Tag Archives: art

Sports Equipment and Salt

This half circle of salt that features marble sports equipment is part of an installation by artist Sarindar Dhaliwal in the Vision Exchange exhibit currently on view at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. The cricket bat, field hockey stick, and badminton racket represent sports that were brought to India in their modern form by British colonizers although a game very similar to field hockey was played in the 17th century in the Punjab state of India called khido khundi.  Khido referred to the woolen ball and khundi to the stick.  

A team from India wins the Under 19 World Cricket Championships in 2018

India has become a formidable force in the world of cricket.  India’s elite took up the sport in order to build relationships with the British and its popularity spread to the general population.

India’s national women’s cricket team

This led the way for the creation of some superstar cricketers and India’s international success in the sport.

Why is the sports equipment lying on a bed of salt? In 1882 India was under British rule and the British passed a Salt Act which banned Indians from collecting or selling salt.  Salt had to be bought from the British and they added a heavy tax to each purchase.

Gandhi was joined by thousands on his Salt March.

In 1930 to protest the salt tax Indian leader Gandhi led a salt march.  Thousands of people walked down to the sea to collect salt from the salt flats there.

Gandhi bends down to pick up a lump of salt

Gandhi was arrested after he bent down to pick up a small lump of salt.  Gandhi’s actions led to peaceful protest demonstrations all over India. The British police force responded and in the end, some 60,000 protesters were arrested. Although India would not gain independence from the British until 1947 the salt march and the civil disobedience it inspired gave Gandhi a seat at the table in the discussions about India’s future.

Salt and sports equipment. Two symbols of India’s past as a colony of the British but also symbols of a future when India would control its own natural resources and make its own name in the sports world. 

Other posts……..

A Different Kind of Snow Angel

Hyphenated Lives

India Assaults the Senses

The Heros Walk

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Filed under Art, India, winnipeg art gallery

Power of Print

diversity posterYesterday the guides who work in school programs at the Winnipeg Art Gallery met to learn about a new art activity we will be doing with children called The Power of Print.  Students will use printer ink, paint, stencils and their own creativity to create posters that send a message about an issue that is important to them.  As I was working on my poster about diversity I thought how just a few years ago I would have been so intimidated about creating art I wouldn’t have enjoyed an activity like this at all.  Now I can.  

Art professor and popular author Lynda Barry says so many of us never start creating art or we stop, because we think we are supposed to show mastery of the craft. But she says it is perfectly valid and in fact very important for everyone to feel they can use art as a way to explore their feelings, voice their opinions,  document their experiences or just  have fun and relax. 

Other posts……..

Oh To Be A Kid At The Fringe Festival

Story Sticks

Sunday Afternoon at the WAG


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Filed under Art, Education, winnipeg art gallery

Why Did You Take A Picture of That?

Just a few years ago  you couldn’t take photos in art galleries.  Now that you can, I sometimes have trouble deciding what I should take pictures of. At Lisbon’s Museu Coleção Berardo I was charmed by all the interesting work. Here are some pieces I photographed and the reasons I chose to. 

White Aphrodisiac Telephone by Salvador Dali 1936

I noticed this piece because I recognized its creator Salvador Dali immediately. I learned so much about Salvador Dali when I  toured the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida in the winter of 2014 and then led related art activies and gave tours of an extremely popular exhibit of Dali’s work at the Winnipeg Art Gallery in the fall of that same year. 

One and Three Plants by Joseph Kosuth

I photographed this installation because it reminded me of Arizona where we lived for a year. Kosuth’s artwork made me think about what exactly a plant is. Is it the solid object we see?  Is a plant a plant because it fits the dictionary definition of a plant? When two people hear the word plant they may think of entirely different things. Why did Kosuth choose a cactus to represent plants? Interestingly I found out Kosuth has made many similar installations including One and Three Chairs, One and Three Shovels and One and Three Hats.

Untitled by Alexander Calder

This piece outside the Museu Coleção Berardo caught my eye because I had seen Calder’s work before in several different galleries, including the Winnipeg Art Gallery, and because the color and material also reminded me of a huge sculpture I had seen outside the Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona. The Museu Coleção Berardo also had this piece by Alex Calder.  It is called Black Spray.

Ten Foot Flowers by Andy Warhol

I was drawn to this work of Andy Warhol’s because it seemed so different than lots of his stuff.  They also have more traditional pieces by Warhol in the Lisbon Gallery like……….

Judy Garland by Andy Warhol -1979

Campbell’s Soup by Andy Warhol -1965

Brillo Box Andy Warhol -1964-1968

But the flowers were my favourite!

I’ll end with this piece that I chose to photograph because it kind of creeped me out!

The Giant Mantis by Germaine Richier

We spent hours in the Museu Coleção Berardo and there were many other artworks I wanted to explore further.  Maybe some day I will. 

Other posts…………

Getting To Know the Southwest With Art

Art in the Airport

Art From All Kinds of Things



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Filed under Art, Portugal

She Started To Cry

Hustle & Bustle /Downriver House by Bruno Canadien is one of the pieces currently on display in the Insurgence Resurgence exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.  Bruno Canadien lives in Alberta and is a member of a northern Dene First Nation in the Deh Gah Got’ı́é Kǫ́ę́, Deh Cho Region. His artwork contains images of his northern home.  There are flowers, forests, caribou, fishermen, oil wells and smoke stacks. 

hustle bustle Downriver House by Bruno CanadienOne of the activities we do with gallery visitors after we look at Bruno’s artwork is have them make a similar collage about their home.  They choose objects from trays we provide and place them on a colored paper in ways that represent home to them. 

Last week I did the activity with group of international students that included a young woman from China. One item she chose for her collage was a picture of a phone.  She told us in China she had wanted to be independent from her parents and resented having to still live in the same house with them.  But now that she is far away in Canada she starts to cry whenever she talks to her parents on the phone because she misses them so much. As she told us this she started to cry and I had to reach out and give her a comforting hug. 

I loved the way a young woman from Beijing was inspired to share her personal feelings, thanks to a painting by a Canadian indigenous artist. Art is truly a universal language.

Other posts……….. 

Mennonite Floor Art

A Very Personal Story

Are You Confused Yet?

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Filed under Art, China, Family, winnipeg art gallery

The Art of Rebellion

ART_OF_REBELLION_COVER_largeWhat would it have been like for a young woman who is an aspiring artist to be in Paris at the same time as Pablo Picasso?  You can find out by reading The Art of Rebellion by Brenda Joyce Leahy.  There’s a Picasso show at the Winnipeg Art Gallery right now and The Art of Rebellion would be an interesting book to read before or after visiting the exhibit.  

Pablo Picasso liked his women “short and submissive”  but Gabrielle the heroine of The Art of Rebellion is anything but submissive! She rebels against her parents’ plans to arrange a marriage for her and runs off to Paris to try to fulfill her dream of being an artist.  This was a positively scandalous choice for a woman at the turn of the century when the artistic community was almost exclusively male and a marriage to someone wealthy or titled was considered the height of  success for girls.  Brenda Leahy has done her research and paints a realistic picture of Paris at the time. She doesn’t shy away from having her heroine face the grim reality of surviving there on her own.  

woman in a hat with flowers dora maar 1944

Women in a Hat With Flowers by Picasso 1944 is one of the paintings in the current Picasso exhibition at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.  The Art of Rebellion by Brenda Joyce Leahy has a woman in a hat on its front cover too!

You can even find a hint in one scene in The Art of Rebellion that Gabrielle actually encounters Picasso at an artist’s hangout in Paris. I’m a feminist and an art lover like Gabrielle so even though The Art of Rebellion was written for a young adult audience I enjoyed it too. 

Other posts……..

Launching Not One Book But Three

A New Book Set Right Here in Winnipeg

Red Stone


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Getting To Know the Southwest Through Art

majestic-cat-by-tom-palmoreOn our visit to the Phoenix Art Gallery I wanted to concentrate on finding art that told the story of the southwestern part of the United States. This stunning piece called Majestic Cat is by Tom Palmore.  He specializes in paintings that include wild animals and look almost like photographs. By putting the animals in a setting that has connections to the human world he wants to remind the viewer that we share our planet with other beings. The southwest Sonoran Desert is home to many mountain lions. lew-davis-copper-mining-townArtist Lew Davis was born in the copper mining town of Jerome, Arizona. The Phoenix Art Gallery has a whole series of his paintings which depict life in a copper mining town including this rather haunting one of a young boy called Little Boy Lives in A Copper Camp. canyon-country-georgia-o-keefeGeorgia O Keeffe is probably the most famous artist of the southwestern United States.  She lived and worked primarily in New Mexico and painted many pieces that depict canyons.  This one called Canyon Country was painted in 1965. Although the Grand Canyon is the most well-known of the southwest canyons there are an abundance of canyons throughout the area. easter-painting-paul-pletkaLike Georgia O Keeffe artist Paul Pletka lives and works primarily in New Mexico but he studied at the University of Arizona. This piece of his called Our Lord The One Who Is Flayed shows a group of Mexican people reenacting the passion of Christ during Lent. The painting has images from the biblical story of the crucifixion as well as the story of the Mexican deity Xipe Totec the god of renewal. colorado-river-phoenix-art-galleryDave, my brother and our art gallery guide check out a recreation of the Colorado River by artist Maya Lin. It is called Pin River and made up of thousands of metal pins pushed into the wall. The artist digitally mapped the topographical lines of the river and then recreated it. Part of the Colorado River flows through Arizona’s Grand Canyon before emptying into Lake Mead on the Arizona Nevada border. ed-mell-sweeping-cloudsI was particularly interested in Phoenix artist Ed Mell because he taught for a time on the Hopi Indian Reservation just as we did.  This piece of his is called Sweeping Clouds. 

The Phoenix Art Gallery provides a good introduction to art of the southwest. 

Other posts……..

Getting Into Art

Are You Sure They Aren’t Photographs? 

Sleeping in an Art Gallery


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Filed under Arizona, Art

Inuit Art at the Zoo

Did you know the Winnipeg Art Gallery has an Inuit sculpture installation at the Assiniboine Park Zoo?  I discovered it last week. 


Women and Children by Miriam Qiyuk

This was my favorite piece. Most of the mothers in the sculpture are smiling patiently while their kids wiggle and squirm. 

Woman Battling a Polar Bear by Jimmy Arnamissak

Woman Battling a Polar Bear by Jimmy Arnamissak

Normally land mammals like the polar bear are associated with men. Could this battle between a woman and a bear symbolize the power struggle between men and women?

Fighting Polar Bear Cubs by Iola Abraham Ikkidluak

Fighting Polar Bear Cubs by Iola Abraham Ikkidluak

Although these two cubs appear to be fighting quite playfully they are preparing themselves for adult fights to the death in the wild over food and mating rights.

Musk Ox by Lucassie Ikkidluak

Musk Ox by Lucassie Ikkidluak

The musk ox is known as ‘bearded one’ in Inuktitut. It is one of the most powerful land animals in the world and its double coat of soft wool overlaid with long hair makes it well suited for the Arctic climate.

Shaman Braiding Sedna's Hair by Abraham Anghik Ruben

Shaman Braiding Sedna’s Hair by Abraham Anghik Ruben

Sedna is the main character in a popular Inuit story about a young girl who loses her fingers. Her fingers turn into all the animals of the sea. Sedna has the power to hide those animals from hunters. If a shaman soothes her by braiding her hair she is more likely to let the hunters find the animals.

You can find the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Inuit art display in The Journey to Churchill exhibit at the Assiniboine Park Zoo.  The Winnipeg Art Gallery has the largest Inuit art collection in the world and I think it’s great that it’s being shared around the city, so even more people can see it and appreciate it. 

Other posts……..

Inuit Art Primer

The Globalization of Art

Getting to Know Oviloo

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Filed under Art, Reflections

Inspiration from School Yard Art

Hugh John McDonald School is on my street.  Its outer walls are decorated with these beautiful mosaics. 

hoop dancer hugh john mcdonald school winnipeg

To watch us dance is to hear our hearts speak. – Hopi Indian saying

musician and dancer hugh john mcdonald schoolMusic is a rainbow. – Stephen Earl

hugh john mcdonald school mural piece

Always remember that you are absolutely unique.  Just like everyone else. – Margaret Meadbasketball player hugh john mcdonald

Your limits are up there somewhere waiting for you to reach beyond infinity. – Arnold Henry former NCAA basketball player

dancers hugh john mural winnipegWe should consider everyday lost on which we have not danced at least once. – Friedrich Nietzsche 

soceer player hugh john muralLife is like soccer.  You need goals. – Author unknown

Other posts…….

The Paper Garden

The Heidelberg Project

Inspiration at The Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec



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Filed under Art, Education, Winnipeg

To Kill A Mockingbird

to kill a mockingbird 3Author Harper Lee died on Friday. I studied her classic novel To Kill A Mockingbird with the grade ten literature classes I taught at an international school in Hong Kong.  One assignment I gave my students was to create their own covers for the novel. Here is some of their work. to kill a mockingbird4

to kill a mockingbird 7

To Kill a Mockingbird cover 2

to kill a mockingbird cover 1

to kill a mockingbird 8

to kill a mockingbird 6

to kill a mockingbird 9

Other posts…….

Learning About the Chinese Cultural Revolution From Fifth Graders

What Talent! Olympus Inspired Art

Stopping By Woods- A Children’s Masterpiece

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Filed under Books, Education

I Love Art

child-at-wag-i-love-artIt was pouring rain when I had to leave for the art gallery to give a tour one day. I had a big writing project to finish at home and I really didn’t feel like walking in the rain to work.  I was pretty wet and wind blown by the time I arrived at the gallery but I mustered up a smile to meet my tour group of six to twelve-year olds from an inner city community club who were at the gallery thanks to the generosity of a donor who sponsors groups like theirs. None of the children had every been at the Winnipeg Art Gallery before. They were absolutely delightful.  They asked questions. They had good ideas.  They were enthusiastic about the activities.  After lunch we made clay pots together and then just before they left a little girl came up to give me a hug and slip the paper above into my hand. ” I didn’t think I would like art,” she confided, “but I LOVE it!”  

i love you I love my job! Even on rainy days. 

Other posts….

Extra Crispy

Sunday Afternoon at the WAG

What Talent! Olympus Inspired Art

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Filed under Art, Childhood, Education, Winnipeg, winnipeg art gallery