'Home & Away: Canadian Regional Art Calendar'

Our first Regional Art Calendar will be released for 2019. In keeping with the tradition of Regionalism this project features of cross-section of the independent arts community – from household names, established artists, to mid-career and emerging. While promoting an awareness of the our natural environment, the continuity of craftsmanship in art is preserved in this stunning collection of images from across Canada. Not only does this calendar highlight the most skilled painters of our day, it brings to a wider public the history of Regionalism; a surprising and uplifting story, which - oddly - is overlooked in contemporary accounts of art history. It is the aim of the artists associated with this project to continue this legacy, and precipitate positive change in the world, through their art. We hope you will join us in this endeavour.

Order your 2019 REGIONAL ART CALENDAR today!
Contact me to place an order. 

Featuring (from top left, across, to bottom right): Brent Townsend, Andrew Cheddie Sookrah, John Ovcacik, April Sgaana Jaad White, Wayne Mondok, Anja Karisik, Angela Lorenzen, W. David Ward, Michael Dumas, John Stuart Pryce, Mark Fletcher, and Gerry Sevier.  

Featuring (from top left, across, to bottom right): Brent Townsend, Andrew Cheddie Sookrah, John Ovcacik, April Sgaana Jaad White, Wayne Mondok, Anja Karisik, Angela Lorenzen, W. David Ward, Michael Dumas, John Stuart Pryce, Mark Fletcher, and Gerry Sevier.  

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AZADEH PIRAZIMIAN WINNER OF THE "SOCIAL COMMENTARY" AWARD AT TOAE

The artists of Eyes of Society sponsored an award for social engagement in art at this year's Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition. We are delighted to announce the winner, Azadeh Pirazimian, whose pigment liner drawings, inspired by nature in Canada, offer a commentary on a more sinistral side of human nature today.

Azadeh Pirazimian, "The chicken supposed the land to be firm" (from the series They have not read the news!), pigment liner on paper, 24" x 17", 2015


“Pirazimian’s images are a narrative of this age, but not an impartial one, because she basically has no intention of remaining impartial. She has portrayed darkness and ignorance. She endeavours to shift the mind of the audience from ‘frivolous’ interpretations. She tries to show that the shadow is, ironically, not a safe place and that the ignorance trees grows under the same shadow. She illustrates the eyes which monitor the society from the depth of darkness, a society which encompasses the world and cannot necessarily be restricted to a specific geographical boundary.” 

Anja Karisik and W. David Ward presenting the Social Commentary Award to Iranian artist Azadeh Pirazimian.  (Photo: Andrew Williamson)

W. David Ward engaged the crowd during a tour of the TOAE grounds. Here, he stops at Pirazimian's booth.  (Photo: Andrew Williamson)

"FESTIVA REGIONALISTA" ON PELEE ISLAND, CIVIC HOLIDAY WEEKEND

The 5th annual Pelee Island Stone & Sky Music & Arts Series is a growing and eclectic series of concerts and other artistic events featuring spoken word, live performance, and visual arts. Join us for FESTIVA REGIONALISTA, a series of performances taking place on Saturday, August 5th in a disused fossilized limestone quarry and rehabilitated former landfill. This gem of a venue boasts remarkable acoustics and flourishes with indigenous and endangered species of plants and animals, some of which are native only to Pelee Island in all of Canada.

WORD: Sheniz Janmohamed is an author and arts educator who creates mandalas from words and writes poetry inspired by the land.

MUSIC: The Nihilist Spasm Band has been an influence on experimental media since their inception in 1965. Prepare to be unprepared.

ART: Plein air artists John Stuart Pryce & Andrew Cheddie Sookrah. John shares the beauty his eyes see, heart feels, and soul yearns to understand. Philanthropic, Guyana-born Andrew shares his technical expertise and discerning eye.

"A LASTING PRESENCE" EXHIBITION OPENING

THANK YOU to everyone who visited the Heliconian Club on Saturday, June 3rd for the opening reception of "A Lasting Presence".

The lead-up to the exhibition wouldn't have happened without the excellent help of the Heliconian ladies ( and an awesome husband): Maria & Michael Wall, Emma Walker, Brenda Segall, Anya Orzechowska, Ruthia Pak Regis, and Jan McCartney...I'm indebted.

To the ReEnounter crew: thank you for keeping a watchful eye over me as I passed through my transition phase. It was out in Haida Gwaii that I finally awoke, and with your encouragement waded into the waters of my transition.

I'm grateful for all my dear friends who put up with my long silences and absences, but who made sure I never slipped entirely off radar.

Amra & Ciba, one a pillar the other a mentor. You always gave me freedom to explore, wander, and search, while having an unfaltering belief in whatever direction I chose.

CIBA KARISIK, "THE WAY OF THE VINE", JUNE 3-17, 2017, LOCH GALLERY IN TORONTO

Loch Gallery is featuring the “The Way of the Vine”, a collection of wine-inspired paintings by Ciba Karisik. In this new series of still lives and landscapes, we follow the path of the grapevine, that long-lived, perennial plant that continues to shape the world’s economy. Ciba’s paintings pay homage to the history of winemaking, acknowledging viniculture as a form of art itself.

The artist returns with his effective large-scale works of deliberately aged and dusty wine bottles with enigmatic landscapes or nondescript interiors as backdrops. His enlarged wine bottle labels have pop-art appeal, but with perspectival depth and painterly brushwork.

Ciba also presents the viewer with paintings of lands that yield the fruit. He chooses wintry scenes of sloping vineyards in valleys or vinelands lying beyond what is visible or known. There are also unexpected images of vine pruning at winter’s end; isolated fires burn and smoke billows from heaps of pruned vines, suggesting the cycle of the grapevine’s life.

Together, the paintings in the exhibition lead us through the way of the vine, shedding light on the vintner’s quest for perfection, or what author Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) called ‘bottled poetry’.

OPENING RECEPTION: 
Saturday, June 3rd - artist in attendance from 2-4pm. 
Loch Gallery, 16 Hazelton Avenue, Toronto ON, M5R 2E2

REMEMBERING THE WOMEN OF BEAVER HALL, MARCH 3 - 29, 2017, HELICONIAN CLUB

Convenors: Ruthia Pak Regis and Anja Karisik

As an organization for women in the arts, the Heliconian Club is pleased to present a tribute exhibition honouring the women of the Beaver Hall Group (1920-23). Shadowed by the ubiquitous Group of Seven, these women painters have been overlooked in Canadian art history. In recent years, there has been a surge of interest in the Beaver Hall Group and its context.

Our Salon celebrates the friendship and support fostered among the women members of the Beaver Hall Group, and pays homage to the modernism advanced by the group. We have focused on still life, urban or rural scenes and figurative work in a variety of media to highlight our own group's diversity and our desire to promote a broader vision of art, while remembering the women of Beaver Hall who achieved this nearly a century ago.

Join us on the evening of Tuesday, March 21st at Heliconian Hall as we host speaker Brian Foss who will discuss why the Beaver Hall Group existed, who its members were, and what its art looked like and why. Mr. Foss is Director of the School for Studies in Art and Culture and Professor of Art History at Carlton University. He was co-curator of the exhibition 1920s Modernism in Montreal: The Beaver Hall Group. 

TO PURCHASE TICKETS: "Remembering the Women of Beaver Hall"

Post Re-Encounter Exhibition, Westmount Gallery

Thank you to for joining us at Westmount Gallery for a pop-up exhibition of our Haida Gwaii paintings. 

ANJA KARISIK, "NEARING MIDNIGHT (BURNABY STRAIT, GWAII HAANAS), PASTEL ON BOARD, 12" x 16", 2016

ANJA KARISIK, "NEARING MIDNIGHT (BURNABY STRAIT, GWAII HAANAS), PASTEL ON BOARD, 12" x 16", 2016

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ANJA KARISIK, "AFTER THE STORM (WANDERER ISLAND, GWAII HAANAS)", PASTEL ON BOARD, 12" x 16" - SOLD

ANJA KARISIK, "AFTER THE STORM (WANDERER ISLAND, GWAII HAANAS)", PASTEL ON BOARD, 12" x 16" - SOLD

Post reencounter update

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED
(Phase One, at least)

The ReEncounter team arrived in the village of Tanu, just before lunch on June 9th. In the company of Master Carver Jaalen Edenshaw, artist April White – Sgaana Jaad - Killerwhale woman – and Haida Watchman Sean Young, we relocated the site of the undocumented Killerwhale pole quickly and found what we had set out to see.

 

Watchman Sean Young (left, black jacket) greets ReEncounter group at Tanu; Master carver Jaalen Edenshaw at far right

Watchman Sean Young (left, black jacket) greets ReEncounter group at Tanu; Master carver Jaalen Edenshaw at far right

Artist April White (Sgaana Jaad) at left

Artist April White (Sgaana Jaad) at left

The forest in and around the village site is more open now. Without the dense thatch of second growth that shrouded the long house remains in 1988, remnants of buildings and other artifacts, are now much easier to discern. Time, however, has taken its toll.

There was very little difference between the memorial Killerwhale pole as documented in 1947 and David Ward's image from 1988, but in subsequent years the process of decay accelerated. Anyone encountering the pole today would likely not recognize it as such. Moss has taken hold and devoured large portions of the exposed surface; beneath though, some of the original features can still be made out.

1947

1947

1988

1988

2016

2016

Jaalen Edenshaw and David Ward examine the carving, and discuss options for a possible recreation of the piece; (left) Killerwhale Woman, April White, looks on.

Jaalen Edenshaw and David Ward examine the carving, and discuss options for a possible recreation of the piece; (left) Killerwhale Woman, April White, looks on.

April White documents the remaining details herself.

April White documents the remaining details herself.

Although this artifact was missing from the official archives record, Watchman Sean Young has endeavoured to slow the pole's deterioration with some minor, non-invasive, restoration work. He attributes this fallen pole’s longevity, however, to the tree that has suspended it above the ground since the winter of 1967/68. More on this, the preservation of other artifacts, and future collaborative efforts later.

Jaalen takes a moment, and places his hand on the bough that has kept this artifact aloft since the day it fell.

Jaalen takes a moment, and places his hand on the bough that has kept this artifact aloft since the day it fell.

This same day, the ReEncounter team organized a separate zodiac to transport a group of local Haida children (and a French exchange student) to spend a day on site. Because of the cost of getting to this wilderness area, many of the Haida people never have an opportunity to visit their homeland in Gwaii Haanas. Our group is planning to make the charter of a ten seat zodiac an annual event, in order that more Haida children may be exposed to their culture. A portion of sales from our upcoming Haida Gwaii works will be set aside for this purpose, and please feel free to contribute directly. (Details of this program to be determined at the time of our first Post-ReEncounter show, in November.

On ferry to Moresby.

On ferry to Moresby.

(Below) The film crew (Joe, Allison and Wolff - standing) accompanied us throughout, recording interviews and documenting events. We hope to project a ten minute mini-doc at the time of our first exhibition, although we will share more of our experiences in the near future. More pictures, and few video clips, will be available shortly.

MOVING FORWARD

The relationships we have forged in Haida Gwaii, and particularly in the artistic community, have become far stronger than we could ever have hoped. Artists, of course, are all cut from the same cloth, so this immediate bond isn’t surprising. We have also found natural allies in our cause in the Watchmen who take care of this land for their people and for posterity. As we continue with the crafting of our group's New Regionalism manifesto, we refer to the Haida Watchman Program's own 'mission statement' and the profound opening paragraph of the Haida Nation's Proclamation.

Haida Watchman Program:

"In the past, Haida watchmen were posted at strategic positions around a village to raise the alarm in advance of an approaching enemy... The Haida recognize that nature and culture are intrinsically connected, and that the protection of the natural and cultural values on Haida Gwaii is essential to sustaining their culture. The Haida have always had Guardian Watchmen who protected the land and sea from harm."

The Haida Proclamation:

"Our culture, our heritage is the child of respect and intimacy with the land and sea. Like the forests, the roots of our people are intertwined such that the greatest troubles cannot overcome us. We owe our existence to Haida Gwaii ... the living generation accepts the responsibility to ensure that our heritage is passed on to following generations."

We see the ideas expressed in these statements as being central to the traditional message of Regionalism ('American Regionalism' –1920s thru 1953 – and briefly, somewhat more recently here in Canada – 'London Regionalism'). We endeavour to make this politically engaged movement relevant once again by addressing the issues above, and other pressing concerns of our day. One of the central objectives of our time away, 'at the edge of the world', was to finalize the first draft of a new manifesto. More on this in the very near future.

The ReEncounter expedition was only a beginning. We hope you will follow us, and even join us, as we continue our journey. Thank you again for your generous support.

The team lands on the south beach of Hotspring Island, just before our crossing of Juan Perez Sound - Del Sur (with Wolff, Joe and Allison aboard) approaches.

The team lands on the south beach of Hotspring Island, just before our crossing of Juan Perez Sound - Del Sur (with Wolff, Joe and Allison aboard) approaches.

GoFundMe - ReEncounter - Campaign

We need your support in our quest to ReEncounter, and hopefully preserve, an important lost cultural treasure…

Like the Elgin Marbles, carried off from the Parthenon, the totem poles of our Northwest coast scattered to the wind many years ago. Of all the treasures of the Northwest coast, the monumental art of the Haida was considered the most desirable. The Smithsonian, the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, and the ROM, all boast of the artifacts secured for their collections.

Among the treasure of the Haida world – a windswept archipelago off the northern-most coast of British Columbia – one village, above all, is considered the epicentre of that culture. Such was the demand for artifacts from this site that, by 1968, not a single totem pole remained – at least, this is what guidebooks tell us. The guidebooks, however, are wrong, as a recently uncovered photograph attests. One lone pole – a totem killerwhale – remains.

June 9th, 2016: a group of independent artists from across Canada, including April White – SGAANA JAAD (Killerwhale Woman) – will return to Gwaii Haanas in the hope of 'ReEncountering' this'undocumented' cultural treasure. We will also be conducting painting workshops and teaching sessions in two of the local schools, and planning future projects with the Haida artists who have partnered with us on this expedition.

We hope you will follow us on our journey, and help us in our Quest. Thank you in advance, on behalf of the kayak expedition team artists:

Anja Karisik - Andrew Cheddie Sookrah - April White

Gary Landon   -   Sophie Lavoie   -   W.David Ward

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In recognition of your support, we will hold a draw for a small original work, by each of the 6 participating artists at our first 'Post-ReEncounter' exhibition, in late 2016. All contributors will receive an invitation to our Toronto opening, and all donations of $25 of more  will be entered in each of the draws.

FUNDING REQUEST

Because fund raising efforts were not possible until the required permits and permissions were received, we have been unable to pursue the usual corporate channels for support. Corporate funding today generally hinges on the video (exposure of this kind is almost essential). The securing of a film permit, however, has been the most onerous process of all; and now that things look good on this front it is too late in the day for corporate funding. Thus, we hope you, our friends, will help us in the pursuit of our goal; the once in a lifetime quest for a lost cultural treasure. 

In recognition of your support, we will hold a draw for a small original work, by each of the 6 participating artists at our first 'Post-ReEncounter' exhibition, in late 2016. All contributors will receive an invitation to our Toronto opening, and all donations of $25 or more will be entered in each of the draws.

THE JOURNEY

The 'ReEncounter' expedition begins June 9th 2016, and will cover the length of Gwaii Haanas by kayak. Our journey commences at a village site in the north of Gwaii Haanas, where, accompanied by Haida artists and the Watchman on site, we will search for (and hopefully ReEncounter) the lost Killerwhale / Thunderbird memorial pole. Artists from both Raven and Eagle clans will be with us for this part of the project, including, appropriately, team member April White (Sgaana Jaad – Killerwhale Woman).

The Haida carvers, and others invited to participate in the first part of the expedition, will return to Queen Charlotte City at this point, but the kayakers will continue south. Ultimately, the team will make its way to Anthony Island and the village site of Ninstints. We will be on the water until June 21stand will cover almost 300 km, before we are picked up, on our return, at Burnaby Narrows. We will paint, sketch and write, throughout, recording our impressions of the land and its people. Subsequent to the trip, we will create a series of studio works for future exhibitions.

DOCUMENTARY

The journey will be documented by a Haida Gwaii-based film company. Much of our experience will be recorded from 'sea level', from the film crew's customized tandem kayak, but a support vessel will shadow us, making possible the recording of compelling aerial segments. The resulting footage will be compiled into two short documentaries, and submitted to various film festivals. Previous film projects have been screened at various high-profile festivals in the past, and it is our hope that our historic quest will capture your imagination too.

Your assistance will help this project become a reality, and we hope you will be able to join us, as a very special guest, at one of our upcoming shows, or screenings, late this year / early next.

Thank you.

The ReEncounter team