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Public art installation in Owen Sound about hope, healing and more – Owen Sound Sun Times

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When Metis artist Tracey-May Chambers began her #hopeandhealingcanada installations earlier this year, her main goal was about reconnecting as Canada and Ontario began to reopen from the pandemic.

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Since then her installations have remained symbols of connectivity, but have also become about creating a dialogue about the difficult subjects of past and present racial discrimination against Indigenous people.

“I sort of lost direction and I wasn’t sure which direction to go after COVID because it was such a weird time for creating. I am a sculptor most of the time but would prefer to do installations because I like to be outside,” the Hamilton artists said Saturday outside the Tom Thomson Art Gallery in Owen Sound where she was installing her latest work. “I was just trying to figure out how to illustrate connection in a tangible way and this is what I came up with.”

But as her works evolved and became more intricate and more complicated, the discussion around the installations also became much more complex, particularly after the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves of children at former residential schools in the spring and early summer.

“It became something else entirely and questioning whether there was actually any connection between First Nations communities – being Indigenous, Metis and Inuit — or have we always been completely separate,” said Chambers. “I began talking to people about it, which is great. No one knows what to do. No one knows how to move forward from this.”

While the project is about hope and healing Canada, Chambers said the installations have given her the opportunity to specifically talk about the decolonization of Indigenous people with those who may not otherwise have that discussion.

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“Most settlers don’t talk about decolonization because it has always been their life, so they don’t see it. They feel things don’t need to change because everything is OK to them, but clearly it is not,” said Chambers. “Being in the space is an act of decolonization and literally that is what it comes down to for me.”

Chambers installs her works, both indoors and outdoors, sometimes lasting a day and other times up to six months. The installation just west of the Tom Thomson gallery along 2nd Avenue West is to be in place until Oct. 1, and taken down following the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30.

Metis artist Tracey-Mae Chambers, from Hamilton, installs her #hopeandhealingcanada project in the parkette just to the west of the Tom Thomson Art Gallery in Owen Sound on Saturday, September 18, 2021. Chambers uses red yarn to symbolize connectivity – between each other, ourselves and our communities, and our environment. Chambers is installing works across Canada, each one intended as an act of decolonization, inspiring people to connect, offering the hope that people can find healing and the path towards deeper understanding. The Owen Sound installation will run until Oct. 1.
Metis artist Tracey-Mae Chambers, from Hamilton, installs her #hopeandhealingcanada project in the parkette just to the west of the Tom Thomson Art Gallery in Owen Sound on Saturday, September 18, 2021. Chambers uses red yarn to symbolize connectivity – between each other, ourselves and our communities, and our environment. Chambers is installing works across Canada, each one intended as an act of decolonization, inspiring people to connect, offering the hope that people can find healing and the path towards deeper understanding. The Owen Sound installation will run until Oct. 1. Photo by Rob Gowan The Sun Times

The red yarn that Chambers has used in her pieces, “representing danger and power, but also courage and love,” will be reused again and again as she travels the country constructing the installation. She has plans to do 69 of the works in total.

“It will be used somewhere else across Canada and it will look totally different from this, and that is an act of decolonization because capitalism is a part of colonization,” Chambers said. “Really most people would throw it away and get a new one because it is easier. It made me realize reusing this is an act of decolonization by saying no to capitalism and saying no to that throw-away society, which is not an Indigenous world view.”

Chambers said that while she is sparking some conversations about difficult subjects, much more has to be done.

“I still see this sort of backlash against something like Every Child Matters. How could I feel it is getting anywhere if that organization isn’t getting anywhere,” Chambers said. “But at least I am getting these tiny conversations that are part of a bigger conversation, and that is the best that I can do.

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“The hope is there that the conversations will be there. It is just that some days are harder than others.”

Tom Thomson Art Gallery Curator of Public Projects and Education Heather McLeese said they are doing what they can to break down all barriers, both real and perceived, at the local gallery.

“Public art is a big focus for us, and projects that are talking about decolonization and truth and reconciliation, are not easy conversations at all, but they are necessary,” said McLeese. “That is what we should be doing here at the gallery and the city has been extremely supportive of this whole project.”

More details about Chambers’ installations can be found at https://www.traceymae.com/hopeandhealingcanada.html

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Moose Jaw Art Guild meets to discuss its upcoming MJMAG exhibition – moosejawtoday.com

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The Moose Jaw Art Guild is excited for their 54th Christmas exhibition at the Museum & Art Gallery

Led by President Karen Walpole, ten members of Moose Jaw’s Art Guild gathered for only the second time in 18 months to discuss their upcoming exhibition. The forms necessary for submission were distributed, and everyone chatted about how their works were progressing.

The theme for this year is “Looking Out My Window,” to be interpreted by the artist. A variety of mediums are encouraged, including drawings, pastels, watercolours, and sculptures.

Many of the works displayed in MJMAG’s lobby will be for sale. The exhibition will open on Nov. 12th, and continue until Jan. 9th of next year. 

Karen Walpole noted that she is “always excited” to share some of the Art Guild’s venerable history, particularly in regards to its role in the founding of MJMAG. She says that, “Back in 1963, the City of Moose Jaw asked what was then the Moose Jaw Fine Arts Guild to comment on their plan to celebrate Canada’s 100th birthday.” 

The Guild took that chance to strongly endorse and lobby for a “Cultural Centre” in Crescent Park near the Public Library. The Moose Jaw Art Museum opened in 1967, and the Art Guild has had an annual exhibition there ever since. 

Jennifer McRorie, MJMAG’s current curator and director, confirms that the Art Guild was “instrumental in getting the art museum established.” She adds that, “In 2017 we celebrated our 50th anniversary, and so we actually presented an exhibition from our permanent collection that was the result of 50 years of collecting the work of Moose Jaw artists.”

The Guild itself was established on a cold February night in 1929, after a presentation by influential Saskatchewan artists Vaughan Grayson and Barbara Barber. That night, the Women’s Art Association of Saskatchewan was voted into existence. In 1957 it became the Moose Jaw Fine Art Guild, and in 1984 it achieved its current form as the Moose Jaw Art Guild. 

This year’s exhibition comes on the heels, obviously, of the enormous disruption of the global pandemic. Nevertheless, the Guild endures, and is always open to new members. Walpole sincerely emphasizes that one purpose of their showings is to, “provide encouragement and an introduction to many of us that want to try our artistic hands, but don’t know where to start.”

Art is about expression, moving beyond the limitations of language to convey emotion in a subjective, yet direct way. Although it is not possible to control exactly how one’s art is perceived, this should not be a barrier. The main thing, Walpole says, is “to have the confidence to at least attempt an art form of some kind.”

More information about the Art Guild, its meetings, and how to join can be found on their Facebook page.

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Knitting for Guelph's Art Not Shame: 3 things to know about the organization and fundraiser – GuelphMercury.com

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Knitting for Guelph’s Art Not Shame: 3 things to know about the organization and fundraiser  GuelphMercury.com



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So you want my arts job: Art Installer – ArtsHub

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A rare opportunity saw Andrew Hawley join the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) as a casual art handler after graduating from his BFA in Drawing at RMIT in 2003.

Eighteen years later, he is now the Collection and Exhibition Preparator at Hobart’s Museum of Old and New Art (Mona), known for their eccentric and challenging exhibitions, and undoubtedly, one of the most exciting environments in which to work in art installations, storage, and exhibition preparations.

He also holds a Masters in Cultural Materials Conservation from the University of Melbourne, and has worked across ACMI, the Victorian Arts Centre, ExhibitOne, POD Museum and Art services, and the Melbourne Immigration Museum.

From Ron Meuck’s 10 metre infant sculpture to Ai Weiwei’s White House (2015) in Mona’s Siloam, Hawley and his colleagues are the answer to your question: ‘But how did they manage to get it there?’

Here, Hawley shares the excitement of working on high-profile exhibitions and discusses the skills you would need to pursue this challenging but rewarding profession.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE WHAT YOU DO?

In a nutshell; I prepare artwork and other culturally significant material for storage, exhibition and loan, and assist with exhibition/display installation. My role is quite varied but I spend most of my time at our off-site collection store where I design, construct and fit out custom packing units for artworks. These vary from timber crates and travel frames to archival board boxes, archival tubes for rolled works and the occasional solander box. I also ensure artwork is clean and display ready. 

I organise and maintain the off-site collection storage area which involves a lot of 3D Tetris. I work closely with colleagues including registrars, a conservator, a mount maker and several other very highly skilled art handler/technicians as well as a wider team of kinetic artwork and time based media technicians.

I assist with exhibition installation/deinstallation and collection changeover at the museum and some external locations during festivals.

I’m also a qualified paper conservator so I undertake some conservation assessments and treatments when required.

Read: So you want my arts job: Museum Program Producer

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN YOUR CAREER?

I finished a fine art degree in 2003 and was looking for something outside the hospitality industry and inside the museum/gallery industry. Luckily, a regular customer at one of the venues I worked in (as a chef/cook), let word slip that the National Gallery of Victoria were hiring casual art handlers to prepare to move into the refurbished premises at St Kilda Road. I got the boss’ details, wrote an application letter, attended a job interview and somehow was successful, despite no prior experience.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FORWARD TO THE MOST IN YOUR JOB?

Unique challenges and a reliance on lateral thinking for solutions – something I experience almost every day. I also have great colleagues with whom I liaise about all aspects of the job. We learn from each others’ creative perspectives.

I love the excitement of a large or high profile exhibition, including engagement with external or international artists and curators, trying to help realise a vision that may or may not be clear in everybody’s mind. I equally love the calm and solitude of a collection store and the fact that I work so closely with museum objects on a daily basis. If I have a bad day, looking at an ancient Egyptian mummified cat or some 2,000 year old bronze knife coins is very soothing. 

IN AN INTERVIEW FOR YOUR JOB, WHAT SKILLS AND QUALITIES WOULD YOU LOOK FOR?

Similar institutional experience in a similar capacity (eg. art handling, art packing) would be a must. It takes many years to attune yourself to the level of care required around culturally significant objects and irreplaceable artworks.

Other qualifiers would include:

  • A strong work ethic
  • An ability to handle multiple projects with strict deadlines
  • The ability to delegate fun jobs
  • The ability to undertake monotonous or tedious jobs
  • Strong, clear communication
  • Patience
  • Physically fit and able

The ability to look outside oneself and one’s own experience for solutions. It’s a bit of a ‘jack of all trades’ kind of position and a good Jack should know when they need to call on a master of something.

Someone who prefers order and neatness in their professional life. I’m in no way the neatest person in my private life but organising a storage area that keeps artwork safe and secure requires a high degree of attention to detail.

WHAT IS ONE OF THE MOST MEMORABLE INSTALLATION EXPERIENCES/PROJECTS THAT YOU’VE WORKED ON?

There’s been a lot over the years – I’ve done everything from helping carry and install a 10 metre silicon sculpture of an infant (Ron Mueck) to hanging iconic works from Picasso, Munch or Tom Roberts. From installing 100 tiny neolithic arrow/spear heads in one showcase to helping build a large, imperial Chinese house framework on glass balls (Ai Weiwei), and from installing famous AFL players’ jerseys in a sports museum (MCG/Australian Sports Museum) to hanging stills from Kubrick’s 2001 Space Odyssey (ACMI).

It’s hard to pick one moment from one project. In recent times, it’s probably been the preparatory work and final install of big MONA shows like On the Origins of Art, The Museum of Everything and our recent Monanisms 2021 collection based exhibition.

WHAT’S THE BEST THING HAPPENING IN YOUR SECTOR AT THE MOMENT?

We’re still operating and I still enjoy my job.

Read: So you want my arts job: Theatre Technician

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