Just back from an amazing, life-and-practice affirming few days on Lethbridge at IAST 2018. More on that later, when I aim more grounded and in a better space.
Being immersed in such a creative and positive environment made the return to ‘the news of the day’ perhaps more jarring & disheartening, I don’t know.
What I do know is that what is going on globally, and most certainly to the immediate south of Canada is deeply disturbing, more so by the day. And it is mirrored elsewhere in the world, including in my home province (to a lesser degree, to be sure – for now).
But I wonder increasingly about the entire notion of ‘humanity’ and ‘civil society’ in a time in which we are witness to fewer and fewer examples of both.
So, for the moment, I must sit with this reality, in order to move forward in a positive way.
I am not usually one to share ‘inspirational’ talks or pithy quotes. To be honest, most of that kind of thing leaves me flat – sorry if that seems cynical or jaded, but there’s a tendency toward the superficial ‘instafix’ in this culture that is served by this material.
However – I have also been thinking a great deal about the power of art & creativity to open doors to new ways of thinking and being. Especially pertinent to my mind, given the propensity toward tribalism and divisive language and action in the world today.
And then I came across this:
This little talk by Graham Shaw is all about breaking down patterns of thinking – about understanding better the limitations we impose upon ourselves (and others).
It is gentle and fun – and if you are in the tl;dr world – skip to the end if you must – but I do recommend the 15 minutes it takes to view the whole thing.
I will be presenting a Professional Development talk in Edmonton on March 27th 2018. This will be an all-access Webinar, so anyone interested outside of Edmonton can participate as well. Please see the details below to register.
Free for Visual Arts Alberta ~ CARFAC members, $45 to non-members. RSVP by 4pm on Friday, March 23. For more information, contact Sharon at (780) 421-1731 or email us.
If you prefer learning in the company of others, you may participate in Edmonton at the Visual Arts Alberta ~ CARFAC Project Space. 3rd Floor, 10215 112 St. Edmonton, AB.
I am preparing to fly West this afternoon, after a busy and very productive several months in various spots in Nova Scotia. A great residency with Scott Smallwood, and new work launched in Parrsboro, at Main & Station. The start of some new and exciting collaborations with Deborah Carruthers and with Susan Tooke. Time to experiment with cyanotype processes, work on video and audio projects. Time to hike, to make photographs, to think, to further the long-term process of healing my body (thank you Acupuncture and Massage Therapy!)
It feels like much more time has passed since I was last on ‘home turf’ – or rather, that the tempo and scale of time as I experience it has shifted in a fundamental way – and now I have to find my way back to something more familiar. Not quite there – and I think that’s a very good thing. VERY.
It was a good place and time to be reminded of the diverse (and often very difficult, painful) histories of any given place. How easy it is not to see that – how easy to get lost in the vast beauty of the place – any place – and look but not see. The beauty is part of those histories; it’s woven into the different scales of time inherent in that locale to be sure. Geologic time. Tidal Time. Seasonal Time. Mythic time. Colonial Time (a very slippery fish, this one). Settlement Time. Expulsion Time. Industrial Time. And on and on … but make no mistake, there’s nothing linear about this.
The ‘present’ as we fashion it in any given moment is its own rabbit hole; a crucial vantage point (and obviously the only one available in a pragmatic sense), but it’s also a very troubled and troubling place from which to assess the relative value of most things and actions and ideas … . The popular narratives that tend to overwhelm all other chatter are still those that yoke the present to doing cartwheels toward the ‘somehow-better-future’. Because, of course ‘things’ will be ‘improved.’ This is the wish, the hope, and the outcome to be willed into being, somehow.
And under it all, the land remains—a page upon which this story is “written, erased, rewritten,” as author Teju Cole put it. Only memory and history can interrupt this cycle of revision we commonly refer to as progress. And those interruptions are vital, absolutely necessary, if we are to navigate some way toward a better way of existence for ourselves (on all levels), and co-existence with all beings.
Remains to be seen how well I am able to carry these glimmers of understanding forward as I return to the familiar places and routines – but the intent (and hope) is there. Patience, process, compassion.
The CARFAC National Conference and AGM is tomorrow – Saturday, June 3rd!
It’s going to be a good weekend, and it’s exciting to know that here will be visual artists from all over the country here this weekend, discussing issues and advocacy initiatives pertinent to artists’ careers.
There’s also going to be programming Saturday Evening and Sunday afternoon – so it’s not ‘all work and no play.’
I’m looking forward very much to hearing from other parts of the country, and to reconnecting with artists I haven’t seen for far too long.
Information below – there’s still time to register and join us:
Visual Arts Alberta – CARFAC wants to help artists attend, so they are offering bursaries to help with conference costs:
Visual Arts Alberta – CARFAC is offering up to six bursaries of $200.00 each to Visual Arts Alberta – CARFAC members living outside of the Greater Edmonton area who will be attending the CARFAC National Conference in Edmonton on the weekend of June 2nd to 4th.
These bursaries are based on need.
Applicants need to write an up-to-one page letter describing why a bursary would help. Applications must be in by Thursday May 18th at 4:00pm. Send the letter to email@example.com.
They will notify the winners by Saturday, May 20th at 4:00pm.
PLEASE pass this on to any visual artists who may want to attend, but would find the costs of travel a hinderance.