at it and think about where it came from, what’s been involved to get it there in the first place, people are starting to accept it,” he told SaltWire Network.
Crocker says the piece is just a couple of hundred feet from where the whale washed ashore.
Losier received permission from the Barry Group, owners of the plant, to install the work on the plant wall.
The piece was initially commissioned to be on display for three months, but Losier says it has been extended until the summer.
Its future afterward is to be determined.
Losier and the Town of Trout River are having discussions about the town acquiring the piece and displaying it at the local fishermen’s museum.
“We don’t want it to leave town, for sure,” said Crocker.
Losier says he is glad the community was receptive to and intrigued by his work.
“You never really know when you’re installing a work in public how the local community is going to receive it,” he said. “So, I’m really grateful it’s been so positive so far.”
The work was commissioned by Creative Gros Morne.
“Still Life III” is part of Losier’s Narratives of Loss series, depicting the skeletal remains of three of the blue whales that died and washed ashore in Gros Morne National Park in 2014.
They were among nine blue whales that were trapped under sea ice in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and drowned earlier that year.
Losier learned of the whales after he moved to Newfoundland in 2016, and calls them victims of climate change.
Stephen Roberts is a reporter covering the west coast of Newfoundland.
10 year-old uses art and music as emotional outlet during pandemic – CTV Toronto
The last 10 months haven’t been easy for 10 year-old Anushka Sabeshan.
“It’s been pretty hard. I get anxious about these things,” she told CTV News Toronto. “My classmate tested positive, my dad tested positive, so it’s just been like a whole rollercoaster for me. And I feel like a lot of kids around the world are feeling that way right now.”
The Markham, Ont. girl has been channeling her feelings and emotions through different artistic platforms, like painting.
“This art like shows like how I want it to be, or how it is now, or how it’s changed and they just really express my feelings,” Sabeshan explained. “I’ve also been creating music.”
It’s Sabeshan’s music that caught the attention of her teacher and classmates. As part of a school project, the students were tasked with creating a song about COVID-19. Sabeshan’s song, ‘Mayhem,’ was so well received that her family allowed it to go public. A production team also helped her put together a music video.
“My song is about a child through the pandemic, and it shows how this can affect kids, too,” Sabeshan said. “Not being able to see my friends and not being able to go out to restaurants and all that stuff, it sucks.”
Sabeshan’s younger brother Devin helped with the video The six-year-old says he shares many of his sister’s emotions.
“I felt really bad about COVID,” he told CTV News Toronto. “I wish it would go away.”
The siblings hope ‘Mayhem’ brings a feeling of calm to other young people during this difficult time.
“I think my music people will help other people just to reassure them that they’re not alone. Like, other people are feeling these feelings, too,” Sabeshan said. “It also is to create awareness for everybody to stay safe so we can get through this faster.”
“[Anushka] sings them a song to make them happy,” Devin says. “That’s what she does for other kids.”
‘Mayhem’ was put together with the help of Enliven Entertainment and Steve Cliff Valentine, who produced the music, along with Jeysan Sivakumar, who directed the video.
Sabeshan’s advice for other kids experiencing complex feelings during this time is to find something to do that makes them happy, or that they feel passionate about.
“I will definitely keep making paintings and making music,” she told CTV News Toronto. “And I encourage all people around the world to find things like what they like and just do them, just to take your mind off the pandemic.”
Outdoor Gallery Stratford project brings art to life – The Beacon Herald
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“I want to flip that idea on its side and have the viewer engage in the evolution of the art piece itself – watching it change and seeing a bit of the creative process as it goes,” Dunnem said.
Dunnem used hot and cold water and soap to turn natural wool from a stuffing-like texture to fabric that wouldn’t fall apart. She used plant-based dye to colour the material and then cut more than 360 pieces that were affixed to the tree using its bark as a natural adhesive.
The project is similar to another soft sculpture piece Dunnem created in the summer that incorporated the gallery’s trees.
“I’ve always had a close relationship with nature and trees,” she said. “I spend a lot of time out in the woods and the forest. Even as a young child we spent our summers in a remote area where there were no other humans, so I adopted the trees as more than trees – as friends – and that’s been ingrained.”
After Dunnem has attached the last piece of wool Thursday, the project will live on – kind of.
“I think there is just as much beauty in the deterioration and in the decay as there is in the actual artwork,” she said. “The sun, the light, the cold, the hot will start to break down the fibres, and bugs and spiders and natural material will start to hold on to the fibres as well, and it becomes its own piece of art without human intervention.”
The project has garnered attention both in person and on social media for those who can’t make it to the gallery, including someone from Austria, Dunnem said.
Gallery Stratford closed its doors to guests Dec. 24, and Brayham hopes to reopen in early April. Until then, outdoor artwork like Dunnem’s is a chance to both engage the public and encourage mindfulness and physical activity.
“Many of us right now are spending so much time on screens,” Brayham said, “so being present with the environment and present with art and with your feelings is so important right now.”
Outdoor public art exhibit of painted canoe paddles comes to downtown Peterborough in February – kawarthaNOW.com
A new outdoor public art exhibit featuring 20 canoe paddles painted by volunteer artists in the community is coming to downtown Peterborough in February.
Presented by the Downtown Vibrancy Project, the Painted Paddle art exhibit will be installed in street-front windows at various locations through the downtown area, including the Peterborough & the Kawartha Tourism Visitor Centre, Le Petit Bar, St. Veronus, Boardwalk Game Lounge, Sam’s Deli, Black Honey Bakery, Cork and Bean, B!KE, Watson and Lou, Cottage Toys, By The Bridge, GreenUp Store, Night Kitchen, Peterborough Downtown Business Improvement Area office, Meta4 Gallery, The Avant-Garden Shop, Sustain, Bluestreak Records, and Peterborough Social Services.
For those interested in taking a self-guided tour of the Painted Paddle exhibit, a map of all locations will be available at linktr.ee/LoveForTheBoro.
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“Art brightens the spirit and has a way of making people feel good,” says Tracie Bertrand, director of tourism at Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development. “The Painted Paddle art project will put a smile on people’s faces as they fondly reflect on their memories of being outdoors here in Peterborough and the Kawarthas.”
Some of the people and organizations who have contributed paddle art for the project include Peterborough mayor Diane Therrien, Hiawatha First Nation, Wiigwaas Hiawatha Store, Peterborough Police Service, Peterborough DBIA, GreenUP, Trent Gzowski College, Trent Veg Garden, Peterborough Pollinators, Princess Gardens Retirement Residence, Empress Gardens Retirement Residence, St. Anne’s School, VegFest, B!KE, the Art School of Peterborough, city councillors Kim Zippel and Kemi Akapo, mother-and-daughter team Eileen and Kendron Kimmett, local Anishinaabe artist Kyler Kay, and local artist Tiphaine Lenaik.
“The paddle creates a unique way to honour and acknowledge the original families in Treaty 20,” says Tim Cowie, lands and resource consultant with Hiawatha First Nation, one of many creative community members who lent their artistic skills to the Painted Paddle project. Cowie painted his paddle to look like a piece of birch bark (wiigwaas) and painted the clans (dodems) on his paddle to showcase the family ties of the Michi Saagiig.
Jill Stevens, economic development officer of Hiawatha First Nation, incorporated Michii Saagiig culture as part of their painted paddle installation.
“Having a paddle as the canvas was the perfect backdrop for the Hiawatha logo, which depicts someone paddling through manomin (wild rice) stands,” Stevens says.
The Painted Paddle exhibit will be on display in downtown Peterborough from Monday, February 1st until Friday, March 5th.
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Painted paddles from the exhibition will be available in a virtual auction beginning at 8 p.m. on Friday, February 19th and continuing until 8 p.m. on Thursday, March 4th, just before the March First Friday Peterborough art crawl.
Proceeds from the auction at www.32auctions.com/paintedpaddles will go towards the One City Employment Program, which provides meaningful work to those with barriers to traditional employment.
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