Since the middle of March, when the pandemic shut everything down, I’ve tried to go for a walk each day. First, it was around the block. Then, a few blocks. Now, I’ll regularly find myself wandering neighbourhoods I didn’t know existed. While my partner and I made astonishingly quick work of Vanderpump Rules and a dozen seasons of Below Deck, the streets and trails around our apartment have become a sort of entertainment that’s just about impossible for me to exhaust. That’s because every time I step out, I discover something new. Maybe it’s a funny piece of graffiti, or a gargoyle scupper wearing a dopey look. One day, it was a small community of birdhouses built into a roof gable that caught my attention; another time, a pair of security cameras that looked like googly eyes. I take pictures of my findings. They become like private landmarks. The discoveries are generally small and often fleeting, but the enjoyment they spark is genuine.
For the past seven years, Port Moody, B.C.-based artist Sara Graham has catalogued such moments of curiosity, wonder and playfulness found within the urban environment. Her project, Sculptureaday (or SAD for short), shares one daily photograph featuring a peculiar form, gesture or assemblage spotted outside of the gallery setting that appears sculptural nevertheless. One recent post, for example, pictures a pumpkin-shaped mound of spent tape and packing paper left after a paint job. Another shows a weaving made from crisscrossing pipes. About 100 Canadian artists have contributed to the project, including Graham herself, who also curates submissions. Sculptureaday exhibits what rewards we can find by looking more closely at the world around us. It is a gallery dedicated to tiny, everyday marvels.
The project began as an office gag with her colleague, the writer and editor Bryne McLaughlin. The pair brought the idea online as Sculptureaday in 2013 and began inviting artist friends to participate. SAD’s “accidental art” premise seemed to have its own gravity, and a small community of contributors and fans developed around the project. When her co-founder stepped away, Graham continued to steward the project solo. A Paintingaday blog followed almost naturally, collecting kindred discoveries of a more two-dimensional variety. Graham operates both daily. New contributors get sent into the wild with this definition: “(A SAD) is a found sculptural circumstance, a spontaneous constructed intervention or an unexpected observation in the urban world.” Though the target may sound vague, with a little practice, Graham says, you’ll know a SAD right when you see one.
Oakville, Ont.-based artist Steven Laurie is a frequent Sculptureaday contributor. He characterizes the subjects of his photography as the “subtle,” “poetic,” and sometimes “spectacular” moments found in ad hoc repairs and the decision-making special to everyday handyworkers. A broken emergency button at Toronto’s Union Station made an early muse; it had been repeatedly but unsuccessfully affixed with tape to a cinder block wall. A more recent photo shows a neighbour’s carefully manicured evergreen, which looks remarkably like the artist Paul McCarthy’s famous sculpture, “Tree” (which is also to say: it looks like a sex toy). Another image — lit dramatically by the moon, nearby highway lamps and some fog — pictures a break area with a pair of picnic tables fenced in on three sides.
The same wonder, curiosity and playfulness we find in the gallery is all around us.
Before Sculptureaday, Laurie was an artist who made intricate and highly-fabricated machines. His observational photography originated as study work to inspire future sculptures — but a new house and a young family meant the long hours demanded for the design and manufacture of precise machinery “kind of went away.” He had begun submitting some of these shots to Sculptureaday, and slowly, the picture-taking became his focus. “If it wasn’t for Sculptureaday,” Laurie says, “I wouldn’t have gotten into photography in the same way.” Through this platform, he’s overhauled his artmaking and refined a distinct photographic voice.
East Vancouver artist Greg Snider is another one of the project’s longest-running contributors. The Simon Fraser University professor emeritus says a good SAD sometimes exhibits a tic he recognizes from art history; other times, he’s struck by something he cannot categorize, other than to say: “That’s a thing! That’s it! That’s Sculptureaday!” One submission he points out roughly summarizes the whole endeavour for him. On a damp day, he found a glasses case that had been mashed into the asphalt of the street. In the photograph he made, some text printed on the case is still quite legible. It says: “Better vision for everyone.” Sculptureaday has “sharpened” his vision, he says. He pays closer attention to where he is. He’s seated better in the moment.
Another contributor, the Chicoutimi, Que.-based artist James Partaik, feels like he’s “grown new antennas,” a new “sensory input device” tuned acutely to his environment. Graham herself describes the Sculptureaday effect as a sort of mindfulness: “It causes you to be aware of your surroundings,” she says, “but also to be aware that you are a part of your surroundings. As well as being an observer, you’re participating in this moment.”
The project trains us to bring the same close, critical and careful eye that we use to look at art to look at our everyday. If we can learn to do that, Graham says, we’ll find that the same wonder, curiosity and playfulness we find in the gallery is all around us. So long as she and at least a few friends continue to encounter these moments so exciting that they demand a photograph, Sculptureaday will also continue — every day and maybe for the rest of our days.
Sculpture honouring teachers unveiled at WAG’s new Inuit art centre – Global News
A new piece of permanent artwork, commissioned by the Manitoba Teachers’ Society (MTS), has been unveiled at the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s new Inuit art centre.
The marble sculpture, by Inuit artist Goota Ashoona, will welcome visitors to the new Qaumajuq centre, set to open later this year at St. Mary Avenue and Memorial Boulevard.
Tuniigusiia/The Gift was commissioned by the MTS to honour “teachers all around us — in the land and in our lives — who reveal the truth, wisdom and beauty that connect us all.”
“A beacon that both emanates and attracts light, Qaumajuq will celebrate the artistry and acknowledge the history of Inuit and First Peoples,” said MTS president James Bedford.
“And it will teach us, as all good teachers do, to challenge conventional wisdom and privileged perceptions to find truth, connection, and value in our shared humanity.”
WAG director and CEO Stephen Borys said education plays a critical role in changing lives through art, and Ashoona’s sculpture pays tribute to that.
“The WAG and our dedicated learning and programs team have had the honour of building relationships with teachers across Manitoba to benefit youth in our province and in the North,” Borys said.
“Teachers have always played an incredible role in our communities, and this has been brought into further focus in this difficult time.
“This beautiful sculpture by Goota Ashoona captures and pays tribute to teachers’ contributions.”
Checking in with the Winnipeg Art Gallery
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
New marble carving will welcome visitors to Qaumajuq, WAG's Inuit art centre – CBC.ca
If you’re in downtown Winnipeg, you may notice a new, large marble sculpture outside of Qaumajuq, the Inuit art centre at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
Tuniigusiia/The Gift, commissioned by the Manitoba Teachers’ Society, is the work of Inuit artist Goota Ashoona.
It is meant to represent how knowledge is passed down through education and storytelling, and the important role teachers play in our communities, says a news release from the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
The sculpture is in the centre’s outdoor plaza and will greet people as they enter.
Ashoona is a third-generation artist born in Kinngait, Nunavut, who now creates out of her studio in Elie, Man., primarily carving out of soapstone and whale bone. She also produces wallhangings and is a throat singer.
Some of her other pieces are part of the WAG’s permanent collection, including The Story of Nuliajuk.
Qaumajuq, which means “it is bright, it is lit” in Inuktitut, is set to open later this year. The new 40,000-square-foot-building, which has been under construction for years, will showcase thousands of carvings and offer Inuit-led programming and exhibition, learning and event spaces.
Commentary: The art of adapting literature to television is strategic – Queen's Journal
Adapting books to television is not a new phenomenon, but in the past couple of years, the popularity of series based on bestselling novels seems to be heightened.
From The Handmaid’s Tale to You and Bridgerton, there is now a distinct correlation between the bestseller list and the stories production companies feel need to be seen.
It’s hard to pinpoint when the domino effect of television adaptations began, but it’s clear that HBO, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and even the BBC have caught on to the trend.
The shows we all love and consistently choose to watch have arguably done best when they are adapted from existing literature. The Handmaid’s Tale is as affective, if not more, when we watch it amidst rising political chaos in the United States. Its dystopian setting is haunting as ever, especially when the show departs from the plot of the book after season one.
It seems as though television creators are hand-picking social trends and mixing them with the nuanced writing of respected literature to best captivate audiences. There is an art to this combination of pre-existing literature and new conversations, but production companies are getting pretty close to mastering it.
HBO has trademarked a certain kind of story that is almost guaranteed to be popular: a rich, white family with a secret that could unravel their entire world.
Big Little Lies, Little Fires Everywhere, and the upcoming adaptation of The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett all fall into this structure. Their similar elements, coupled with layers of racial tension and a standout cast, are a one-way ticket to incredible audience reviews.
Netflix has taken a similar approach in combining existing trends with conversations around race and a post-colonial landscape in Bridgerton. Our fascination with period dramas is intensified by having the incredibly dreamy male love interest from 1813 London played by a Black actor.
Perhaps this speaks to the impact of our rising societal capacity to discuss, or start to acknowledge, the racist undertones of our worlds. Black Lives Matter protests and calls for social reform amidst a harsh political background have forced us to hear the words “systemic racism” and contemplate their meaning, while also seeing snippets of racial dynamics in the television we consume.
A byproduct of the relationship between page and screen may have a deep impact on the landscape of literature.
Having a book picked up by a major network assures money, exposure, and Hollywood contacts. Up-and-coming writers may now consider whether or not their novel could be adapted to a television series or movie, rather than solely focusing on the literary aspects of their books. However, the common thread between books that are picked up as shows is that they connect with their audience in some way.
If this trend of adaptation continues, it will be interesting to see what kinds of stories networks produce, and if authors attempt to market their work to production companies.
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