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Fall 2019 Art Show: Eyes of Society  – A Regionalist Perspective

September 5 to November 30, 2019

This exhibition presents a series of new ‘perspectives’ in an on-going, cross-cultural collaboration.

The 2016 Regional art project ‘ReEncounter’, a fourteen-day kayak expedition in Gwaii Haanas, spun off a series of related endeavours inspired by the Watchmen of Haida Gwaii. The journey itself was documented in Braid Film’s 2017 short film ‘Eyes of Society’, and its basic tenets, outlined in a series of interviews, now live on in the form of a Social Commentary Award at Canada’s largest outdoor art festival, the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair.

A collage of art from the “Eyes of Society”

In 2018, the project evolved into a summer exhibition at the Robert Bateman Centre, exploring the relationship between art and traditional knowledge, and the belief ‘that nature and culture are intrinsically connected’, to quote the Coastal Guardian Watchmen. These ideas of interconnectedness and co-dependence, on all levels, are reoccurring themes in the works of this collective of realist painters from across Canada.

Born of the Age of Reason and Enlightenment, and following the spirit of the Romantic painters of the nineteenth century, Regionalism in art is an age-old tradition that embodies the highest ideals and aspirations of Western society. These ideas, paradoxically, find their origins in direct observation of the natural world, and a parallel in the response by the Romantics to a newly industrialized world. Regional art, therefore, strives to understand the nature of perception and the nature of objective reality (‘culture’ itself, that is); resisting the postmodern perspective of the day. Perhaps no one (in this world) can claim to have a closer relationship to what is real than those who live closest to the earth and ocean.

Our goal here is to bring together the views of very different cultures, remember our respective histories, and find the common ground that will enable us to move forward together, successfully, into an uncertain future

Participating artists: April SGaana Jaad White, Anja Karisik, Andrew Cheddie Sookrah, Sophie Lavoie, Gary Landon and W. David Ward

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