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The art of reconciliation | Canada's National Observer: News & Analysis – National Observer



Art’s strength is rooted in the moment people connect with a truth rather than just know it.

Regardless of the medium, it is a catalyst for empathy and positive change, said multidisciplinary artist Carey Newman, recently appointed the inaugural Impact Chair of Indigenous Art Practices at the University of Victoria.

“It doesn’t approach issues explicitly,” said Newman, or Hayalthkin’geme, whose work explores Indigenous, social, and environmental concerns and their intersection with colonialism and capitalism.

“That’s where the power of art lies.

“It’s not the same as reading data in a scientific report. Art helps people realize the impacts of things … on a fundamental or emotional level.”

For the last decade, the master carver, filmmaker and author of Kwakwak’awakw and Coast Salish descent has been delving into the meaning of reconciliation.

The process begins with learning and understanding truth, said Newman, whose most prominent and encompassing work to date is the Witness Blanket — a large-scale travelling cedar installation that suggests a patchwork quilt.

The piece was assembled from 800 donated objects or personal artifacts, many from survivors or their families, reclaimed from residential schools and other institutions.

Symbolizing the protection, identity, ceremony and generosity Indigenous people derive from blankets, the artwork also sparked a documentary and book and is now being housed and restored at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights.

For the last decade, multidisciplinary artist Carey Newman, or Hayalthkin’geme, has been shaping the meaning of reconciliation. @blueravenart @uvic #decolonialization

Braids of hair, crumbling bricks, photos, letters, a child’s shoe, doorknobs, merit badges and ice skates woven into the work bear witness to the atrocities children suffered at residential schools and reflect the ongoing process of reconciliation in Canada, said Newman.

“What is it that compels us to be ready, to make the sacrifices, or do the work to change?” he asked, noting the commonplace objects in the piece provoke viewers’ own memories.

“I think that the answer lies in (the moment) when we become emotionally attached to something. That connection point makes it personal.

“You’re not just thinking about this as something that happened to others. You’re considering it in the way that a parent would, asking, ‘What if that were my child?’”

Newman is also interested in analyzing our relationship with the land and the environment — shifting from notions of extraction and ownership to Indigenous values of stewardship and responsibility to future generations.

Artist Carey Newman, or Hayalthkin’geme, at the unveiling of his public artwork Earth Drums in 2019. Photo by Kevin Light / Courtesy of the District of Saanich

Earth Drums, a public artwork in Saanich on Vancouver Island, is a trio of large cedar box drums embedded in the ground that allow visitors to make music collectively.

But reverberations from the drums also register below the level of human hearing — resonating into the ground and creating a song for the Earth, Newman said.

The drums are adorned with images of a wolf, raven and a frog — which reflect a trio for concept groups representing the air, land and water, as well as elders, adults and youth who, in turn, have ties to the past, present, future.

“It’s also a reflection around the land back aspect of reconciliation,” Newman said.

“And how, for me, land back is not a conversation about property but a conversation about the collective perspective that we share around our responsibility towards the land, and how we live upon and interact with it and use the resources it provides.”

In his new role at UVic, Newman will be teaching, but he also aims to continue to explore how art can invoke decolonization and get people to examine their role in the process with two new projects.

The first is to develop a conceptual work titled The Seedling.

In addition to reshaping our relationship with the land, the project involves developing a sense of shared responsibility beyond the timelines typically used to plan for the future.

The artist plans to create a digital design for a cedar totem pole to be carved by other artisans centuries into the future after a sapling planted and cared for at the university reaches full maturity.

It sounds deceptively simple, he said.

“But it comes with a whole host of really interesting challenges,” Newman said.

“Which, if agreed upon, forces us to make a commitment to plan on a different timeline, not on four-year election cycles or fiscal year-ends.

“We have to make agreements that last longer than the people who make them.”

Newman also wants to create the unCentre for Arts and Decolonialization — to act as an interdisciplinary, collaborative and non-hierarchical forum that shifts the colonial mindset and explores new ways of approaching problems, projects or research.

“I want it to be developed with other artists, knowledge keepers and scholars,” Newman said.

“To form founding principles that are anti-oppressive, to kind of try to rethink the structure of an academic environment.”

In tapping a homeschooled artist whose experience and work are largely generated outside the formal academic framework as a research chair, UVic has laid the groundwork for decolonization and doing things differently, Newman said.

“I think that also includes thinking about or recognizing different ways that knowledge is carried and transferred and learned,” he said.

Everybody, regardless of their background, can examine how their individual behaviours uphold or support oppression or injustice, Newman added.

“And as we start to make the necessary changes in our perspective and the way we live, we can influence the process of decolonization.”

Rochelle Baker / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer

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Art heist at Kelowna gallery takes four minutes – Vancouver Sun



The stolen sculptures included bronze, stone, and glass pieces. Altogether, the pieces weighed more than 300 pounds.

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KELOWNA — Art thieves were in and out of a Kelowna gallery in four minutes early Saturday morning, stealing 11 sculptures worth almost $70,000.

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Two masked men broke into Gallery 421 in the South Pandosy business district, triggering an alarm at 1:58 a.m. They fled at 2:02 a.m., according to a surveillance camera.

“It was most definitely targeted. They knew exactly what pieces they wanted to steal,” gallery co-owner Kelly Hanna said Monday. “They were fast, but their movements were deliberate. It wasn’t helter-skelter.”

The stolen sculptures included bronze, stone, and glass pieces. Altogether, the pieces weighed more than 135 kilograms.

“We’re going to put the word out to other galleries, pawnshops, and art houses about what was stolen,” Hanna said. It’s most likely the thieves will try to sell the pieces outside of Kelowna, either in Vancouver or the U.S., she said.

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One thief was 5-foot-10, medium build, and wore a grey hoodie. The other was 5-foot-6, also of medium build, and was wearing blue pants with white runners.

The stolen pieces included works by artists Vilem Zach, Michael Hermesh, Vance Theoreet, and Jeff Holmwood.

Hanna and co-owner Ken Moen are offering a $1,000 reward to anyone providing information with police that leads to an arrest.

Hanna and Moen bought the gallery, which opened in 2001, two years ago. Hanna said there have been smash-and-grabs of items such as computer equipment before, but never thefts of works of art.

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Can New Technology Bring Authentic And Transparent Trust To The Art World? Like VIN Numbers For Art-Works. – Forbes



In 1987, I was lucky enough to attend the auction of Vincent Van Gogh’s Vase With Fifteen Sunflowers at Christie’s in London. At the time, the sale price of $39.7 million was staggering.  Inflation- adjusted, that’s $127 million today. Two years later, in 1989, the Dallas Cowboys were sold for $140 million. In November 2017, Leonardo Da Vinci’s, Salvator Mundi, was sold for over $450 million. The prestige associated with rare assets (Forbes estimates that the Dallas Cowboys are now valued at over $5.7 billion) has a lot to do with the market value of uncommonly traded assets. Still, authenticating the origin and history of a sports team is easy.  But to do the same thing for expensive artworks has always been incredibly difficult.

The art market has seen extraordinary growth in its size and the value of its assets over the past 25 years and longer.  Living artists are now able to sell their artworks at significant values at market entry – what are called primary market sales – during their lifetime and to see significant rises in the value of their art including in the secondary market. This is a relatively new experience for the market.  History’s old masters and more modern artists never got to experience these trends during their lifetimes. Art market auction sales tipped $50 billion in 2021, and the unofficial private sector of the market is probably another $50 billion. Think about a $100 billion annual sales industry, that is based on trillions of dollars of assets, that all need to be authenticated, secured and monitored for many different purposes ranging from insurance to sales values and other market opportunities.

Our guest for today’s podcast is Lawrence Shindell, he is the Chairman, President and CEO of LMI Group International, Inc., headquartered in New York. LMI Group is a strategic investment bank-like firm that represents artwork owners and investors in the authentication underwriting and market release of major orphaned artworks – artworks that the data strongly indicate are by blue-chip artists and have expected market values between $15,000,000 and $200,000,000.   A trial lawyer by background, Mr. Shindell holds licenses in a number of U.S. jurisdictions including admission to the Bar of the Supreme Court of the United States.  Before founding LMI Group in early 2018, Mr. Shindell served as the Chief Executive Officer of a regulated U.S. title insurance company catering to the international art industry. 

His insights about the art market and its needs and trends over the next decade – ranging from technologies to solve the challenges of art object identification and authenticity to NFTs – provide a glimpse into a very complex industry sector. It is often said that the world’s art serves as the tree rings of society. Advances in technologies can bring efficiency to this market sector just as technology has brought efficiency to other markets, and can give us a sense of comfort about the integrity of these high value assets as we visit art museums, collect art, invest in art, or engage in and around art in many other ways. 

 Artwork, both old and new, and both digital and physical, make up a huge market that offers cultural engagement as well as incredible economic upsides for investors who invest in art. Improvements in four areas can change the level of comfort for investors.

  • Anti-money laundering – legislation that is increasingly offering transparency but also putting pressure on market actors to verify source of funds, and seller and purchaser legal status and identity, whether for purchasing or selling art or using art as collateral for loans, for example. 
  • The advent of the blockchain and more recently NFTs are revolutionizing the ways in which we link irrefutable identifying references to physical and digital art, as these assets journey through the market via purchases, gifts, sales, exhibitions and events of condition-conservation among other events, and in the case of NFTs, especially as a medium in which to create art in the first instance, as a means to create verifiable fractional and complete ownership interests.
  • Different technologies will separately allow us to imprint identifications on existing, secondary market physical works that can distinguish these objects from copies and also enable a conclusive linking of the information around the object captured via the blockchain to the exact physical object. 
  • Advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning science and technologies that can aide traditional measures to appraise and verify art in complement with these other technologies. 

The idea of reliable object identification is nothing new.  We use VIN numbers for automobiles and CUSIP numbers for the securities industry. And we use DNA markers to authenticate the origin and history of, for example, cloning material. 

Hollywood has been using tales of the historical art world for decades, the most known example is perhaps the 1999 version of The Thomas Crown Affair, starring Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo in the lead roles. While interests and tastes in the art world have evolved from old masters to modernists to an expansive contemporary art market today, the art market as a whole shows no signs of slowing down. 

We can expect to see continued rapid growth including with the introduction of NFTs and factional ownership options. Each of the issues just highlighted are central to LMI Group and its specialization in authenticating to conclusive factual standards culturally and historically important works of art that have been lost to history but can reliably be reintroduced to the cultural sector, and in applying its expertise to cultural heritage initiatives that involve complex authentication of historical objects and information.  

             LMI Group is at the forefront of advances that are designed to enable objective, data-based analyses and decision-making in the art and cultural heritage sector.

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Artists Invited To Enter Artwork In Florida Strawberry Festival Fine Art Show – Osprey Observer



Artists young and old, professional and amateur, are encouraged to enter original artwork into the 2022 Florida Strawberry Festival Fine Art Show. Your artwork is eligible to win a ribbon and cash prize.

A call to artists has been issued by the East Hillsborough Art Guild (EHAG) for the 2022 Florida Strawberry Festival Fine Art Show, which runs from Thursday, March 3 through Sunday, March 13 at the Festival Grounds in Plant City. The show will be held in the Milton E. Hull Building.

Adults are divided into professional groups (entry fee is $15) and amateur groups (entry fee is $12). Adults can enter oils, acrylics, watercolors, graphic/mixed media and sculptures. The entry fee for miniature art (2D media) and sculptures (3D art) is $12.

The youth divisions are by ages. Youth can enter oils, acrylics, watercolors, graphic/mixed media and sculptures. The entry fee is $5.

Adults can enter up to four entries, but no more than two in the same division. Youth can enter up to two entries.

Entries are eligible for substantial monetary awards. This includes $100 for the Strawberry Theme Award (an entry must include strawberries or reflect the current festival theme of ‘#1 for FUN!’). There is also $300 for Best of Show.

There are prizes for first ($150) and second ($100) place in all adult and youth divisions. Adult amateurs, miniature and sculpture entries receive $100 for first place and $75 for second. Adults who receive third and fourth place receive rosette ribbons.

For youth, first place receives $25 and second place receives $15. Entries who win third and fourth place receive a rosette ribbon. All youth participants receive participation ribbons.

Artists who do not win one of the above prizes are eligible for a Business Leaders Choice Award. Area residents can also become sponsors for the In Honor Award and select a winning artist who will receive a ribbon and $50.

Space is limited and entries are accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis. Early entries are accepted until Friday, February 11. Artists can mail their entry form and fee to East Hillsborough Art Guild, P.O. Box 3055, Plant City, FL 33564. Artwork must be brought to the Festival Grounds on Saturday, February 19 from 12 Noon-6 p.m.

Chairperson Karen Crumley said, “Our entry day was moved to Saturday to allow easier access to more working people or parents with school age children.”

Entry forms and rules can be found at If you have questions, please email Crumley at or call 924-3829.

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