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Q&A: birdO talks street art and wildlife conservation – WWF.CA – WWF-Canada Blog

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World-renowned street artist birdO has spent the past decade bringing nature into cities with his breathtaking murals that can be spotted across Canada and around the world. Now he’s teaming up with WWF-Canada to protect the nature he loves with WWF-Canada’s Wildest Ride Contest.

The grand prize winner will drive away with an electric vehicle that birdO will make one-of-a-kind by painting a custom piece of wildlife-inspired artwork on the roof of the car. Purchase tickets before August 26 at 11:59 p.m. ET for your chance to win.

We spoke to birdO about his artistic inspirations, passion for wildlife and partnership with WWF-Canada.

“This piece was fun to create because we were dangling off a tower building in midtown Toronto. The neighbourhood it is named after (Deer Park) is great as it has direct access to the ravine system. A great reminder that Toronto is greener than it appears on the surface.” © Jerry Rugg

In one sentence, how would you describe your art?
Surreal geometric creatures.

Most of your work features animals. What about them inspires you?
As an artist, it’s so important to stay inspired by your subject matter. There is a near infinite catalogue of creatures so when I’m presented with strange and unusual surface types, I’m easily able to match that with a potentially strange and unusual creature that can fit the space in a way I’m after.

“Painted in Shanghai, China as a corporate social responsibility initiative. A giant paint company has been refurbishing schools each year and evolved into an art and mentorship activation.” © Jerry Rugg

Also, with that massive array of animals, I’m presented with such a great opportunity to always paint new things and try new techniques. Lastly, as someone who presents work in the public realm, I don’t seek to ruffle any feathers (eye roll). A particular animal can have little to no meaning locally or have a great deal of relation to the community. I love having that flexibility when I’m proposing work.

When did you start doing street art and how has your work evolved over the years?
My interest in the artform began while growing up on the prairies. I would see graffiti travel on freight trains and it fascinated me. Like anything, I was terrible at first. The essence of a lot of my older work still exists stylistically, but (hopefully) the improvements show via technique.

How do you choose locations for your art and what you paint where?
My artist brain gravitates to creative challenges and opportunities to set new personal benchmarks. Larger buildings to paint, strange surfaces like rooftops or basketball courts. I like to pursue things that frighten me, to be honest. I’m so fortunate to be able to integrate into a community when I paint in one, if only temporarily. Completed murals in West Baltimore, or the country of Jordan for example, presented me each with so much new perspective.

Where in Canada — and around the world — can fans find your work?
Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Moncton, Saskatoon, Sault Ste Marie, Los Angeles, Miami, Detroit, Shanghai, and in Puerto Rico to name a few.

“A partnership with PROJECT BACKBOARD and Toronto Community Housing in Scarborough, Ontario. We were able to refurbish an old court and mentor community youth to create the artwork, hoping to inspire community strength, ownership, and creative thinking.” © Jerry Rugg

Why do you choose to keep your face anonymous by wearing a mask?
To paraphrase the great Ashton Kutcher, “Nowadays, privacy is more valuable than celebrity.”

What role do you think artists have in the conservation movement?
I’ve been fortunate to work with ocean conservationists that have committed their lives to it. That’s not going to be a feasible option for many, but I think we all find ourselves in a time where we have to start allocating some of our “bandwidth” to conservation. Some artists have large platforms or influence, and they could use a portion of that to speak to conservation. While others could find ways to evolve their consumption habits or materials usage.

Lastly, why did you decide to partner with WWF-Canada to create an original work of art for our Wildest Ride contest winner?
The urgency alarms have been ringing louder and louder when it comes to sustainability. That said, I’m always happy to offer my point-of-view when I can and the Wildest Ride creative opportunity is intriguing. WWF-Canada is an organization I’ve looked up to for a long time. It’s an honour, really.

Buy tickets now for your chance to win a one-of-a-kind electric vehicle painted by birdO. All proceeds from WWF-Canada’s Wildest Ride Contest directly support projects across Canada that are restoring habitat, combating climate change and conserving a growing number of species at risk.

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Indigenous knowledge keepers help Winnipeg Art Gallery in renaming of art collections – CTV News Winnipeg

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WINNIPEG –

Indigenous knowledge keepers are helping Winnipeg Art Gallery-Qaumajuq rename pieces of art that were given inappropriate titles.

Julia Lafreniere, head of Indigenous initiatives at WAG-Qaumajuq, has been working with researchers and Indigenous knowledge keepers to identify 57 works at the gallery that are in need of a name change.

It is part of the art gallery’s work to decolonize its collection.

“As with many historical art collections at galleries, there are often pieces that have inappropriate titles in today’s context. For example, some pieces will still carry words like ‘Indian,’ or ‘Eskimo,’ or ‘Savage,'” Lafreniere told CTV News.

Julia Lafreniere, head of Indigenous initiatives at WAG-Qaumajuq, has been working with researchers and Indigenous knowledge keepers to identify 57 works at the gallery that are in need of a name change. (Source: Danton Unger/ CTV News Winnipeg)

The gallery identified each nation depicted in these 57 pieces, and asked knowledge keepers from those nations to rename the art. She said Anishinaabe, Cree, Dakota, Inuit and Dene knowledge keepers joined the initiative.

“They all did it in their own way,” Lafreniere said, adding some knowledge keepers held renaming ceremonies, giving the pieces new names in their Indigenous languages.

One collection, formerly titled ‘Drawings of Eskimo Clothing’, is being given a new name in Inuktitut, ‘Ajjinuanga Angnaop Annuranganik.’

One collection, formerly titled ‘Drawings of Eskimo Clothing’ (pictured), is being given a new name in Inuktitut, ‘Ajjnuanga Angnaop Annurangnik’ as a part of WAG-Qaumajuq’s renaming initiative. (Source: Danton Unger/ CTV News Winnipeg)

While the pieces are getting new names, Lafreniere said the knowledge keepers have asked that the old names still be included to be used as an educational tool.

She said the renaming is an important step.

“The titles, oftentimes, are the first way that the artwork is introduced to the public and people engaging with that artwork,” she said.

“Giving them these new titles given by ceremonial leaders from the Indigenous community, it really ingrains Indigenous knowledge into the canon of art history.”

She said WAG-Qaumajuq is the first art gallery to do this kind of renaming initiative, but she hopes other galleries do the same. 

More information about the Artworks Renaming Initiative can be found online.

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Jidar, Rabat's street art festival draws international attention | | AW – The Arab Weekly

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Jidar, Rabat’s street art festival draws international attention | | AW  The Arab Weekly



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Art Beat: Prize-winning author pays Coast a virtual visit – Coast Reporter

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The Sunshine Coast Arts Council’s Reading Series presents author Gil Adamson on Saturday, Sept. 18 at 7 p.m. Adamson will read from her recent novel, Ridgerunner, a finalist for the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize, and winner of the Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Set in the Canadian and U.S. West in 1917, the book is a sequel to Adamson’s well-received first novel, Outlander. Publisher House of Anansi described Ridgerunner as “a vivid historical novel that draws from the epic tradition… a literary Western brimming with a cast of unforgettable characters touched with humour and loss, and steeped in the wild of the natural world.” The reading is a Zoom event and it’s free. Register in advance through eventbrite.ca.

A Beautiful Mess

FibreWorks Studio & Gallery in Madeira Park is holding an opening reception on Saturday, Sept. 18 for its new exhibition, A Beautiful Mess: the joyful & random discovery of the artistic process. Creating something real out of the imagination can be a dishevelled and uncertain undertaking, usually carried out in private. Here, FibreWorks is turning that inside-out. “This show aims to create a sense of intimacy between the artist and the public.” The reception runs from 2 to 4 p.m. The show will run until Oct.31.

Live Music

The Roberts Creek Legion has helped keep live music going on the Sunshine Coast through the warmer days over the past 18 months, thanks to its outdoor stage. Those setups have kept patrons in the fresh air and safely separated. Now the club is moving its visiting bands back to its indoor stage – and visitors onto its new dance floor – with a “Grande Re-Opening” on Friday, Sept. 17, featuring the Ween tribute band, Captain Fantasy. Doors at 7 p.m. The legion follows on Saturday, Sept. 18, from 7 to 11 p.m. with a string of acts, including The Locals, Eddy Edrick, Michelle Morand, and an open-stage jam. Proof of vaccination will be required for admission to all shows.

The Locals also play the outdoor venue at Tapworks in Gibsons on Saturday, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. That might depend on the weather, as (at press time) heavy rain was forecast for Saturday.

The Clubhouse Restaurant in Pender Harbour presents Karl Kirkaldy on Friday, Sept. 17, from 5 to 8 p.m. On Sunday, Sept. 19, Half Cut and The Slackers rock the Clubhouse from 2 to 5 p.m.

Joe Stanton is scheduled to entertain on Saturday, Sept. 18 on the patio at the Backeddy Resort and Marina in Egmont. Again, that’s weather-dependent.

Let us know about your event by email at arts@coastreporter.net.

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