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Young Afghan woman opens art gallery to create jobs, and hope, in pandemic –



By Orooj Hakimi

KABUL (Reuters) – In a small art gallery in the Afghan capital, Marzia Panahi watches as one of the young artists she has just employed applies paint to a framed felt canvas propped up against a easel.

Panahi, 21, set up the Namad Gallery at the height of the coronavirus pandemic in September.

Her aim was to revive the use of felt in art, to showcase her war-torn country’s creativity and to try to create jobs for young people hit hard by the pandemic and the economic crisis it has caused.

“When COVID-19 cases increased in Afghanistan, I saw how unemployment was getting higher, and when we realized how deadly poverty can be…I put together a team of young people so that we could at least be useful to ourselves and those around us, and become entrepreneurs,” she said.

The international relations student’s company now employs 10 people, including three artists, and sells paintings to local art lovers for between $100 and $200 each.

Afghanistan, where more than 60% of the population is below the age of 25, has struggled with high youth unemployment.

The pandemic has exacerbated its economic problems, with the World Bank predicting that more than 70% of the population will slip beneath the poverty line in 2020.

In addition to generating jobs, Panahi said she wanted to find a way of reintroducing felt to traditional arts and crafts in Afghanistan. Historically it had been produced to make carpets, she said, but in recent years its use had declined.

“Because people have turned to a more modern life and are no longer buyers of felt products, we wanted to make it possible to re-use felt in a variety of ways,” she explained.

Faiqa Sultani, a 27-year old artist, said she had initially felt depressed due to the lockdown and lack of opportunities, but since joining Namad her mood had improved.

“When I paint, it is a kind of expression of my feelings on canvas, paper, or felt that I enjoy,” she said.

“Painting on felt means that we can revive the old traditions and show people that we can use our Afghan resources and make our lives more beautiful.”

(Reporting by Orooj Hakimi and Hameed Farzad; Writing by Charlotte Greenfield; Editing by Mike Collett-White)

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New art hub set up in North Bay's downtown to support local artists – CTV Toronto



Northern Ontario artists now have a co-operative hub to create and sell their artwork in downtown North Bay at Gateway To The Arts.

From paintings on the wall to balloon art on display, a group of 11 northern Ontario artists put their heads together in Feb. to come up with the plan.

“There’s very limited affordable space in the city for artists to work in, said Karrie Emms, one of the group’s founders. “When you want to rent a studio, you’re looking at a hefty chunk of change.”

Emms is one of the 11 artists involved. She paints, is involved in sketch-work and also teaches during paint nights. There are studios in the lower level of the facility, as well as workshop space where the member artists can prepare their works.

“We have five rental studios downstairs,” said Emms. “We planned for COVID-19. We thought if we use the studios, that covers our bills.”

Emms and the other artist members celebrated the official opening of Gateway To The Arts at 151A Main Street on the weekend.

Balloon artist Anne Brule is part of the artisan co-op and was always fascinated with balloon art ever since she read about the world’s largest non-round balloon sculpture in the world. It depicts two soccer players challenging for a ball and is completely made of balloons.

“You can make clothes (with the balloons), you can make all sorts of different things,” said Brulé. “I made a Métis sash for Le Carnival a couple of years ago and it just really opened up so many possibilities.”

The space will also be intended to help young and upcoming artists hone in on their skills and support their talent, as well as help them with resumes and portfolios in hopes of finding a job in the arts.

“Art can be a career. It can be a job and it can support you,” said Emms. “We want to foster to young people.”

Emms said the group is always looking for new members, saying art and the passion for it are limitless.

For the next few weeks, the co-op is also featuring 11 more artists’ holiday artwork.

“There’s so much talent in the area with the ideas and creativity that people have,” Brule said.

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Kamloops Art Gallery offers free virtual art workshops | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source – iNFOnews



Image Credit: SUBMITTED

November 24, 2020 – 4:00 PM

For anyone between the ages of 13 to 21 looking to pick up a new hobby they can do from home can check out a virtual art workshop offered by the Kamloops Art Gallery.

Art on 5th is a virtual art workshop series created by the Kamloops Art Gallery’s summer interns that gives participants the opportunity to learn new art forms from industry professionals, according to the art gallery’s website.

The program is hosted through a Zoom call and features a different local artist each session. Each artist will teach participants a different style of art. 

All the materials needed for each workshop are available for registered participants for free at the Kamloops Art Gallery, or can be shipped with a small postage fee.

Tomorrow’s, Nov. 25, workshop will feature local artist Robin Hodgson who will do a tour of his studio before teaching painting with acrylics.

The next session Dec. 2 features local artist Katerine Lopez Escobar, who will teach participants to work with different drawing materials and how to do landscape drawing. The following workshop Dec. 9 will be lead by artist Dylan Bellamy, who will teach the art of portrait painting using acrylic. 

To register for a session, click here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Brie Welton or call (250) 819-3723 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won’t censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

News from © iNFOnews, 2020


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Ancient rock art shows prehistoric people ‘used hallucinogenic drugs’ – Yahoo Canada Sports



The painting shows a datura flower (University of Central Lancashire)
The painting shows a datura flower (PNaS)

A swirl-like painting on the wall of a Californian cave has shown that prehistoric people were using hallucinogenic plants to create art.

New research found that the painting actually shows the flower of Datura wrightii, a plant used for its hallucinogenic properties in ceremonies.

Scientists from the University of Central Lancashire excavated the cave, and found that, as well as a painting of the plant, there were chewed materials from the hallucinogenic plant.

Datura is a powerful hallucinogen which has been associated with witchcraft or religious practices in many societies around the world.

The research was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNaS).

Read more: Ancient drug pouch showed people took cocaine 1,000 years ago

Dr David Robinson, Reader in archaeology at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), said, ‘The link between hallucinogens and rock art has long been suspected, and this research shows that it was not only a source of creative inspiration for these prehistoric groups of people, but a core tenet of important rituals and community gathering.”

Datura was used in Native California as part of adolescent initiation rituals, where the root of the plant was processed into a drink for young people in the community.

Scientists in the cave in California (PNaS) Scientists in the cave in California (PNaS)
Scientists in the cave in California (PNaS)

Other material found at the site also suggests that the site was likely to be a communal space in which people would gather on a seasonal basis for hunting, gathering, food preparation, and eating

The researchers believe that the art played a prominent role in the daily lives of all members of the local community.

Read more: Astronomers find closest black hole to Earth

Dr Robinson says, ‘These findings give us a far more in-depth understanding of the lives of indigenous American communities and their relationships, from late prehistoric times right up until the late 1800s.

‘Importantly, because of this research, the Tejon Indian tribe now visits the site annually to reconnect to this important ancestral place.

Dr Matthew Baker, Reader in Chemistry at the University of Strathclyde and co-author, said: ‘The combination of chemistry and archaeology in this project has truly shown the power of a multidisciplinary approach to uncover new knowledge. This was a gripping project and visiting these sites with Dave was truly memorable.”

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