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Online Indigenous art auction opens to support Soap For Hope

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VICTORIA —
Soap for Hope Canada launched an Indigenous online art auction this past weekend – which features close to 100 donated pieces of artwork from B.C. and Alberta artists – to help raise funds amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The non-profit organization, which has facilities in Victoria and Calgary, provides personal hygiene products like soap and shampoo to people in need across this province and Alberta.

Partnering with local hotels and using volunteers, Soap for Hope diverts and recycles gently used amenities that would otherwise be thrown out. The organization then reprocesses the personal hygiene products into useable personal care items.

The new hygiene products are then sent to remote Indigenous communities and to marginalized groups that need it most, such as homeless shelters, transition houses and food banks.

The program strives to eliminate as much waste from landfills as possible, while also providing an essential service to community facilities and marginalized groups.

However, due to COVID-19, many hotel donations of used soap and shampoo have plummeted, forcing Soap for Hope to buy new product to keep up with demand.

The newly launched online art auction is the organization’s way of raising funds to offset the drop in donations so that Soap for Hope’s work with close to 250 community facilities and Indigenous communities can continue.

“So, 100 per cent of the proceeds raised from this online art auction will stay within the community,” said Danijela Brkovic, Indigenous relations coordinator for Soap For Hope.

“It will help us grow our circle of giving so we can actually reach out into more nations and more communities and help them out in their time of need.”

Hygiene products are essential to helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 and are not always accessible for the most vulnerable, or for those living in remote communities.

“By ensuring nobody ever has to hope for soap, we empower individuals to achieve everything they are capable of,” reads the Soap for Hope website.

“Through hygiene, we build communities, support each other and bring together individuals.”

Soap For Hope Canada also provides gently used bed linens, duvets, pillows, robes and slippers to those in need. The household items are largely donated to the organization through hotel partners.

The Soap For Hope online Indigenous art auction can be found here and runs from Aug. 1 to Aug 15.

“Not only is it an opportunity for us to raise funds to continue to offer our support, it’s an opportunity for artists to offer their craft,” said Kara Udell, Victoria-area program coordinator for Soap For Hope.

“Their art is powerful and can speak volumes and can raise awareness about the beauty that is in our neighbourhood.”

Source: – CTV News VI

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Art and grieving: Painter Barbara Pratt honours mother Mary Pratt's life in new exhibit – CBC.ca

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There was no cake waiting for Barbara Pratt on her 56th birthday, something that until that point had been a tradition shared between her and her mother each year to mark the annual celebration of life. 

The warmth and love was missing for the first time.

Renowned artist Mary Pratt — her mother — died at 83 in August 2018. Mary made a career of painting hyper-realistic everyday scenes — including of baking — that resonated across the country and sent her to the top of the Canadian art world. 

Today, Barbara Pratt’s newest gallery, starting Saturday at the Emma Butler Gallery in St. John’s, pays homage to her late mother. 

“I had an idea back in 2018 to paint a painting of the cake pans, that’s in this exhibition, and I wasn’t really thinking about it in a really significant kind of way,” Pratt told CBC Radio’s On The Go

“But after my mother died, in that same year, the image became more poignant for me and I started thinking about other possibilities for images. When my birthday came I realized there wouldn’t be any birthday cake from my mom that year, for the first time ever, really, and that hit me pretty hard and fuelled my creativity.”

Pratt picked up painting from her parents. She also picked up baking from her mother, something she says is taken seriously in her family — particularly with birthdays. 

This cake was designed by Maria Clarke of Petite Sweet in St. John’s. Pratt painted it as part of her latest collection. (Submitted by the Emma Butler Gallery)

“It struck me that baking, and baking birthday cakes in particular, is essentially an act of love that you do for somebody else,” said Pratt.

“I don’t take baking birthday cakes lightly. I’m not going to bake a birthday cake for just anybody.”

‘It’s just part of what we do’

Pratt said the idea to paint cakes was obvious to her after going through some old family slides, many of which featured cake.

She said everyone in the family was happy in those captured moments, but added cake itself plays a role in societal norms. 

“Cake in general has a larger picture in our culture. We have cake with many of our rituals and celebrations. Retirement, graduations, weddings, obviously, and even at funerals you bring baked goods,” Pratt said.

“It’s just part of what we do, and that’s the way my mom approached art. It’s the way I approach it as well. It’s about representing what you know.”

Barbara Pratt says painting cakes for her newest collection came to her after the realization that she would not be receiving another of her mother’s. (Submitted by the Emma Butler Gallery)

Pratt’s new works feature actual cakes designed by Maria Clarke of Petite Sweet in St. John’s and some of her own. 

Eighteen of her paintings will be hung on the walls of the gallery from Sept. 19 to Oct. 10, and the memory of her mother and the paying of her tribute goes one step further. 

Many of the paintings were used using Mary Pratt’s brushes, and even some of her own canvases that she never had the opportunity to use, said Barbara Pratt. 

“I feel lucky, in that I have sort have been with her during the whole duration of creating work for this show,” she said. 

“There were days were days when it was very emotional for me, but uplifting at the same time.… I don’t know that it helped, but I did feel honoured by the ability to use her brushes, and her paint, and well an awful lot more of her supplies as well.”

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador 

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Art exhibit captures memories of a changing landscape through COVID-19 pandemic – NiagaraFallsReview.ca

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We began lockdown toward the end of winter; still cold, we stayed inside. As spring opened up to possibilities, many of us took to the outdoors, walking our only contact with the broader community, awkward though those encounters might be, hailing neighbours at a careful distance.

Alliston, Ont., artist Gary Evans has been creating throughout the pandemic; some of his paintings are now being shown in an exhibition titled “Daylight” at the Paul Petro gallery in Toronto.

He, too, experienced the strangeness of the world and the way he was moving in it, differently. “Avoiding the few people out there and really relishing the freshness of the air and changing conditions of the spring, the walks and sights of the town and surrounding landscape became the subject of paintings,” he says. “I found myself trying to express the different textures of the landscape, capture a mood and witness change on a daily basis.”

A fence. A tree changing shape and the changing light.

“Intersections of architecture and nature always seem to catch my eye, and the painting ‘Alley’ is based on the view of a neighbour’s fence that runs beside a parking lot and an arena building. The small maples that peek over the fence mark the space or distance between the viewer and architecture.”

“Often I will start to paint an actual image, then slowly add marks and imaginative or abstract patterns and colours to complete the image in a more expressive and personal manner. I’m trying to create a dialogue between our inner world of feeling and subjective reality and the generic landscape we inhabit together.”

And now, we enter fall. The days shorter, the air crisper, the shadows longer. We’ll observe more carefully, wanting to etch moments in our mind. Some we’ll want to remember clearly, some framed, perhaps, with simply a sense of colours and lines and feelings. Memories to sustain us through a long winter indoors.

You can see the entire exhibition at the Paul Petro Contemporary Art gallery at paulpetro.com.

Deborah Dundas

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10-year-old Anishinaabe photographer makes art show debut at skatepark exhibition – CBC.ca

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Ella Greyeyes came across photography by accident, when she filled in for a photographer who was supposed to take her dad’s headshot, but cancelled at the last minute.

The 10-year-old was instantly hooked. She started snapping more pictures: some of her mom, others of nature scenes. Her parents posted them on Instagram and Ella soon drew the attention of local artist Annie Beach, who suggested Ella get involved with Lavender Menace, a mentorship opportunity that will culminate in an art show at The Plaza skatepark at The Forks.

“I’m feeling really excited and just happy that I’m going to have my photos at The Forks,” Ella told CBC’s Weekend Morning Show host Nadia Kidwai on Sunday. “When people see my photos, I hope they feel joy in them.”

For Ella, photography was a new way to see the world around her.

“When I see something, I just like to frame it,” she said. “And I love to take pictures of nature. It just feels so good and relaxing.”

The photo Ella took of her dad, Alan Greyeyes, that kicked off her budding photography career. (Ella Greyeyes)

The show organized by Graffiti Art Programming gets its name from a term rooted in the American lesbian women’s movement for inclusion within feminism, said Chanelle Lajoie, a Métis artist who mentored Ella ahead of Sunday night’s opening reception. Lajoie said Lavender Menace was a chance to create space for Indigenous people and learn from each other.

“Working with Ella provided for me that intergenerational knowledge-sharing, because it was very much reciprocated on both ends,” Lajoie said. 

“Ella really enjoying taking photography of nature … seemed [to] really fit well with the project of providing natural elements to a predominantly concrete space, and so it was a really perfect fit.”

Ella — who is Anishinaabe from Peguis First Nation and lives in Winnipeg — said she learned so much about photography from Lajoie, from how to use the different settings on her camera to how to make a person comfortable in front of her lens.

“You have to be happy when you take them,” she said. “You have to take them with some joy, because then it will make the person, the model, feel really good and smile and not be grumpy in every photo.”

Ella took this photo of her mom, Destiny Seymour. (Ella Greyeyes)

Lajoie said the show at The Forks is meant to start a conversation about representation of Indigenous, LGBT and two-spirit people in a space so deeply rooted in Indigenous histories.

“That conversation will include us. It’ll bring up some uncomfortable realities. [But] our representation is also going to encourage inclusion and build community further,” she said. 

“So I hope anyone who is at the show, whether it’s tonight or in the future, if they’re having difficulty seeking out their queer selves or their Indigenous selves, that they see this and see themselves in us.”

The Lavender Menace group art exhibition launches Sunday at 5 p.m. The event will run until 7 p.m., though the art will stay until next year.

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