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Where activism and art intersect – Art Critique

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Activism takes on many forms. Currently, the world is watching as thousands band together to call for justice and reform after a white police officer in Minneapolis murdered George Floyd, a black man accused of using a counterfeit bank note, as three other officers stood by idly. In cities across the US and elsewhere, people have taken to the streets, others have donated to organizations, people have lent an ear or been a shoulder to lean on, and still, many have responded with art.

Art has a long history with activist movements of every kind and, in many cases, the art created to spread information and awareness are what linger when the day is done and protestors head home. According to Tate Galleries, the activist art is created to offer a “form of political or social currency, actively addressing cultural power structures rather than representing them or simply describing them.” Ai Weiwei, Favianna Rodriguez, The Guerrilla Girls, Shepard Fairey, Paul Nicklen, Nan Goldin, Dadaists, Keith Haring, Diego Rivera, Kara Walker, Edgar Heap of Birds, and many more artists and artists groups have created such currencies through their art, visual and otherwise.

Museums and galleries have highlighted the posters, photographs, poems, and novels that have been the outcome of unrest. Just last year, the Victoria and Albert Museum began collecting artworks and items used by climate change activists to document living history. Earlier this year, protestors at the British Museum made a wooden Trojan Horse used during their demonstration against the museum’s ongoing relationship with BP. Their symbolism and words become a touchstone for those searching for inspiration, resolve, and comfort during uprisings. Old works, like Zoe Leonard’s 1992 poem I Want a President, are revived when society needs a reminder of the steps we’ve made and how much further we have to go. Themes of unity, despair, anguish, love, frustration, and exhaustion become prevalent in works from most any movement and are prevalent in today’s protests.

In light of recent and ongoing events, we’re highlighting works by some of the most influential artists, past and present, whose works are meant to serve an activist purpose. This is in no way an exhaustive list of those that might speak to you and the issues you hold near, but they are a tool in the fight to find common ground, unify, grow, and develop as members of our own communities.

Print by Gary Taxali whose works feature themes of frustration among others.

A silhouette by Kara Walker, whose works reflect issues of race, gender, sexuality, violence, and identity.

‘The End of Uncle Tom and the Grand Allegorical Tableau of Eva in Heaven’, Kara Walker, 1995. Courtesy Flickr Commons.

In his oeuvre, Edgar Heap of Birds often addressed lived experience of Native American peoples. 

Edgar Heap of Birds, “Relocate Destroy, In Memory of Native Americans, In Memory of Jews,” 1987. Photograph: © Whitney Museum of American Art

Nan Goldin began photographing her life in the 1980s and her subsequent portraiture highlighted life within the LGBTQ community, documented the AIDS epidemic, as well as the opioid crisis.

Nan Goldin (American, born 1953). Nan and Brian in Bed, New York City. 1983. Silver dye bleach print, printed 2006, 15 1/2 × 23
3/16″ (39.4 × 58.9 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Acquired through the generosity of Jon L. Stryker. © 2016 Nan Goldin

A poster presented by Amplifier Art, an arts organization seeking to boost Grassroots movements

Ai Weiwei, a Chinese artist in exile, creates works that centre on social issues and are often critical of the Chinese government.

Ai Weiwei,
“Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn,” 1995.

Formed in 1985, The Guerrilla Girls is an anonymous group of female, feminist artists who worked to highlight sexism and racism within the art world.

Guerrilla Girls, “Do Women Have To Be Naked To Get Into the Met. Museum?” 1989. Courtesy Tate Galleries.

Portuguese artist Paula Rego created artworks that portrayed life in Portugal but her series The Abortion Pastels created a particularly poignant image

Paula Rego, “Untitled,” 1998.

Keith Haring created works that turned into activist works supporting safe sex during the AIDS crisis.

Keith Haring, “Ignorance = Death,” 1989. Courtesy Flickr Commons.

Nature photographer Paul Nicklen uses his works to raise awareness of climate change and its affects on the globe and the animals that call it home.

View this post on Instagram

One of our final expeditions at the end of last year was to Antarctica. It is a continent of contradictions. A place that has both challenged and inspired me. An environment with species dependent on massive icebergs and tiny underwater organisms. A continent that is seemingly distant yet so intimately interconnected to all of us. Today, on this 50th anniversary of #EarthDay, I find myself thinking about Antarctica and what the continent will look like 50 years from now. That future depends on the actions we take together, today, to safeguard vital ecosystems and address global climate change. We have to do more as a community to promote and protect the beauty of our shared planet. That’s why I’m excited to announce that this summer, @mitty and I are joining a group of ocean explorers, conservationists, and advocates to launch a new endeavor called @onlyone. Building on the work of @sealegacy and #TheTide, this effort will amplify powerful stories and advance promising solutions to protect our ocean and habitats around the world, including in the Southern Ocean. Learn more by following @onlyone and join the journey launching this summer at www.only.one. #EarthDay2020

A post shared by Paul Nicklen (@paulnicklen) on Apr 22, 2020 at 9:33am PDT

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New York City Slashes Art Budget, Matthew Wong’s Market Ascends, and More: Morning Links from July 2, 2020 – ARTnews

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News

In an attempt to help close a budget gap, New York City arts spending has been slashed by 11 percent. [The New York Times]

Could Matthew Wong be a new market sensation? A painting by the artist, who died last year at 35, sold for at auction earlier this week for $1.5 million, over 15 times its pre-sale estimate. [Bloomberg]

A $1.7 million Camille Pissarro painting is at the center of a pending restitution lawsuit that would involve an American collector and France. [The Art Newspaper]

Led by works by Ruth Asawa and Robert Ryman, a Sotheby’s contemporary art day sale on Tuesday netted $51.5 million. [Art Market Monitor]

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Sotheby's specialists bid in hybrid sale

Art & Artists

Artists in the Philippines are passionately fighting against an anti-terrorism bill that they say is being used to target them and their work. [South China Morning Post]

Could a new arts center in Provincetown, Massachusetts help revitalize that city’s art scene? [The New York Times]

At their art lab in Chicago, artists Bob Faust and Nick Cave have invited their friends and colleagues to help address systemic racism via public art. [T: The New York Times Style Magazine]

The Critics

Andrea K. Scott addresses the removal of a controversial Theodore Roosevelt monument in New York, writing, “At a moment when the world’s museums are being called out for ingrained and unexamined inequalities, the American Museum of Natural History is one of the few to take decisive action.” [The New Yorker]

Daniel Birnbaum remembers the late, legendary curator Germano Celant, writing, “He did have power. Power over institutions and media, and over the success of generations of artists.” [Artforum]

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Opinion | Art gallery opens at new location in Orillia – simcoe.com

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Shops are becoming more accessible in the arts district, along Peter St. S.

The biggest event is the opening of the new Hibernation Arts, which has moved from 7 Peter St. S. to 17 Peter St. S., where Art & Home used to be.

This is welcome news. The following artists are helping to open the new gallery: Molly Farquharson, Cheryl Sartor, Barbara Schmidt, Catherine Cadieux, Gayle Schofield, Patti Agapi, Tammy Henry, Marie Jose van de Langerijt, with the group show “Covid Creations.”


The guest artist is MJ Pollak. There will also be a continuous showing of works by members of the Orillia Fine Arts Association (OFAA), with shows to change on a monthly basis. Expect to see new works.

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Most of the OFAA wall exhibitions are up and the official opening will be on July 8. At Peter St. Fine Arts, 23 Peter St., the guest artist for July is Judy Sugg. Judy was the owner of the Coach House Gallery which closed last year.

Also at PSFA, you can see works by Xavier Fernandes, Rob Henderson, Alex Henderson, Karen Gattie Popp, Brian Tosh, Lyndell Oldfield, Kristine Drummond, and others.

While on Peter St., visit the other galleries and shops such as Three Crows Speak and Patti Agapi at 9 Peter St. S., Shadowbox at 15 Peter St. S., and Tiffin’s at 22 B Peter St. S. (in the lane beside OMAH).

Also, OMAH is showing the 6-inch x5-inch squares donated by the local artists as a fundraiser. They have 15 on display at a time and they sell for $15 each, with all monies going to OMAH.

Venues ask patrons to remember the COVID-19 safety precautions and keep your distance.

Some galleries and shops have restrictions on the number of people allowed in at one time. Most have hand sanitizer available, and masks are optional. Your local artists look forward to your support.

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ARTS AROUND: Creative carvings on display at Rollin Art Centre – Alberni Valley News

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MELISSA MARTIN

SPECIAL TO THE NEWS

Check out our next art exhibit online at www.alberniarts.com titled “TOGETHER” and featuring Cecil Dawson, Allen Halverson, Nigel Atkin, and others.

This exciting exhibit, beginning in July, will feature many First Nations carvings, paintings, surfboard designs, carved river otters and so much more.

We invite you all to check out our website to view all our monthly exhibits from the comfort of your home. Our website is also a great way to stay connected with the Rollin Art Centre. Call 250-724-3412 to book an appointment.

CHILDREN’S ART WORKSHOPS

The Rollin Art Centre will be holding art workshops for Children aged 9-11 every Tuesday to Friday from 10 a.m. to noon.

These four-day workshops will begin Tuesday, July 6 and each week will be a different media: Painting I (July 7-10), sculpture (July 14-17), Drawing I (July 21-24), paper crafts (July 28-31), Painting II (Aug 4-7), nature art (Aug 11-14), Drawing II (Aug 18-21) and multi-media art (Aug 25-28).

All art workshops will be held outside to follow social distancing guidelines. Each week’s workshop will cost $50. Spots are VERY limited spots, as only five children will be allowed to register per week. Register today by emailing admincac@shawcable.com.

SUMMER WRITING WORKSHOPS

Every Monday morning (10 a.m. to 12 p.m.), the Rollin Art Centre will be holding a writing camp for ages 10-12.

Writing workshops begin Monday, July 6 and feature a different genre each week. All writing workshops will be held outside to follow social distancing guidelines. Each week’s workshop will cost $12. Spots are limited, as only five children will be allowed to register per week. Register today by emailing admincac@shawcable.com.

GARDENS ARE OPEN

The Rollin Art Centre gardens are now open to the public from Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., for you to wander and enjoy.

Please note that the seating benches and the swing on our property, as well as any gate latches and fence supports, the concrete balustrade, the bandstand, the entrance gate and other outdoor touchpoints will not be sanitized by Rollin Art Centre.

Washroom facilities are not available for use. While on the grounds, please supervise children at all times, supply your own hand sanitizer and practice social distancing by staying two metres apart unless you are part of an established “bubble.” If physical distancing is not possible, we recommend that guests wear a mask.

The gallery and gift shop (washrooms included) will remain closed—however, personal appointments or curbside pick-up are available. Call 250-724-3412. Go to www.alberniarts.com to view our online gallery and gift shop.

Thank you for your continued support through this difficult time.

GIFT SHOP NOW ONLINE

Available now, you can view all our items in our gift shop from the comfort of your own home.

The Rollin Art Centre is excited to bring all our one-of-a kind art pieces from our gift shop to you online at www.alberniarts.com. We have an incredible lineup of artists and a wide range of items, including pottery, woodworks, jewellery, stained glass, sun catchers, prints, painting, art cards, First Nations artwork, glass etchings, birdhouses and so much more.

When you purchase from our gift shop or make a donation, you are helping to support local artists as well as the Rollin Art Centre. We need your continued support.

HEY KIDS

We want to see what you’ve been doing!

More and more ideas are springing up to help keep children doing creative and fun projects during the pandemic. We would love to see them and be able to share them on our Facebook page.

Send us a video or photo of yourself and a project that you are currently working on (or that you have completed). You can get more ideas if you tune into our Rollin Art Centre Facebook Page.

Get your mom or dad to help take a video or photo of you creating art work and send it to Melissa at admincac@shawcable.com. Don’t forget to give us written permission, otherwise we wont be able to post it.

We are so excited to stay connected and see what you have all been working on during these crazy times!

ROTARY MURAL PROJECT

The Port Alberni Arrowsmith Rotary Club is building relationships, brick by brick.

The club and community partners are excited to announce the Rotary Community Mural Project on the backside of the Canadian Alberni Engineering building at 3101 Bird Street (the back wall across from the train station).

Fundraising includes the sale of bricks that make up the mural. The bricks can be purchased through e-transfer (arrowsmithrotaryclub@gmail.com) or by cash or cheque to Arrowsmith Rotary Club.

Check out the Rotary Club of Port Alberni Arrowsmith Facebook page for more information or call Terry Deakin at 250-720-6604.

CHAR’S PRESENTS ZOOM

Second and last Wednesday of each month, 7 p.m. (virtual doors 6:30pm) — Alberni Valley Words on Fire !

All tickets are available online through www.sidedooraccess.com or call 250-730-1636 to charge by phone or eTransfer “event date and email address” to info@charslanding.com.

Melissa Martin is the Arts Administrator for the Community Arts Council, at the Rollin Art Centre and writes for the Alberni Valley News. Call 250-724-3412. Email: communityarts@shaw.ca.

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Nigel Atkin will be part of the next art exhibit at the Rollin Art Centre. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

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