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Telling history, making art: How 2 artists are exploring heritage in P.E.I. – CBC.ca

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Teresa Kuo will be working on an animated short film, Where My Branches Stem, while Scott Parsons will be composing an album about historical Black Islanders. (Submitted by Teresa Kuo and Scott Parsons)

Two Charlottetown-based artists have each received arts grants to undertake projects that examine the importance of cultural heritage and contemplate personal identity, with one of them also unearthing some hidden history in Prince Edward Island. 

Teresa Kuo received a $5,000 provincial grant to direct and animate a seven-minute film which tells the story of a young Chinese woman who leaves her work life in the city, to move back home with her grandfather. This leads the woman to understand the importance of her cultural identity. 

Kuo said she hopes the short film connects with more than a Chinese-Canadian audience.

“[It’s] a story of leaving home and then missing who you are and your background and going back to that and reconnecting with family and kind of finding what’s important to you as you get older,” Kuo said. “I think that’s something everyone can relate to.”

A still image from Kuo’s upcoming animation, Where The Branches Stem. (Submitted by Teresa Kuo)

A self-reflection in film

Kuo said she relates to what the protagonist of her short film goes through, and many others would, too. “It definitely pertains to me, but I also feel like it’s not special just to my experience,” she said.

Kuo, who is of Taiwanese descent, said she is pleased to receive the arts grant to begin a project very meaningful to her. 

“A lot of these art-based works, it takes a lot of time, a lot of sacrificed time as well. So any amount of money is useful in trying to not only get by finishing the film but be able to put all of my vision into creating all the details.”

Kuo’s short film is titled Where My Branches Stem. She said it’s a pun on the Chinese lunar solar calendar, and the theme of the short film.

“The Chinese lunar solar calendar is represented by the 12 earthly branches, along with the 10 heavenly stems,” she said.

“I [also] thought about the girl, you know, trying to make amends with everything and going back to her roots, and it all just kind of made sense in that title.”

Teresa Kuo’s animated film is still in production. She hopes to have it produced by February 2023. (Submitted by Teresa Kuo)

Forgotten P.E.I. history

Scott Parsons, another provincial grant recipient, will use his $6,000 to record an album that tells the story of prominent Black Islanders whose stories have been forgotten.

For him, it’s important to share their stories because they tell more than Black history, Parsons said.

“It’s not just Black Islanders’ history, it’s Prince Edward Island history. [These are] people who have lived here, and worked here, and been part of the community,” he said.

“I think it’s important that not only Islanders, but people in the world, know that history.” 

The Black community contributed a lot to society here but we’re never really recognized. It was just kind of something that people just didn’t seem to know about.– Scott Parsons

He’s grateful for the support from Innovation P.E.I. and the province through the grant, Parsons said. 

“I’ve had lots of support from them over the years. I’ve been writing songs about P.E.I.’s Black history over the last 25 years.”

One of those songs, Father Please, tells the story of Paul Keough, a Black Islander who was adopted out of P.E.I and came back to the Island to find his biological parents.

“He and his wife came back here and they knew that a priest downtown [in Charlottetown] had information about who his natural parents were, but the priest wouldn’t tell him,” Parsons said.

“So he and his wife said, ‘Father we just want you to know that we’ll be here every day at noon to interrupt your dinner until you tell us what you know,’ [and] they did.” 

Parson said the priest finally told Keough about his parents, who then met his biological mother on her deathbed. Keough’s father was Benny Binns, a notable boxer from P.E.I.

‘I think it’s important that not only Islanders, but people in the world, know that history,’ says Scott Parsons. (Submitted by Scott Parsons)

Parsons said he got inspiration to write songs from a book called Black Islanders by Jim Hornby. The book tells the story of notable Black Prince Edward Islanders like Binns.

Hornby’s book is one of the few historical artifacts telling Black history on P.E.I., he said. 

“The Black community contributed a lot to society here but we’re never really recognized. It was just kind of something that people just didn’t seem to know about,” he said. 

Parsons also hopes to receive a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts so he can complete a larger version of the project, which he would produce by the spring. 

Kuo, meanwhile, plans to have her short film completed and submitted to film festivals by February 2023. Adrian Irvine, a P.E.I.-raised violinist and composer, will produce the soundtrack for her film.

For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

(CBC)

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Restoration of Michelangelo’s Pieta statue in Florence reveals flaws in marble

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The restoration of Michelangelo’s famed Pieta dell’Opera del Duomo in Florence has revealed that the single block of marble from which the masterpiece was sculpted was flawed, offering a likely reason for why it was abandoned before it was completed.

The statue, better known as the Bandini Pieta, represents the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene holding the body of Christ as he is taken down from the cross by a man, Nicodemus, whose face is the self-portrait of the Italian Renaissance artist.

“It’s a Pieta that has suffered and is very intimate… it is a really personal statue,” Beatrice Agostini, director of the restoration project, told Reuters.

The works of restoration confirmed that the 2,700 kg piece of marble had veins and numerous minute cracks, particularly on the base, which may have been the reason for Michelangelo’s decision to stop working on the sculpture before finishing it, a statement said.

The artist had initially planned to place the sculpture next to his tomb but only years after beginning to sculpt it, in the mid 1500s, a then 75-year old Michelangelo decided to abandon the masterpiece, giving it as a gift to a servant, who then sold it to a banker, Francesco Bandini.

Restorers did not find any sign of hammer blows, making it unlikely the widespread hypothesis that an unhappy Michelangelo tried to destroy the sculpture in a moment of frustration, the statement added.

The non-invasive restoration started in 2019 but was interrupted several times due to the COVID-19 epidemic. Deposits were removed from the sculpture’s surface, which was then cleaned, bringing it back to its original hue.

The project was commissioned and directed by the Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore and was financed by U.S. non-profit organization Friends of Florence.

“The operation has restored to the world the beauty of one of Michelangelo’s most intense and troubled masterpieces,” a joint statement said.

Visitors have been able to witness all stages of the process as the statue was always on display, in an open laboratory, on a platform, behind a glass screen.

 

(Reporting by Matteo Berlenga in Florence, writing by Giulia Segreti in Rome, editing by Angus MacSwan)

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Art Beat: Arts Council keeps its friends close – Coast Reporter

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Until Feb. 6, the Sunshine Coast Arts Council is exhibiting works by its members in a variety of mediums.

The annual “Friends of the Gallery” show is hosted in the Doris Crowston Gallery of the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre, at 5714 Medusa Street, in Sechelt.

Now in its 20th year, the “Friends” event began as a way to encourage emerging artists. Today, individual artists from the community are invited to submit one piece of work they completed in the previous year to be shown in the group exhibition.

Artworks are also available for purchase.

Youth Urged to Float Beachcombers-Inspired Creations

The Sunshine Coast Writers and Editors Society describes itself as “a magnet for creative souls on the Coast.” To mark this year’s golden jubilee of The Beachcombers, the iconic CBC Television program, the society is seeking to attract young creative souls through an art and writing contest.

Various types of submissions are welcome, including short stories, creative nonfiction, poetry, scripts, cover artwork and colouring for the planned anthology and exhibit.

Written entries must contain at least one reference to The Beachcombers, the Coast or the beach. Allusions to jet boat manoeuvres and amicable ribbing at the lunch counter of Molly’s Reach are likely assets as well.

Details are online on the Society’s website at scwes.ca. Submissions must be received by midnight on June 1.

Family Literacy Week: Tales on Trails

The Province of British Columbia has proclaimed Jan. 24 to 31 as Family Literacy Week, marking the fifth successive year that Family Literacy Day (Jan. 27) has overflowed with a sevenfold increase in bookish intensity.

“Children’s literacy skills expand and grow much faster when families read, play and learn together,” said Jennifer Whiteside, B.C.’s Minister of Education. “Family Literacy Week is a great opportunity to focus on dynamic ways to support our youngest learners so they can develop the skills they need to succeed in their school years and beyond.”

Decoda Literacy Solutions, a province-wide literacy organization, is hosting a photo contest. Participants may take a photo using a “Let’s Be Active” theme and submit it by email to contest@decoda.ca or post it on social media using these hashtags: #LetsBeActive and #FLW2022. There will be a class prize and a prize for individuals.

To mark the occasion, the Gibsons and District Public Library has encouraged families to host “reading walks” in which families and individuals stroll through local parks, reading along to stories.

The Coast Reporter encourages all such literary ramblers to glance up from time to time, in order to avoid mid-chapter collisions incurred while covering one’s tracks.

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Library Line: Parrott Art Gallery open to viewers online – Belleville Intelligencer

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By Wendy Rayson-Kerr

Although the Parrott Gallery is closed until at least January 26 due to public health restrictions, we are still working to bring you art.  We hope that our awesome gallery supporters will sign onto our website to view new virtual exhibitions, participate in online art workshops and register for free Armchair Traveller presentations on Zoom. We’ll also be increasing our social media posts, so please follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to view artwork from our current exhibitions as well as from our permanent collection, because everyone could use a little more art in their life right now!

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Coming next: The Bay of Quinte Modern Quilt Guild is presenting an exhibition called, “Outside the Block” which will be available to view online through our website starting on Saturday, January 22. The traditional Log Cabin Quilt design, generally speaking, starts with a center shape which is surrounded by strips of coloured pieces that follow a specific sequence of light and dark patterning. Colours have meanings in these quilts, whose shapes can be seen to symbolize log cabins with both dark and sunny corners, and much has been written about their connection to North American pioneers. In our upcoming exhibition, this traditional pattern has been given a modern interpretation. The twenty quilters represented in this group show have all used the Log Cabin Quilt pattern as their inspiration, resulting with an assortment of unique designs. Each artwork is as original as the artists themselves, and we certainly hope you will log in to view them on our website (for now) as well as get the chance to view them in our gallery in the near future.

Another exhibition that will soon be available to view online is called “Corona and Friends” by George Kratz. This prolific Stirling artist has assembled a large collection of paintings that he has been working on over the past two decades. He describes his Corona series as, “an abstract journey” which he completed during the pandemic. The earlier work in his Friends series is equally intense, full of symbolism both borrowed and unique to the artist. George Kratz is a story-teller and this exhibition tells the story of vivid colour, strong lines and imagery you will not soon forget.

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Both of these online shows will be available to view in person when we are allowed to re-open our doors once again.

We continue to offer Online Acrylic Pouring Workshops at the Parrott Gallery. These monthly projects are meant for beginners and skilled artists alike, and are the perfect way to learn knew creative skills. Prepared and presented by Warkworth artist Sheila Wright, these workshops are fun and easy to complete. Each kit costs thirty dollars and contains all you will need to create a unique artwork, including materials and video instructions. The January project is a painting called “Rainbow Swipe” and the deadline to register is Saturday, January 22. Please email us at gallery@bellevillelibrary.ca or call us as 613-968-6731 x 2040 if you are interested or would like more information.

On February 19, Photographer Lydia Dotto will be sharing her online Armchair Traveller presentation on the Antarctic. From the comfort of your own home you can take a journey across the globe, for free! “The Antarctic: Abundance of Life” is your chance to view a place that most of us will never have the chance to visit. You can register for this live Zoom presentation through our website. When we re-open our doors, our Corridor Gallery will feature the photography of Susan and Clint Guy, in a show they have called “India: The Golden Triangle”.  Plans for an in-person presentation are also under way, so stay tuned for this next part of our Armchair Traveller Series.

We know 2022 is going to be an exciting year of exhibitions and programs here at the Parrott Gallery, so we won’t let the current closures discourage us. We hope that we will be open for in-person viewing again soon.

Wendy Rayson-Kerr is the Acting Curator of the John M. Parrott Art Gallery

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