Tag Archives: winnipeg art gallery

Oh What Fun!

During the holidays the Winnipeg Art Gallery ran one day camp experiences for children.  I was lucky enough to be in charge of giving the kids tours of the galleries on a couple of days.  Oh what fun!

Toppakou by Takashi Iwasaki 2015

Inspired by the work of Takashi Iwasaki in The Behind Closed Doors exhibitwe made our own abstract creations out of felt shapes.  Inspired by the elegant pottery of Robert Archambeau we made some pottery of our own.  

vista de instalacao by Robert Taite -2018

Inspired by Robert Taite’s installation the children created a maze like piece of art with wooden blocks and then walked through it.  

Clouds, Lake Superior- by Lawren Harris 1923

Inspired by works from the Group of Seven hanging on the wall in the Salon exhibit we  looked carefully at lots of works by the Group of Seven and tried to organize them into seasonal categories.

Beautiful Young Mummer in Margaret Feltham’s House by David Blackwood 1985

 Inspired by the beautiful prints of Newfoundland mummers by David Blackwood we played a hide and seek kind of game by dressing up as mummers ourselves.

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Indians from A-Z by Robert Houle 1985

Inspired by a Robert Houle installation in the 80s Image exhibit the children organized names of First Nations alphabetically and we talked about some of the unique characteristics of the various groups. 

Near the Close of A Stormy Day by Homer Watson 1884

Inspired by a painting done by Homer Watson we created a storm of our own using musical instruments. 

Marion Tuuluq in a jacket she designed

Inspired by the beautiful wall hangings of Marion Tuu’luq the children drew images of their own. 

Lake Trout by Marion Tuuluq -1973

Untitled wall hanging by Marion Tuuluq 1985

Thirty Faces by Marion Tuuluq 1974

Oh what fun we had with children at the Winnipeg Art Gallery during the holiday season!

Other posts………

What Talent!

Imitating Emily

Oh To Be A Kid at the Fringe Festival

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Mummering With A Great Canadian Artist

The Mummers Song written by Bud Davidge and illustrated by Ian Wallace

I learned about mummering from this children’s book which I shared with my class every year when I was an elementary school teacher.  It told the story of Newfoundland folks dressing up in disguise during the Christmas holidays and going to the homes of friends and family.

Illustration by Ian Wallace from The Mummers’ Song

Once the identity of the costumed guests had been ascertained they were invited to stay a while to sing and dance and eat and visit. The mummers disguised themselves with what was on hand at home, often stuffing their pants with pillows, wearing big hats and putting lace curtains or table cloths over their faces. 

Lone Mummer with Cat by David Blackwood 1987

A new exhibit at the Winnipeg Art Gallery featuring Newfoundland artist David Blackwood includes several beautiful prints of mummers. Mummering is thought to be an ancient tradition from England or Ireland.  In the late 1800s it was actually banned and made illegal in Newfoundland because of the drunkenness and violence that was often associated with the custom.

In the 1980s mummering started making a comeback when two Newfoundland singers Bud Davidge and Sim Savory recorded a song about mummering that became popular.  Perhaps David Blackwoods’ etchings of mummers created in the 1980s also helped to revive the custom. In 2009 the city of St. John’s began an annual December Mummers Parade that still draws hundreds of costumed Newfoundlanders into the streets for a celebration.

Beautiful Young Mummer in Margaret Feltham’s House by David Blackwood 1985

In an article called At Home and Away Dr. Diane Tye a professor in the Department of Folklore at Memorial University in St. John’s Newfoundland remarks on the haunting quality in David Blackwood’s mummer prints. His mummers look a bit like ghosts behind lace veils.

The Great Mummer by David Blackwood 1989

In a 2003 interview David Blackwood recalls going mummering himself when he was only five and at that age the disguised faces of the people around him did seem eerie and mysterious, particularly in the moonlight.  He says that mummers sometimes apologized for wrongs they had done when they visited or they might even deliver a marriage proposal.

Pound Cove Mummers Crossing Coal Harbour Pond by David Blackwood 1985

Dr. Tye says you can feel the cold of the Newfoundland winter nights in Blackwood’s prints. In many the mummers are solitary figures and if they are with others there appears to be no communication between them. Blackwood’s mummers are dark and mysterious. 

Mummering has become synonymous with Newfoundland as a fun folksy custom that attracts tourists and sells related souvenirs. David Blackwood’s prints offer us a slightly different view.  Check his mummers out for yourself at the Winnipeg Art Gallery this holiday season. 

Other posts……….

Finding An Old Friend

Inuit Art Isn’t Just Soapstone Carvings

Home Grown in Newfoundland

 

 

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Creating Beauty

untitled marion tuuluq 1985

Untitled wall hanging by Marion Tuuluq 1985

Her mother passed away before Marion was a year old. Her father committed suicide when she was ten. Her first husband died mysteriously. Marion had sixteen children but only four survived.

Until Marion Tuu’luq was in her early 50s she lived a nomadic life in the harsh landscape of the Back River area of Nunavut. Food was often scarce, modern medical care was not available and the natural environment was filled with inherent dangers.  Hard to believe that a woman who survived all that would create something as joyful and lovely as the beautiful wall hanging above.

photograph of Marion and her husband Luke from the

Photograph of Marion centre, husband Luke left and unidentified youth from the Expanding Inuit website

Marion moved to Baker Lake in 1961 with her second husband Luke Anguhadluq to have access to schools and medical care for their family and it was there in 1967 that Marion began to develop her artistic talents using some of the sewing skills she had learned as a child. 

marion t

Marion Tuuluq in a jacket she designed

Marion began by creating traditional style clothing with embroidered designs and then with the encouragement of art advisors Jack and Sheila Butler began doing large-scale wall hangings.  Often she planned these rich, colorful  pieces ahead of time but according to an article by Marie Bouchard called American Woman Artists of the Twentieth Century at times she simply picked up her scissors and started cutting images developing a theme as she went along.

thirty faces marion tuuluq 1974

Thirty Faces by Marion Tuuluq 1974

In 1974 the same year she made the wall hanging Thirty Faces above Marion’s work was included in an exhibit called Crafts From Arctic Canada in Ottawa and Toronto. After this Marion’s work received a great deal of attention. She became a member of the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts in 1978, and subsequently earned an honorary degree from the University of Alberta. You will find her work in galleries across Canada as well as in the National Gallery in Ottawa. 

lake trout 1973 marion tuuluq

Lake Trout by Marion Tuuluq -1973

Sadly Marion developed an allergy to wool in 1989 and that ended her creation of richly textured and appealing wall hangings.  Marion died in 2002 at age 92. 

nivinngajuliaatThe three wall hangings included in this blog post are all currently on view at the Winnipeg Art Gallery as part of the exhibit called Nivinngajuliaat which means ‘wall hanging’ in Inuktitut.  So you have a chance to see Marion’s work first hand along with other talented artists who created wall hangings in the Baker Lake community. 

Marion was 57 years old when she started her artistic career and 64 when she really started to make a name for herself in the art world.  Inspiring stuff for those of us in that age range who are still trying to discover and hone our various artistic talents. 

Other posts………

Getting to Know Oviloo

You Will Fall In Love With Her

Another Shameful Chapter in Canadian History

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And Mary You’ve Seen Hard Times

Winter Camp by Mary Yuusipik Singaqti

“I would always have to walk ahead leading the dogs. I hardly ever rode in the sled. Older children were wrapped in caribou fur to keep them warm and tied to the sled. One time when I was pregnant I was carrying my son Percy on my shoulders, packing my son Jeremy on my back and carrying my bedding.  I had a miscarriage. I lost a lot of blood and blacked out.  Percy was crying and trying to wake me up. I buried my baby.”

Hardship by Mary Yuusipik Singaqti

Those words are part of the haunting description artist Mary Yuusipik gives about what it was like in the 1950s to follow the caribou and set up winter camp in the isolated interior of the Back River area of Nunavut where Mary and her husband were raising their young family.  Times were hard, food was scarce and there was always the worry about being diagnosed with tuberculosis and being sent away from your family.  

Artist Mary Yuusipik creating an artwork outside her home

During this Christmas season as I hear stories about the biblical Mary forced to travel to Bethlehem while she was pregnant, and then forced to flee to Egypt with her young son, I  keep thinking about another Mary, Mary Yuusipik up in Nunavut  facing even greater hardships as she was forced to travel with her young children from camp to camp in such harsh conditions.  It reminded me of a song from a popular Christmas carol …. “and Mary you’ve seen hard times and all that you’ve been through”…

Photo of Mary and a grandchild by Fred Ford from the My WAG magazine

The Mary Yuusipik exhibit is currently on display at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.  Not only is Mary’s artwork special but all the drawings are accompanied by personal  stories Mary shared  with the gallery’s Inuit art curator Darlene Wight. The show will run through the Christmas season. It’s a must see. 

Other posts………

Butterflies in Nunavut? 

Crossing Seal River

 

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Butterflies in Nunavut?

Chasing Butterflies by Mary Yuusipik Singaqti

I was preparing to give a tour of the Mary Yuusipik exhibit that just opened at the Winnipeg Art Gallery.  The exhibit includes twenty-six drawings that show what artist Mary Yuusipik’s life was like growing up in the 1940s and 1950s in the interior Back River area of Nunavut. I was reading about each of Mary’s drawings and studying them and when I came to this one called Chasing Butterflies I said to myself, “Butterflies in Nunavut? Wouldn’t it be way too cold for butterflies there?” Turns out according to this beautiful and interesting book by Carolyn Mallory The Common Insects of Nunavut there are eight kinds of butterflies and moths in Nunavut  including the Brush Footed Butterfly, the Gossamer Winged Butterfly and the White and Sulphur Butterfly. 

Brush Footed Butterfly- photo by Carolyn Mallory

Carolyn includes traditional stories she heard from people about the various insects in her book. Several older women in Baker Lake told Carolyn that if you placed a butterfly on newborn girls they would grow up to make beautiful designs on the things they sewed. 

Untitled wall hanging by Mary Yuusipik -2013

Looking at a gorgeous wall hanging like this one which is part of the current Mary Yuusipik exhibit  one might speculate that Mary herself may have had a butterfly alight on her as a newborn. 

Other posts……….

Stitching a Story

Cut in Stone

Transferring the Real to the Unreal

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Two Paintings- Two Stories

the death of murat

This painting was done in 1793 by artist Jacques-Louis David.  It depicts the murder of Jean Paul Marat a leader of the French Revolution. The dead man is in the bathtub because he suffered from a terrible skin condition which was soothed by soaking in water. He is holding a letter in his hand.  The last name of the artist David is inscribed on the wooden block.

In this artwork part of the current The 80s Image exhibition at the Winnipeg Art Gallery the artist David Buchan who died of AIDS in 1993 has photographed himself.  Notice the similarities between his work and that of Jacques Louis David above. Both have the name of the artist on a block, one of wood the other of marble.  Both men are dead. The one above was murdered. The one below committed suicide.  Both men are in a tub. 90% of AIDS patients suffer from skin conditions as the revolutionary Marat did. The letter in Marat’s hand above has been replaced with bank statements in Buchan’s hand below- perhaps alluding to the high cost of medication to treat AIDS.  Notice the dark humour of contrasting the word Halo which usually refers to something divine to the container of Halo shampoo.  Do you notice how the letter O in the word Halo looks like a halo? 

Halo is a fitting addition to The 80s Image exhibit because activism surrounding AIDS began in the 1980s with many different groups and organizations emerging to advocate for people with HIV in North America. They lobbied for treatment, prevention and raising awareness.

On November 13 at the Books and Brushes session at the WAG I’ll be looking at the connection between this painting and the book Tell The Wolves I’m Home.  Why not join us?  You can learn more here. 

Other posts…………

 She Hates Her Job

Aliens and the 80s

A Great Exhibit and a Great Book

 

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A Great Exhibit – A Great Book- And a Great Coincidence

The next novel in the Books and Brushes series at the Winnipeg Art Gallery is Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt.  Our book club meets on November 13 at 11:30. I am leading the session this time and the book that’s been chosen is a perfect fit with our current exhibit The 80s Image.  I have just finished Tell the Wolves I’m Home and already have lots of ideas for ways to connect it with the art on display.  

220px-Tell_The_Wolves_I'm_Home_cover_pageTell the Wolves I’m Home takes place in 1987. Fourteen year old June Elbus has just lost the person she loved most in the world her uncle Finn Weiss who was a famous artist.  Finn died of AIDS something that people don’t really want to talk about in 1987.  

Tell the Wolves I’m Home is filled with intriguing cultural connections.  The musical South Pacific plays a role, as does The Cloisters art museum in New York, the Middle Ages and its literature and art and……….. Mozart’s Requiem.  LestWeForgetPosterv2And by happy coincidence the Winnipeg Philharmonic Choir is performing Mozart’s Requiem at the St. Boniface Cathedral on November 11 just two days before the Books and Brushes session on November 13. You can learn more about that performance here. 

AIDS by the art collective General Idea- 1988

So you can go and hear the requiem and then come to the WAG to see pieces in our 80s Images exhibit and talk about the role the art as well as Mozart’s music played in Tell the Wolves I’m Home.

You can register for Books and Brushes here.   Our Books and Brushes program at the Winnipeg Art Gallery is a joint venture with McNally Robinson.  You can buy the book at their Grant Park Store.  Hope to see you on November 13. 

 

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