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3 Must-Visit Art Exhibits in Calgary

By SILVIA PIKAL, MICHAELA RITCHIE and RACHAEL FREY

Meryl McMaster, Dreamcatcher, 2015.

IMAGINING NEW FUTURES
Future Memories (Present Tense): Contemporary Practices in Perspective
brings together the work of six contemporary Indigenous artists from different regions of Canada. Each artist was invited to explore how every moment in time has multiple perspectives, and how these perspectives have often been ignored or silenced when experienced by Indigenous peoples.

In her installation “Assimilate” (pictured to the left), Rolande Souliere says she uses Christian iconography, archival photographs and Indigenous cultural imagery to bring to light a dark past—specifically, the role Christianity played in the history of government assimilation policies for Indigenous peoples. In Canada, these policies included removing children from their families and placing them in residential schools.

Lorenzo Fusi, visiting academic curator at Illingworth Kerr Gallery, says the art creates a new world of possibilities. “The artists help us not only to reconcile ourselves with difficult, traumatic events of the past, but also to imagine an exciting new future together,” Fusi says. “We are now in the moment where we can decide what memories we are inscribing for future generations.” — SP

Exhibit runs until December 2; Illingworth Kerr Gallery, 1407 – 14 Ave NW, acad.ca 

 

BRIGHT COLOURS, DARK HUMOUR

Inspired by her daily doodles on Post-it notes, Kipling West’s new exhibit Wall Candy is comprised of 8 x 8 inch acrylic-on-wood paintings that explore a world of noble beasts and adorably menacing monsters.

“I’ve been drawing a Post-it note a day since 2013,” West says. “To tell you the truth, sometimes I just let my hand surprise me.” Disclaimer/bragging rights: Kipling West is Where Calgary’s sales and circulation coordinator! — RF

Exhibit runs until November 25; Blackboard Gallery, cSPACE Projects, 1721 – 29 Ave SW, cspacekingedward.com 

A STITCH IN TIME 

After nine years of needlework in her Calgary studio, Sandra Sawatzky has completed her Black Gold Tapestry (page 29). Informed by the Bayeux Tapestry in both its artistry and storytelling, the Black Gold Tapestry recounts how human advancement has been fueled by oil—across thousands of years, numerous civilizations and 220 feet of linen—from the discovery of bitumen in Iraqi marshes, to the environmental impact of the industry felt today around the world.

“[The Bayeux Tapestry] set me to musing what epic story of today might be told in an embroidered tapestry,” Sawatzky said of the tale she has stitched together. “And then I thought about oil. It changed the modern world in the same way that the Norman invasion changed the course of history.”

More than simply illustrating a complex global history, this visual saga also raises questions about how our international community is moving towards a shared energy future—one that is both uncertain and exciting.
— MR

Exhibit runs until May 2018; Glenbow, 130 – 9 Ave SE, glenbow.org  

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