The jury chose 13 artists from a record 336 submissions to the competition. Anna Kuelken from NSCAD University won the national cash prize of $15,000. Hamel-Metsos and the other 11 regional winners each took home $7,500.
“Part of it is luck and part of it is hard work. But I don’t wait on luck — I work very hard and I don’t expect anything in return,” Hamel-Metsos says. “When validation like this comes around, it feels really good to see that the art I make resonates with others.”
Her original work, entitled “No Place to Stand,” explores how important private and public spaces revealed themselves to be throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
“During COVID, it became a burden to stay inside. The interiors of houses — and other spaces — appeared more and more like barricades. I often have a push and pull situation towards the themes showing up in my work, which might just be the aesthetic motivation I need,” Hamel-Metsos explains.
“I always go toward things I hate and love at the same time. I hate drapery — I think it’s sort of kitsch, but I saw its potential. Drapery became more about an apparatus, a system of hiding and revealing, addressing notions of accessibility, mobility and transparency.”
Aside from the drapes, there are no recognizable symbols or iconography, she adds. “So there is space for people to project onto the work. It’s not about me; it’s about an apparatus.”
Art thieves make off with sculptures from Kelowna gallery – CBC.ca
Kelowna RCMP are investigating a brazen early morning art heist at Gallery 421 in the city’s South Pandosy district.
Gallery co-owner Ken Moen said two masked men took a crowbar to the front doors just before 2 a.m. Saturday and made off with almost $70,000 of Canadian fine art.
“It was a total of three minutes. They were in, they were out,” he said.
“All things considered, we feel fairly lucky because they did zero vandalism. We have paintings on the walls they didn’t touch. It was very targeted.”
Moen said the criminals immediately ran for the most expensive, heaviest works on display at the back of the gallery: two bronze sculptures by noted Calgary area cowboy artist Vilem Zach, each weighing about 40 kilograms.
The thieves quickly loaded up a vehicle, re-entered and snatched three smaller bronze sculptures cast by Summerland’s Michael Hermesh, three glass bowls blown by Jeff Holmwood, and two soapstone bear carvings from Vance Theoret.
“They knew what they were getting,” Moen told CBC News.
“I think someone has a shopping list and they sent them here … somebody probably said go grab the most expensive sculptures and get in and get out.”
Moen says the bronze has little value smelted down or sold as scrap. Selling the works of art will be difficult at any Canadian galleries or auction houses.
The break and enter was caught on the gallery’s security cameras.
The RCMP are seeking information on two male suspects.
“One suspect is described as wearing a red bandana over his face, a grey tuque, grey sweater, black track pants with white pin stripes and white shoes. The second male suspect is described as wearing a mask over his face, a black hoodie, grey sweatpants and with black Adidas shoes,” said RCMP Cst. Solana Paré.
Cold comfort: film, music, art and more to combat the winter blues – The Guardian
Letters: Art in the time of COVID – Richmond News
During WWII, Britain’s Prime Minister Winston Churchill was asked to cut the arts programs to adequately fund the war effort, to which he responded, “Then what are we fighting for?”
Many of us feel as though these past two years have been akin to a war, or at least a battle. If you are like me, it often feels like we take a few steps forward, followed by a few more steps back, particularly as new variants, such as Delta and Omicron, rear their ugly heads.
Two years later, I don’t think I am alone in feeling like I have been in the midst of a war zone, trying to keep myself, my family, my friends and my community safe during uncertain and unpredictable times.
While we collectively try to preserve and protect our physical health, we cannot lose sight of our mental wellness. At times during this pandemic, I have felt sad, scared, anxious, depressed, forlorn, hopeless, mad and defeated — often feeling more than one of these emotions at once.
Reflecting on Churchill’s quote, I have come to realize that the man was onto something, and art might be a much-needed respite to our ongoing struggle. Will we solve the world’s problems with a bit of paint and paper? No. Might art bring us some light and happiness in these dark, cold, Covid-laden days? Yes, I think so, and there is solid evidence to back this conviction.
Last month, I ordered some coloured pencils, crayons, and sketching paper on a whim. I hadn’t done much drawing and colouring since I left elementary school, but I thought, “what the heck!”
When it came in the mail, my heart was delighted, and as I started to colour my less than realistic, stick-figured tree, my soul felt lighter and happier.
I am not claiming that art can solve our problems, but it might help keep our spirits lifted and preserve our mental health. We must hold our public officials accountable for protecting us. But we must also work together to protect our physical and mental wellness so that we can emerge from this pandemic strong and ready to continue our pursuit of a better tomorrow.
Jack Trovato (he/his)
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