The National Gallery of Canada has reopened after the most recent pandemic lockdown with a new exhibition of Rembrandt and a lofty new vision for its future that aims to connect to more diverse voices and audiences through critical conversations in art. In this vain they have taken what was slated to be a pretty standard Rembrandt exhibition and infused it with Black and Indigenous voices and artists that broaden the scope of the exhibition to reflect on the time period that Rembrandt lived in and how it connects to colonization and the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. The exhibition runs until September 6th so there are still a few more weeks to see it!
While going through some old photos I came across slides that my Grandpa took decades ago in Paris, probably in the 1970s. It made me think about my first trip to France about 10 years ago in 2011. I thought it would be fun to share some of my old photos from the amazing trip around France with my family. It was really a dream trip, 3 weeks around France. We started in Paris and then went north to Giverny, Honfleur and Mont Saint Michel. Then we traveled south to the Loire Valley to see chateaux then to the walled city of Carcassonne and to Provence. There were visited Arles, Nimes, Avignon the Pont du Gard and Orange and continued to Nice for some riviera sunshine. To finish off we head back north to Chartres before flying home from Paris again. It’s always fun looking back on old photos and memories from great travels. I’d love to return to France and see more of this beautiful country.
Since I’ve been unable to travel for over a year I’ve enjoyed exploring my own city. Even though I’ve lived in Ottawa my whole life there are areas of the city I’ve never explored and new things that I’ve discovered. One of the fun things I’ve been doing is seeking out public art around the city. Unity by Yasaman Mehrsa is a recent installation on the steps down to the Rideau Canal in between the National Arts Centre and the new Senate of Canada building. This beautiful artwork has a lovely message too. The houses represent humans and the pathways represent nature, but together they symbolize unity. Ottawa has so much to offer and there is so much to explore in this wonderful city, especially at times like these. Now that the weather is getting warmer I can’t wait to get back out exploring.
Now more than ever it’s important to support your local arts institutions. Covid-19 has had a major impact on the tourist industry and the arts. When the National Gallery of Canada reopened in July I visited and it was so nice to be back at one of my favourite places. With limited capacity and mandatory mask wearing I felt very safe visiting. During normal times I find it easy to visit the NGC without crowds and now it’s even less busy. If you have the chance please go out and support your local arts institutions (as long as you feel safe doing so and don’t have any symptoms of course). Also be sure to check the National Gallery of Canada’s website for up-to-date information about opening hours and regulations. Continue reading for some photos of the beautiful empty gallery spaces.
Àbadakone|Continuous Fire|Feu continuel at the National Gallery of Canada had ended after an amazing (an extended run thanks to Covid). This amazing exhibition featuring the work of more than 70 international contemporary Indigenous artists from 16 countires is one of those exhibitions that makes the National Gallery of Canada a special institution. Even though this exhibition is over I wanted to share some images of it.
Like a lot of people staying inside the prevent the spread of the coronavirus I’ve been looking for some kind of creative outlet. But the problem I found was many art supply stores were sold out of many items. Thanks to Block Shop Textiles who posted a fun little tutorial on their Instagram about block printing with natural materials I was able to do some arts and crafts with things from the grocery store!
Staying home during the coronavirus pandemic has never made me love my apartment more. All the plants, books, art and knick-knacks collected over the years and from travels.
Last time I was down around Toronto I stopped into the Art Gallery of Ontario to see their new exhibition, Brian Jungen Friendship Centre (June 20 – August 25, 2019). Jungen is a Dane-Zaa / Swiss artist based in British Columbia. Although a lot of his artwork is related to his Indigenous heritage he also looks at issues of environmentalism and consumerism. Jungen is probably best know for his mask sculptures that use Nike Air Jordan sneakers to create Indigenous style masks. The new exhibition at the AGO is the largest exhibition of his work and is meant to be an in-depth exploration of his artwork.
The Ottawa Art Gallery‘s current exhibition Karim Rashid: Cultural Shaping presents “the first large-scale presentation of the iconic designer’s work in Canada to date.” It features over 200 of Rashid’s unique designs ranging from tables and chairs to shoes and Pepsi bottles. I was interested to see this exhibition since it’s rare that we see these kinds of design exhibits in Ottawa and I wanted to learn more about this designer who I only vaguely knew. However, after seeing the exhibit I feel like I really didn’t learn anything and instead visited a showroom, not a gallery.