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Obituary: Wayne Ngan's life of magical art in ceramics and sculpture – Times Colonist



Wayne Ngan, one of Canada’s premier artists and a Hornby Island resident for more than 50 years, has died at age 83.

He passed away at home on June 12 due to lymphoma, daughter Goya Ngan said Thursday.

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Ngan’s work in ceramics was widely celebrated, but he also created sculptures using materials such as bronze and steel and painted. His art can be found in public galleries and private collections.

Goya Ngan, who was with sister Gailan Ngan on Thursday, said she could not imagine her father doing anything but art in his life.

“He enjoyed each step of making an object,” she said.

“I don’t recall him every complaining about his work, unless it was the business side of things.”

Her father typically worked in surges of two to three months at a time.

“There was a seasonal rhythm to it. In the last decade, painting would happen in the fall, sculpture would be carried out during the winter in China and pottery would begin in spring as the weather warmed up. In the summer he spent much time with visitors to his studio.”

As for his character, she said: “As a teenager, I didn’t like having an eccentric dad, but now I will miss that about him.”

Douglas S. White of Nanaimo, who is also known as Kwulasultun and Tliishin, knew Wayne Ngan for 30 years. He said that while his friend spent a lot of time alone, he was also “great storyteller — he loved talking, he loved chatting.”

White is a lawyer now, but at age 20 he was studying art in Vancouver. His ceramics instructor offered an introduction to Ngan. The two talked on the phone and by the end of their conversation, White was invited to apprentice on Hornby Island in the summer of 1990. That experience was an “incredible privilege,” White wrote in an essay about his cherished summer with Ngan.

“I knew of Wayne from being on Hornby Island in years previous with friends. We would go to visit his remarkable studio — he was always the kindest person … In my studies, I had come to learn of and to know him as the pre-eminent studio potter in Canada.”

Ngan did not teach White how to throw a pot on a wheel, but rather taught him in other ways.

“I wedged his clay for his own throwing, helped with glazing, loaded kilns, fired kilns, tended to customers, cleaned the studio, cleaned his home, made meals, and slept on the storage room floor,” White said.

Ngan allowed White to fire his wood-fired kilns, taught him the names of plants in the garden and they chatted with visiting friends.

“I spent the summer being immersed in his rhythm and his approach to making art. I spent the summer being surrounded by beauty,” he said. “I spent the summer drinking out of his bowls, eating off of his plates. In this way, I learned what a good pot is.

“You get to learn what a great pot feels like in your hands, its weight, its temperature, the texture of the glaze, the quality of the foot. I developed an eye and a touch for what was good and what was great.”

Born in China, Ngan immigrated to Canada in 1951, growing up in Richmond. He attended the Vancouver School of Art, where he received the Marie E. Lambert Pottery Prize. He graduated with honours in 1963 and moved to Hornby Island four years later.

Although he was based on a small island, Ngan lectured and taught ceramics at schools in Canada and China, led workshops locally and abroad, and had his art showcased in exhibitions locally and internationally.

In 1984, he used a Canada Council Grant build a 300-cubic-foot, Sung Dynasty-inspired wood-fired kiln, based on model seen at the Beijing National Museum.

Jeff Dean, a gallerist at Winchester Galleries, said Ngan was “experimental in his output and taking cues from the past.”

The artist was recognized numerous times. Honours included receiving the Saidye Bronfman Award for Masters of the Crafts in 1983 and the British Columbia Creative Achievement Award of Distinction in 2013.

John Tupper, director of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, said Ngan played an important role in the development of art in B.C. Ngan a solo exhibition at the gallery in 1970.

“His approach to ceramics was both traditional and reflective of the period in which he practised,” Tupper said.

“He built his home on Hornby in the same manner that he made his pottery: Using materials that he found close at hand, creating things that are both functional and incredibly elegant.”

The Gulf Islands in the 1960s attracted some of the greatest potters Canada has every produced, Tupper said, adding: “Wayne Ngan is certainly among the best.”

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'Gerryfest' to celebrate Gerry Atwell's music and art, but also his advocacy against systemic racism –



A festival celebrating the life of the late Gerry Atwell is taking place in Winnipeg next month — but the night will be about more than just music and art.

Atwell, a Juno Award-winning musician known for playing the keyboard for the Winnipeg band Eagle and Hawk, died after suffering a heart attack in late November 2019.

Family and friends knew they would celebrate his life with a music festival this summer. But with people in North America demanding change once again, a key part of the daylong festival will be focused toward the fight against systemic racism — a cause Atwell long advocated for.

“We’re all missing his humanity when it comes to these types of issues,” said Judy Williams, Atwell’s sister.

“He always had a different message for the different audiences he might have been speaking with,” she said, and were he alive now, he would say “something profound, but something that would be inclusive, whether he was going to encourage someone to take some action, or think of other people.”

Atwell also would see the positive opportunities that will come through the conversations being had, added Louise May, executive director of the St. Norbert Arts Centre, where she worked with Atwell for about 25 years.

“Even though it’s coming from such negativity and such a negative event, there is so much hope through it, and so much burgeoning awareness, and ability to talk about it and ability for people to confront themselves with it,” said May.

On Black History Month, musician Joe Curtis celebrates the memory of Gerry Atwell and his mother Frances, who was one of the first black pharmacists in Manitoba. 2:25

“It’s a very, very hopeful time and I know Gerry would be pushing us to see that hope and to really manifest it.”

Gerryfest will take place on Aug. 14 — Atwell’s birthday — at the St. Norbert Arts Centre. Both Williams and May said they felt his presence during the process of organizing the event.

“Even the term ‘Gerryfest’ was Gerry’s idea,” said May. “It was something that we talked about many times, kind of in a joking way. But I knew he always wanted to really do it, which was to have a day when all of his bands played back-to-back-to-back-to-back.

“To which I always said, ‘Gerry, what, you’re going to play for seven, eight hours in one row?'” she said. “That was going to be the very best day that he could imagine for himself.”

Although Atwell won’t be there in person, his presence will be there through former bandmates and other lives he touched, May said.

The planning of Gerryfest started before the COVID-19 pandemic hit Manitoba. So the original plan of a weekend festival has been whittled down to an afternoon and evening of music and art dedicated to Atwell.

If he were still alive today, Atwell’s sister says he would be joining the fight against systemic racism, using words that are profound but also inclusive. (Submitted by Carla Williams)

“I really think we can just keep his work alive and keep building on it year after year with this,” said May, adding that this will be the first of an annual festival.

The festival will also raise funds for the Gerry Atwell Memorial Mentorship Fund, an endowment fund that will have musicians and artists mentoring young people, just like Atwell once did, said Williams.

An invitation is needed to attend the event at the St. Norbert Arts Centre, but people can tune in through livestreams online, said May.

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Window shopping: Whyte Avenue Art Walk shifts from sidewalks to storefronts for 25th anniversary – Edmonton Journal



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“More than ever, it’s important for people to continue supporting artists,” said Zhelisko, who also teaches art classes at The Paint Spot. “I’ve had to put more effort into social media and promoting my work online, but I think the pandemic has shown people what’s really important. I’ve had some commissions from people who want portraits of family members or friends as a way to recognize them.”

First-time Art Walk participant Shelly Banks also works at The Paint Spot and specializes in oil, producing vivid nature and wildlife images that will be featured in the shop’s storefront.

“I’ve always been into art, but working at The Paint Spot and spending so much time around artists encouraged me to give it a try,” said Banks, regarding her decision to take up painting five years ago, producing watercolour, acrylic and coloured pencil art before settling on oil as her preferred method.

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Penticton Art Gallery hosts first Bob Ross exhibit in Canada –



It’s the first time Bob Ross’ happy little exhibit has crossed the border to Canada, and it’s nestled itself right in the South Okanagan at the Penticton Art Gallery.

“There is something magical when you see them in the flesh. There is a greater level of skill than maybe you would believe when see them on TV,” said Paul Crawford, Penticton Art Gallery curator, of the exhibit.

Bob Ross’ TV show, which taught viewers how to paint with soothing words of encouragement and first aired 37 years ago, is seeing a resurgence in popularity online.

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During the lockdown, people have been making the most out of their downtime by picking up paintbrushes and are learning how to ’embrace happy little accidents.’

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The exhibit pulls back the curtain on a little TV magic by revealing that there were actually three versions of each Bob Ross painting.

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“He’d have that first painting that no one would ever see, then there was the one he would do live half an hour on TV before your eyes,” said Crawford.

“Then he would do a third version which they would do if they missed a shot or for close-ups during the live taping.”

As Bob Ross said, “The secret to doing anything is believing you can do it.”

The exhibit will be open until Sept. 13.

‘It’s given me dreams that come to life’: Penticton artist uses studio as creative community hub

‘It’s given me dreams that come to life’: Penticton artist uses studio as creative community hub

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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