Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fine Art Exhibition , “Faces of War” Nov 1 to Nov 19, 2011, Artists: Linda Finn OSA and Lillian Michiko Blakey OSA at the Aurora Cultural Centre

The  collaboration of Linda Finn and Lillian Michiko Blakey for their recent exhibition , Faces of War  at the Aurora Cultural Centre has resulted in a deeply personal and moving mixed media exhibition that gives us two women’s views of war.  It has been a privilege to work with artists of this calibre on such a thought provoking exhibition.   As part of this exhibition the audience is invited to place a crane on the Global Tree for Peace or write a note in memory of a loved one. The audience can also read some of the amazing stories in the  installation piece, A Case for War?  When Linda Finn’s art show, War Letters Project was on exhibition at Gore Bay last month , A Writers' Group on Manitoulin Island met to look at the work, talk about it and do some writing in response.   Linda has invited York Region writers to do the same.
 Creating art for a large, sensitive exhibition is a courageous journey because the artists never know what the reaction will be to their stories.   This kind of sharing invites sensitivity from the viewer.   As we are all aware, great art  speaks to our soul in an intimate way.  There are many powerful pieces  in this exhibition telling each artist family stories and reflecting their personal insights on war. 
 One piece is the TWO-SIDED ACCORDION BOOK  “In My House” by Lillian Michiko Blakey. This is the Story of two little girls, who were neighbours in Vancouver and best friends.  Each one asks her mother the same questions about why Michiko’s family had to leave.  On one side, we have “Michiko’s Story” and on the other side is “Susan’s Story”.  If the pictures are lifted up, there are factual accounts of the events from the perspective of the children. 
An altered book by Linda Finn, “The Mixing Bowl” created through acrylic and collage from a 1916 recipe book contains sensitive insights and quotes and it really is a fascinating read as well as a unique art piece.
Their collaborative sculptural book tells each artists view of their family experience. On one side you have, Who wrote the Law  and on the other side  of the book are Letters from Japan.   It is a testimonial and reminder that through the power of art “we will not forget.”  
The quality of this exhibition is a result of the years each artist has spent dedicated to developing their skills and both award winning artists are recognized nationally for the contributions they have made to contemporary Canadian fine art. 

I would highly recommend this exhibit to all.  “ Faces of War”  continues until Nov 19th at the Aurora Cultural Centre  
Gallery Hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm or by appointment.

Friday, September 2, 2011

All Sorts of Art: Smaller Fish.

All Sorts of Art: Smaller Fish.: Smaller fish. Grayling and brook trout on bases. These are around 8" long and painted with acrylics. Check out the artwork of David Trant.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

CTV British Columbia - Funeral for Jack Layton begins in Toronto - CTV News

CTV British Columbia - Funeral for Jack Layton begins in Toronto - CTV News  

An Aboriginal blessing from Shawn Allea, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations pays tribute to Jack Layton, a man of the people...." dream no little dreams.. a world that would be more just."
Rest in peace Jack Layton.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lillian Michiko Blakey Art Exhibit at Aurora Cultural Centre until April 30, 2011

Art Exhibit at the Aurora Cultural Centre until April 30th, 2011.

There are only 3 days left to view Who Am I? In Search of an Answer.  Lillian Michiko Blakey's thought provoking art exhibit at the Aurora Cultural Centre  is on until Saturday April 30.  Lillian is a member of the O.S.A and an award winning Canadian artist.
Gallery hours are Tuesday to Saturday from 1:00 to 4:00 and admission is free. 
I had the priviledge of being the guest curator for this exhibit and I have copied my notes to give you some background information below.  
Lillian Michiko Blakey is a Canadian artist who combines her aesthetic sensibilities with a personal vision that speaks to us in an intimate way.  The exhibit, Who am I?  In search of an Answer, observes the world through the artist’s eyes and invites the audience to bring our experiences to this journey.  The result is an open, honest dialogue in which we can all participate.  
                The search for identity and acceptance is a universal part of the human condition.  For Lillian Michiko Blakey,  the forced removal of Japanese-Canadians from the west coast during World War 11 has influenced her whole life and the way in which she perceives herself. 
                In an essay, Is it Japanese Artist or Artist Who is Japanese?  Lillian talks about her own struggle with issues of identity.  Growing up in Toronto in the 1950s, Lillian denied all  things Japanese.  Her parents avoided close community contact with the Japanese community because of the discrimination they had experienced in pre-war British Columbia.  Her father decided that the best way for the future was to assimilate.  One of her regrets is that the loss of her Japanese heritage has resulted in her not being able to pass on the Japanese  language and traditions to her children and  grandchildren. 
                However, through Lillian’s visual images, she is able to give a voice to the past experiences of her parents.  Their story is a part of Canadian history that she reclaims so that it will not be lost or forgotten.  The artist’s voice now includes all the possibilities for future generations.  Her own grandchildren have diverse cultural backgrounds.   Lillian’s granddaughters were given Japanese middle names at birth and as one of Lillian’s grandsons got older, he insisted that he get a Japanese name also.  There is hope in the image titled  “We are Japanese too!’’ 
“ It is only in the past 10 years that I have, through my art, come to terms with who I am.  I think that an exhibition which voices concerns about identity issues can help other people, too, in their search to find themselves.”  Lillian has come to accept that she is the “product of two cultures, neither wholly of one nor wholly of the other, and therefore her work, which is the experience of her particular view of the world is bound to be different from the art of her  ancestors.
                This exhibit clearly emphasizes Lillian’s strong aesthetic sensibility.  The artistic vision of this distinguished artist has resulted in making deliberate choices with regard to the variety of styles she employs.  The use of pop art , mixed media collage, Japanese paper and photographs gives the artist flexibility in expressing her concepts.  Photographs add to the immediacy of the experience for the viewer.  The audience can respond to images of real people and this reinforces the idea that the content of this exhibit is not a work of fiction.  Lillian Michiko Blakey has not only shared her personal vision but she has also given the audience a rare opportunity to get an insight into her process as an artist by including preliminary sketches of some of the pieces. 
                 The Aurora Cultural Centre is pleased to bring you this thought provoking and exquisitely crafted exhibit by this highly respected Canadian artist.  A past president of the Ontario Society of artists, Lillian Michiko Blakey is a leader in promoting arts and culture in our community.  She is currently involved in a project whereby emerging artists and established artists learn from one another  through the making of collaborative works.
                We thank Lillian Michiko Blakey for opening the dialogue through her artwork so that we can better understand each other.  

 Clare Bolton,
Guest Curator and Gallery Coordinator
Aurora Cultural Centre