Saturday, May 30, 2015

Marina Abramović

Marina Abramović - Manfred Werner Photo

"Follow your intuition. Have courage. Do what you imagine. And always be completely present in the moment." 
                                                                               - Marina Abramović

I have never written, no, not one single blog post about Marina Abramović.  She has been referred to as the grandmother of performance art. After seeing parts of this video in the past, but never this particular one below until today, I wondered why. When I first encountered her work, I wasn't sure what to think.

The performance art she created, nor her personality, never struck me as approachable, it was disturbing, and I thought was bordering on personal psycho therapy she was working through, in a very public way. Perhaps this is what most artists are attempting, in varying degrees anyway, whether they are aware of it or not.

Marina Abramović  years later, now impresses me as a very wise, highly intelligent, and intense individual, with a powerful, strong personality. After seeing a few of her videos and hearing an extensive interview she gave, where she talked very openly and directly about her life, I began to get a very distinct impression of a complex, earnest, courageous woman, dedicated to art and creativity.

She'd been greatly effected by a troubled childhood, with an extremely controlling  mother. This I believe, is what formed the foundation of her work as a performance artist. I have to say I am moved by her as a beautiful soulful woman, and I have great admiration for her intellect, strength and especially for her courage.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Howard Saper - Another Muzzled Civil Servant

Does prison hurt or help?  I'm part of the business that believes that what is done, should be helpful. - Howard Sapers

Today I am thanking God for CBC Radio the one publicly funded institution that hasn't been gagged by Steven Harper and his political cronies. Perhaps I should qualify that with a 'not yet'. I don't normally get off on a tangent about political matters directly, as primarily my blog posts involve some kind of creative perspective.

That said, I believe that the personal is political, and I feel the need to express my personal outrage in regards to the recent loss of Howard Saper who has been the long standing advocate, ombudsman and correctional investigator of Canada's prison system, especially in pursuing the investigation concerning federal corrections such as mental health and corrections, preventing deaths in custody, and the special needs of Aboriginal offenders, aging offenders and federally sentenced women.

I do take Howard Saper's departure personally, and as an artist I do feel an obligation to speak out. I have worked for many years and volunteered in correctional field, with troubles kids, young offenders and adults. I was also married to a First Nations man. I saw first handed, the unaddressed systemic problems, and the overwhelming warehousing in a primarily punitive, as opposed to a therapeutic system. Howard Sapher is spot on in his criticisms in the face of a government that does not care.

The fact that  Howard Saper is 'moving on' not by choice, in my opinion, but is just another example of the present government's heavy handed reactions, toward those who are considered threatening to Harper's iron fist control, and Harper's " tough on crime ", self-righteousness, and is only another attempt to muzzle watch dogs of truth and justice, in favour of whatever is expedient to his own big business, economic agenda, and to hell with people, the marginalized within our society, the honouring of First Nations Treatises,  and not to mention Canada's appalling, and grievous record for the lack of care and concern for the environment.

I can only conclude in saying, am a proud Canadian, ashamed of my government.

"The Outside Circle" by Patti LaBoucane-Benson, illustrated by Kelly Mellings, tells the story of Aboriginal gang life and the colonial trauma that underpins it. (Kelly Mellings ⓒ 2015 by Native Counselling Services of Alberta, House of Anansi)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

"When Beauty Falls In Our Hands" - Patrick Lane

I have been full of thoughts about the beauty and having so many hummingbirds visit in my yard this Spring is a joyful sight. I've also been thinking about Dante's Divine Comedy, and poetry. It might sound like a strange combination, but it all makes sense to me today, and this big hairy ball of thought is what prompted me to write this post. The beauty of synchronicity or whatever you call it, can be life changing, regardless if we experience it as being positive or negative.

I never read Dante's Divine Comedy, but recently via the CBC Radio program Ideas, the featured poet Dante reading parts of his epic poem with commentary from Dante scholars. It was interesting to listen to but it did not exactly inspire me to read Dante, but I am interested in the fact that the poem is about the journey toward God. I am also interested in learning more about the man. The epic poem is a little pretty heady for me and I can't necessarily say I want to read it.

On the other hand learning about this poet, Patrick Lane today, I am very enthusiastic about, because he shared a story that not only inspired me to read more of his poetry,  but I was very motivated to learn more about the man and the poet. I was immediately impressed upon hearing the story he shared about a rare butterfly that landed on his hand in the middle of the Winter that changed his life. Here is his beautiful story, about beauty.

"Back in early December of 1958, I was 19 years old, living with my wife and baby boy in a two-room apple picker’s shack a few miles down the road from here. I had a job driving dump truck for a two-bit outfit that was working on a short stretch of highway just down the hill from where this university was built so many years later. I remember leaving the shack and walking out to stand by the highway in the wind and snow. I stood there shivering in my canvas coat as I waited to be picked up by the grader operator in his rusted pickup truck. The sky was hard and grey. Its only gift that winter day was ice disguised as a fragile, bitter snow.

As I stood there in the false dawn, I looked up for a moment and as I did an iridescent blue butterfly the size of my palm fluttered down and rested on the sleeve of my coat just above my wrist. It was winter, it was cold and I knew the Okanagan Valley where I had lived most of my young life did not harbour huge, shiny blue butterflies, not even in summer. I remember stripping off my gloves and cupping the insect in my hands, lifting that exquisite creature to the warmth of my mouth in the hope I could save it from the cold. I breathed upon the butterfly with the helplessness we all have when we are faced with an impossible and inevitable death, be it a quail or crow, gopher, hawk, child or dog. I cupped that delicate butterfly in the hollow of my hands and ran back to the picker’s shack in the hope that somehow the warmth from the morning fire in the woodstove might save it, but when I reached the door and opened my hands, the butterfly died.

I do not know what strange Santa Anna, Squamish or Sirocco jet-stream wind blew that sapphire butterfly from far off Mexico, Congo or the Philippines to this valley. I only know the butterfly found its last moments in my hands. I have never forgotten it and know the encounter changed me. There are mornings in our lives when beauty falls into our hands and when that happens, we must do what we can to nurture and protect it. That we sometimes fail must never preclude our striving. The day the beautiful creature died in my hands, I looked up into the dome of the hard, cold sky and I swore to whatever great spirit resided there in the dark clouds that I would live my life to the full and, above all, I would treasure beauty. I swore, too, that I’d believe in honesty, faithfulness, love and truth. The words I spoke were the huge abstractions the young sometimes use, but I promised them to myself and, now, more than half a century later, I stand here in front of your young minds, your creative spirits, your beautiful lives, and I can tell you that I have tried.

I told myself that year and in the subsequent years in the sawmill crews and construction gangs I worked with that I would become a writer, a poet, a man who would create an imagined world out of the world I lived in, that I would witness my life and the lives of others with words. The years went by filled with the tragedies and losses that all our lives are filled with. My brother’s early death, my father’s murder, my divorce and the loss of my children did not change the promises I made. There were times I lived a dissolute, irresponsible and destructive life. There were times, too, when I was depressed and wretched, but I continued to believe in spite of my weaknesses and fears. I wandered the world and as I did I wrote of the lives that shared my times. And I wrote of this Okanagan Valley, its lakes and hills, its stones, cacti, cutthroat trout, magpies, rattlesnakes and, yes, its butterflies.
What I have told you is a story. It arose from my life for where else but from a life can a story come? What I promise each of you is that there will come a day or night, a morning or evening when something as rare and fine as a blue sapphire butterfly will fall into your hands from a cold sky, a fearful child will climb into your bed and cleave to you, a woman or man will weep, will laugh, will sleep with you in the sure belief that the one they abide with is governed by a good and honest love. No matter the degrees you have earned and the knowledge you have accumulated, remember to believe in yourselves, to believe in each other. In a world as fearful as our present one, I ask that you not be afraid. Today is merely an hour. Remember in the time ahead of you to hold out your hands so that beauty may fall safely into them and find a place – however briefly – to rest."

                                - Patrick Lane

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Art For A Change - Mark Vallen

Mark Vallen

Art for art sake is fine, but not nearly enough for me. But art for a change in the world, that's what really interests and impresses me. Art that is not obscure in meaning, directly speaks to the viewer this is art that interests me..

I can't remember when I first started following Mark Vallen's blog, Art For A Change, and don't recall how I even found out about it, but I know I was searching for artist's who's art reflected their own social conscience, eliciting change in the world for the better. He's had a very interesting life, and I greatly admire his talent, his intellect, and his heart. Mark Vallen's  own work is full of contemporary concerns, and his blog covers many contemporary social issues, detailed in his biography.

I admit I don't read every blog post that I subscribe to, unless there is something that really stands out. Today was one of those days where I saw in my blog list, May Day With Diego and Frida  about Mark's visit to the Detroit Institute of Arts exhibition of works by Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo. It was a riveting post, and I love his review of the work. I confess I have always been very partial to Frida Kahlo's art as I admire her greatly as a person and an artist. That said I certainly appreciate Diego Rivera's powerful and poignant murals.

Monday, May 18, 2015

“The blues was bleeding the same blood as me.” - B. B. King

I listened to Saturday Night Blues on CBC with Holger Peterson May 16th 2015. Holger featured a wonderful interview he did with B.B. King in 2005, in the back of B.B.'s bus while he was touring Canada.

 Holger described B.B. King as always being a very personable, gracious and generous man. I wanted to share this great one on one conversation Holger had with The King of the Blues, where B.B. plays D.J.
 I think this interview gives real insight to the kind of man he was, as a legendary musician, and why he is so loved.

I so admire B.B. King's outlook on life. His love of learning, history, spirituality and having such a youthful heart and mind I think are some of the reasons he had such a full and remarkable well lived life, that set a real example to others. Age was never a barrier to him, and never held him back. He was still touring at 80 years of age and still flying an airplane at 70.

"The blues was like that problem child that you may have had in the family. You was a little bit ashamed to let anybody see him, but you loved him. You just didn't know how other people would take it."
                                                       - B.B. King

Friday, May 15, 2015

B.B. King - The Life of Riley

The Life of Riley
                                                     (September 16, 1925 – May 14, 2015)

I was saddened to learn of B.B. King's death today, and I thought about all the the years he'd been on this earth, his remarkable life, and great influence and contribution to the Blues and how long I've been listening to his music. I am so grateful my brother really got me interested in the Blues. He really loved B.B. and all that he represented; ideals like honesty, purity, unselfishness and love.

I've heard B.B. King described as being the King of Blues, a fine gentleman, full of grace. He always impressed me as a very humble man, and the truest of the truest Blues man, who was completely himself.

" We all have idols. Play like anyone you care about, but try to be yourself." 
                                                                                    - B.B. King

Rest In Peace B.B.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Why Make Art?

I remember sitting with one of my advisors at University and I had expressed experiencing a feeling of vapidity about making my art. I felt being an artist had no purpose, and was almost irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. I wanted to be certain my work was important, that it was going to add to the world, making it a better place. My advisor immediately understood what I was getting at, and completely empathized. We discussed this at length, and our exchange helped me simply to address my feelings openly. It helped to clarify things and to realize that most of us have moments like this, where we question our art in relation to having a higher purpose, and the reason for making art within the world.

Hearing this, some might say in response, well if you feel this way, why don't your find something that will give you a deeper sense of purpose. The fact is I rarely feel my art is purposeless, nor about being an artist. For that matter, I know I can't help being an artist, or living life creatively. I wouldn't have it any other way. Being an artist has become my vocation.

Evey artist reaches a point in their life when they feel this vapidity about their art and being an artist. Perhaps the reasons many artist do feel purposeless is related to the way we are valued of not valued in society. Art is not considered a necessity like doctors, lawyers, mechanics etc. Only when artists reach a certain elite level within the 'art world ' do they get recognition and are the given a status, or, after the have left this mortal coil. It is a sad state of affairs. Art and artists are absolutely necessary, and contribute greatly to the world in countless ways, personally, professionally and economically.

It may seem to some artists to be a rhetorical question, why make art, because we know very well the essential reasons we are artists. Often though, we are not really good at clarifying this. I think it is so important the as artists we know how convey this in a discourse, so we can change and even enlighten those would just don't understand art or artist's or why it is so vital to life.

Today I found a great blog post by Alyson Stanfield who has addressed this issue of an artist's purpose and the value of art.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

To Journal or Not to Journal?

Having so many journals, now numbering in the fourties, that I have been writing for over thirty years, I am faced ever now and then, with a question. What the heck am I going to do with these? For a long time I thought about compiling all of them into a book of sorts, not necessarily for others, but maybe. I did attempt to edit each one but the task was just too daunting, and frankly mostly painful to read, as much of the writing was day to day, stream of consciousness, mundane gobbledygook. However, keeping journals gives you a kind of immortality. I have no children to pass them onto, but who knows, perhaps the world might be interested one day! Laugh out loud!

At some point, hopefully sooner than later, I am going to maybe have some kind of ceremony, or perhaps just throw them out with the trash to unburden myself from years of all these thoughts on paper, collecting dust. I am not so sure what the point of hanging on to them would be. In spite of this, my emotional reaction is, the thought of getting rid of them, is rather like letting go of a big part of myself, kind of like a death. This is an extreme thought I know. These journals are simply my thoughts, not my life. I have internalized all of these journals and so disposing of them doesn't necessarily make them gone.

It has been documented, researched and studied, how journaling can enrich our lives, help us to make sense of our inner world, figure things out, and just provide a cheap form of therapy.

I am not sure if one can know just how journaling can change and improve your life, if one has never  practiced this daily discipline, over a lengthy period of time. I can attest, journaling certainly changed mine. I was able to fulfill many life long dreams, work through much grief and change, decrease my many character defects, and greatly improve upon my strengths and capacities.

I especially got really serious about journaling in 1994, after reading Julia Cameron's book The Artist Way, which was recommended to me by an Art Therapist. My journaling increased my creativity as an artist, and became an essential part of my creative process, and continues to be to this day.

Journaling lead me to start this blog in 2008, and to my interest in Tarot reading and my second blog, Apple River Tarot Readings. Journaling also resulted in fulfilling my life long dream of learning how to ride horses. At the age of 40 I enrolled in an Equestrian Coaching Preparation program for almost two years, living on a working horse farm.  Sixteen years later I returned to University to finish my Bachelor of Fine Arts at the age of 56, graduating in 2012. I definitely attribute both these accomplishments to regular journaling.

I understand, not every one has an interest in writing, and I think this is probably what determines why an individual would or would not keep a journal. However many well known successful individuals, writers, artists, musicians, poets and presidents through out history kept journals. Journaling dates back to the 10th century.

As a young girl like many others girls my age, I kept a dairy. You know the ones, with flowers on the cover, and the little key, to ensure no prying eyes would ever read your inner most thoughts about the boy you had a big crush on, or how you'd written swear words about your stupid brother etc. My interest in writing started at a young age, and into my teens I would write poetry and essays, but it wasn't until I became a young adult, that I was even more drawn to writing, and in particular, journaling.

Blogging is certainly a great form of journaling, minus all the mundane goobledygook, and the naughty bits. But virtual online writing will never replace the hard copy, with a putting a good writing pen to paper, into a beautiful new journal. I get excited just thinking about it! I hope I will never stop journaling!

Here is a list of how journaling can help you, and some links to explore further, the benefits of keeping a regular daily journal.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Ashley Gilbertson - Photographs of Absence

On May 5th 2015, marked  70 Years since the Liberation of The Netherlands from Nazi occupation.  Thinking about this fact, and finding out about photographer Ashley Gilbertson was just coincidental, but I thought it timely, especially considering we as a country and nation are still very much involved with war.

I am not a pacifist, but I also never imagined myself ever saying I think a lot about war, but the fact is, I do. How this happened was a culmination of events, like growing up during the sixties, or being what I call an old fringe hippie I suppose. I wasn't quite old enough to be a full fledged Hippie, but I certainly wanted peace like every young person then.

When I looked deeper into the sociology-psychological and economic factors at the root effects and affects of war, I became acutely aware of why it is important for me as an artist, to educate myself about war. I believe none of us can truly understand the abomination of war, and how normalized it becomes. If we have not experienced it ourselves, the way war correspondents do, and those soldiers who are on the front lines, we can not begin to really comprehend war. Tragically it is true I think, that we will never see the end of war, not even the pacifists believe this to be true.

Finding artists who use their art as tool for peace or hopefully a prevention of so much war, gives me a sense of hope. Living in this world so full of violence, artists can provide an educational alternative to war or at least the promotion of peace through creativity.

Communication today is often defined as being done via the cell phone, and the internet. Creativity for me is the essential form of communication, that more often than not, takes place face to face, regardless of the medium. Communication is about 80 percent listening to what is being said, engaging in a kind of inner dialogue, that desires more to understand, rather than to be understood.

Photography it has been said, is either a window or a mirror. The photographer John Szarkawski once posed the question about what photography is.  

" Is it a mirror, reflecting a portrait of the artist who made it, or a window, through which one might better know the world? " Personally I think it can be either one or both simultaneously.

I think photographer Ashley Gilbertson communicates through his photographs and books having a similar message as the war correspondent Chris Hedges , who also expresses in many of his books about War, it's far reaching affect abroad, and at home.

Hedges states, " Violence has become the primary form of communication".  He also sees war as being the same as drug addiction. In my opinion, both of these individuals are preoccupied with war, and both reflect, and very powerfully convey, the definition of the insanity of war, in that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.

In Ashley Gilderson's new book Bedrooms of the Fallen  he provides us with an intimate glimpse through the window of his photographs, that enables us to better understand the world and the artist.

" The War on Terror has become the War of Terror "

                       - Ashley Gilbertson

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

"Because Who Is Perfect?"

I have posted this video before in the past. I came across it again this afternoon and thought it was worth posting again, because it is a topic I feel deeply about, being close to my heart and resonates with me today as a result of the way I'm feeling, a little 'disabled', not 'normal' and very imperfect. However, I think I am neither, and both simultaneously. It is all matter of personal perception.

 Language can be a constructive powerful tool or a destructive weapon. It can be misconstrued and misinterpreted, depending on deportment, tone and intent.  Both our ears and eyes can deceive us easily. We judge, and think what we see and hear, is truth or falsehood. What we see isn't always what we get. What we think we've heard, isn't always what is being said. Add to this, our contemporary society's preoccupation with political correctness to complicate matters in the way we convey language, in all it's meaning, and in all that all that it implies.

There has been some interesting thought provoking discussion about this particular video and about other film shorts produced by Pro Infirmis, an organization for the 'disabled'. Let me say, I really dislike the word disability, because it is often reserved for those of us who are 'disabled' who are labeled as some how being outside the definition of what is so called 'normal'; another word I really dislike. We all are 'disabled' in one way or another, and I question, just what is 'normal'. I am of the opinion that imperfection and diversity is what is normal.
I find it curious that the description I have posted of the video from Youtube below, starts by referring to the mannequins as being 'disabled'

" Disabled mannequins will be eliciting astonished looks from passers-by on Zurich's Bahnhofstrasse today. Between the perfect mannequins, there will be figures with scoliosis or brittle bone disease modelling the latest fashions. One will have shortened limbs; the other a malformed spine. The campaign has been devised for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities by Pro Infirmis, an organization for the disabled. Entitled "Because who is perfect? Get closer.", it is designed to provoke reflection on the acceptance of people with disabilities. Director Alain Gsponer has captured the campaign as a short film.
The figures are life-sized, three-dimensional representations of Miss Handicap 2010, Jasmin Rechsteiner, radio presenter and film critic Alex Oberholzer, track and field athlete Urs Kolly, blogger Nadja Schmid and actor Erwin Aljukic.
"We often go chasing after ideals instead of accepting life in all its diversity. Pro Infirmis strives especially for the acceptance of disability and the inclusion of people with disabilities," says Mark Zumbühl, a member of the Pro Infirmis Executive Board, in describing the campaign. "


See our former TV-Spots under:

Gianni Blumer:

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Ivan Blades - Artist - Adventurer - Focused In The Moment

Ivan Blades - Artist - Adventurer

I have a friend I've never met face to face, but I know in my heart of hearts he is a good, kind, very intelligent, courageous, creative, and a talented human being. I am of the opinion that to be this kind of person it takes the heart of an adventurer, who has a vision quest to become a better human being.

The only way I think an individual walks this road, is to be willing to take risks in order to grow,  increasing  confidence, and then becoming ready to embark upon adventure.

I greatly admire people like my friend Ivan, who have a deep desire to push the limits of personal growth, in pursuit of the adventures in life, that result in transformation. It truly is a beautiful thing.

Ivan is presently in Spain walking the road  "The Camino de Santiago, also known by the English names Way of St. James, St. James's Way, St. James's Path, St. James's Trail, Route of Santiago de Compostela, and Road to Santiago, is the name of any of the pilgrimage routes (most commonly the Camino Francés or French route) to the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northwestern Spain, where tradition has it that the remains of the saint are buried. Many take up this route as a form of spiritual path or retreat, for their spiritual growth."

I know his feet are very sore and tired. I wish him God speed, healed feet, and safe journey, one step at a time, one moment at a time.

" Staying focused and in the moment takes courage and practice. "
                                                                    -Ivan Blades

The Adventurous personality style according to Dr. John M. Oldham
  1. Nonconformity. Men and women who have the Adventurous personality style live by their own internal code of values. They are not strongly influenced by other people or by the norms of society.

  2. Challenge. To live is to dare. Adventurers love the thrill of risk and routinely engage in high-risk activities.

  3. Mutual independence. They do not worry too much about others, for they expect each human being to be responsible for him- or herself.

  4. Persuasiveness. They are silver-tongued, gifted in the gentle art of winning friends and influencing people.

  5. Wanderlust. They love to keep moving. They settle down only to have the urge to pick up and go, explore, move out, move on. They do not worry about finding work, and live well by their talents, skills, ingenuity, and wits.

  6. Wild oats. In their childhood and adolescence, people with the Adventurous personality style were usually high-spirited hell-raisers and mischief makers.

  7. True grit. They are courageous, physically bold, and tough. They will stand up to anyone who dares to take advantage of them.

  8. No regrets. Adventurers live in the present. They do not feel guilty about the past or anxious about the future. Life is meant to be experienced now.

O You Who've Gone On Pilgrimage
O you who've gone on pilgrimage -
              where are you, where, oh where?
Here, here is the Beloved!
              Oh come now, come, oh come!
Your friend, he is your neighbor,
             he is next to your wall -
You, erring in the desert -
              what air of love is this?
If you'd see the Beloved's
              form without any form -
You are the house, the master,
              You are the Kaaba, you! . . .
Where is a bunch of roses,
              if you would be this garden?
Where, one soul's pearly essence
              when you're the Sea of God?
That's true - and yet your troubles
              may turn to treasures rich -
How sad that you yourself veil
              the treasure that is yours!

Oh, if a tree could wander
     and move with foot and wings!
It would not suffer the axe blows
     and not the pain of saws!
For would the sun not wander
     away in every night ?
How could at every morning
     the world be lighted up?
And if the ocean's water
     would not rise to the sky,
How would the plants be quickened
     by streams and gentle rain?
The drop that left its homeland,
     the sea, and then returned ?
It found an oyster waiting
     and grew into a pearl.
Did Yusaf not leave his father,
     in grief and tears and despair?
Did he not, by such a journey,
     gain kingdom and fortune wide?
Did not the Prophet travel
     to far Medina, friend?
And there he found a new kingdom
     and ruled a hundred lands.
You lack a foot to travel?
     Then journey into yourself!
And like a mine of rubies
     receive the sunbeams? print!
Out of yourself ? such a journey
     will lead you to your self,
It leads to transformation
     of dust into pure gold!
                      Rumi - " I Am Wind You Are Fire "

Monday, May 4, 2015

George F. Walker - Anger - Creativity - Despair - Humour

Martha Burns and Peter Donaldson - And So It Goes

It always quite amazes me how as Canadians we know little about ourselves, particularly when it comes to art and culture. I don't really get it, and frankly it's a little embarrassing and pisses me off. I think we are so inundated and overwhelmed with American culture, and our historical colonial mentality, that more often than not, we have missed out on learning about our own artists and culture in the process.

Admittedly, I have confess to my own lack of knowledge about Canadian artists and culture. However today, I learned about the most prolific Canadian play write, Toronto born, George F. Walker. It's a good thing I listen to CBC Radio, otherwise I'd probably never have known about him directly.

I very much enjoyed the great interview Shad did with him on CBC Radio Q this morning. My ears really perked up when George F. Walker spoke of his play about teachers, and the relationship between creativity and anger. What especially interested me, was when he humbly mentioned getting an award from the Canadian Schizophrenia Society. He did not mention that he also along with commendations from the Law Society, and Elizabeth Fry Society, for the topic of mental health in the Television series Wonderland. This program was about those in trouble with the law and took place in a mental health court.

I am particularly interested in his play And How It Goes about a middle class family coping with mental illness.

Learning that George F. Walker grew up in the east end of Toronto made me nostalgic, with memories of spending my first nine years of life in east end Toronto, and returning later in my young adult life for a few years to study theatre.

I remember seeing the Factory Theatre, as it was just around the corner from where I was living in 1979-1980, and I wondered just what was going on in there. At the time I was preoccupied with school, and others things as young 26 year old. I had no idea what amazing things were being produced inside the Factory Theatre. Now I know, this is where George F. Walker got his start, among many other play writes. The Theatre Factory from it's inception, with founder Ken Gass, established a Canadian gem of a theatre company, dedicated to  producing  alternative and experimental, solely Canadian plays, written by Canadian play writes, exclusively. Pretty darned exciting stuff!

What I most admire about George F. Walker is how he manages to give a voice to the marginalized and disenfranchised  in society, while combining a state of anger and despair, all present within our culture, filled with moral dilemmas, injected with his comedic sensibility and perspective. Without humour in the face of anger and despair, most of us would surely loose our minds completely.

I haven't any reasons to want to live in Toronto these days, but considering George F. Walker's plays and Toronto's rich theatrical life, causes me to wish I did have more reasons to move back, back to the east end. 

George Walker has received several awards including the Member of the Order of Canada (2005); National Theatre School Gascon-Thomas Award (2002); two Governor General’s Literary Awards for Drama (for Criminals in Love and Nothing Sacred); five Dora Mavor Moore Awards; and eight Chalmers Canadian Play Awards.

 All of these awards that George F. Walker has received, speaks volumes about the philosophical and intense impact of his plays that resonates with his audience over the past 40 years.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Christiana Myers-New Brunswick Artist

While attending Mount Allison University to complete my Bachelor of Fine Art Degree, I met several very intelligent, creative young women, with whom I had some very engaging conversations. One such young women was class mate, Class of 2012, Christiana Myers, no relation that we know of, but it was neat we both shared a last name.

My initial impression of her, was that she was a thinker, had a great sense of humour, committed to creativity and to being an artist. I think you'll agree she's a bright, personal, and as talented she looks.

I love to share information, particularly regarding women artists, and it is my pleasure to be able post an article from another blog written by Marie-Hélène Marmen Morell who interviewed Christiana.
Here is the post link to Marie-Hélène Marmen Morell's blog about Christiana Myers
Marie-Hélène Marmen Morell
Marie-Hélène Marmen Morell
Marie-Hélène Marmen Morell
Marie-Hélène Marmen Morell