Thursday, May 30, 2013

Panama in April

I spent a week at Panama in April.  I loved many aspects of Panama: an unexpected sense of pride and promise for a bright future.  They received their country 13 years ago, with tons of useful infrastructure, and with the complete revenue of the Panama Canal working full blast. They have the will and the means to build a great country and this is the start of a good foundation. They are paying attention to the environment, the arts and education.  How they have to pay close attention to corruption... the temptation to go the wrong way is very high.  Here are some photos of the old city, which shows how everything is ready to be rebuilt and beautified.

I met the Argentinian artist Carolina Antoniadis who had a Greek grandfather.  She was painting a mural at the Miraflores lock, the middle of the three locks the Chagres River runs through.  We started talking and she said she was participating in the first Panama Art Biennial.  She had no helpers and she was short of paints.  I offered to lend a hand and I spent two and a half days in bliss, helping her with her project.  The image she designed shows a cargo ship carrying a load of "molas" which are beautiful textiles produced by Embera women. They live in the area between Panama and Colombia, follow no strict geographical divisions, and continue to speak their own language. Here is what the mural looked like, unfinished. I also met Mabel Flores Rojas, a Cuban artist who works with women in prisons of Havana, and who participated in the Biennial (second photo).  And finally, an overlook of a tributary of the Chagres River where the big ships aren't allowed, along the Gamboa Eco-reserve.

New Project, Same Direction

Here I am trying to finish the Healing Alphabet, and struggling.  I have finished letter U which means I am five pieces before the end.  I have no urge or desire to finish this:  I see myself dragging my feet to come back to the studio to get it done.  Instead, I am having all kinds of fun and interesting ideas to start new projects.  So I am going to have to do both.  Let the new ideas spring while having the commitment to resume the unfinished ones.

Here is another piece I am working on.  I want to attach the embroidery onto a large blue canvas I dyed today. The dye label reads 'Arabian Blue' which sounds irresistible.  It ended up being more of a night blue, which will work too.  I want to paste a multitude of images and objects to it, as to integrate the work I do for the Coalition of New Canadians for Arts and Culture onto an art piece.  I would like to translate some of the experiences and ideas on diversity and multiculturalism onto art making.  Some aspects of this work will follow a similar direction as the Healing Alphabet, and some will be unexplored territory.  I photoshopped it a bit, if you are wondering.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Healing Alphabet P

I am working on the letter 'P' of the Healing Alphabet which means I am ten short before I finish the whole collection.  It has been a great process of internal dialogue with each object and I hope to show the whole group of 27 pieces when I am done.  That if I manage to do another F.  The original one I gave away for an auction of Gallery 101 and I don't know the person who bought it.  He signed Black Foot, if you happen to know who he is let me know.  I would like to take a proper photo of my piece.

So this week I bring a three pieces to the new gallery General in Almonte.  I will be proud to show my work among such accomplished artists.  And if all goes well I and I am selected among the Selections 2013,  I will be showing a few pieces at Shenkman Art Centre in September.  I said I would post a few photos of the finished pieces, so here they are.

Healing P