Friday, January 22, 2010

Haitian Art

In the wake of the tragic news of the Haitian Earthquake, it's hard to find any hopeful stories about Haiti. It's the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, but as an article by Nicholas Kristof pointed out yesterday, the problem with Haiti is not its people, but corruption, a crippling debt load and a disastrous ecological situation (among other things). The promise of what Haiti could become is found in its art, which is colourful and lively. Haiti has a rich art history, but is best known its vibrant voudou flags. Unfortunately, because of the difficult situation in Haiti, the art is not widely known.

The image above is by Fernand Pierre. Pierre died in 2002, but his art remains popular with collectors.

Born in Carrefour near Port-au-Prince on July 1, 1919, Pierre was a wood carver (carving small decorative animals) and engraver, before turning to painting at the Centre d' Art in 1948. In 1951 he completed a mural - "La Visitation" - at the Cathedrale Ste. Trinite de Port-au-Prince. In the early 1970's he left Haiti to join his family abroad, and did not return until 20 years later. His works often feature the old-style Gingerbread houses one can still see in Haiti today, as well as jungles and imaginary flowering trees laden with fruits. Pierre's work has been widely exhibited throughout the entire world.

The painting below is by an artist named Monestime Astrel - I just love it. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any biographical information about the artist. If anyone has any additional information about him, please leave a comment!

Image and artist bio courtesy the Gallery of West Indian Art. For more information, visit their website.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Degas, Francisco Goya and Karsh at the Art Gallery of Alberta

The Art Gallery of Alberta has a number of fabulous exhibits set to coincide with the opening of the new gallery space.

The first, Edgar Degas: Figures in Motion, includes 40 of the artist's bronze works, together with a number of his paintings, drawings and prints.

Spanish artist Francisco Goya's works, Los Caprichos (1799) and The Disasters of War (1810-1820), will also be on tour at the gallery. Los Caprichos examines themes associated with the Spanish Inquisition, while The Disasters of War looks at the Peninsular War. These series are considered among the most influential graphic works in Western art.

Finally, the photographic work of Yousuf Karsh will be on display. Karsh created many of the most iconic portraits of the 20th century (he photographed 51 of the 100 most notable people of the century). His portrait of Winston Churchill is said to be the most reproduced photographic image of all time. The exhibit will feature portraits, studio and darkroom artifacts and archival material, together with records held by the Library and Archives Canada and artifacts from Karsh's studio held by the Canada Science and Technology Museum.

All three exhibits promise to be extremely exciting - I can hardly wait to see them!!

All of the exhibits mentioned will be on display at the Art Gallery of Alberta from January 31 to May 30, 2010. Images courtesy Wikimedia. Catalogue information on the exhibits courtesy the Art Gallery of Alberta.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Grand Opening of the Art Gallery of Alberta

Happy New Year, everyone! As a resident of Edmonton, Alberta, I've been anxiously awaiting the opening of the new Art Gallery of Alberta for some time now. For the past several years, construction has been underway on the new gallery, which will house the AGA's collection of more than 7,000 artworks. The new building is located in Sir Winston Churchill Square in the heart of Edmonton’s Arts District, and has twice the gallery and educational space of the former gallery.


The new gallery (pictured above) opens to the public on January 31, 2010. A limited quantity of free tickets to the Grand Opening celebrations will be available on the AGA website beginning Monday, January 18, 2010 at noon. AGA Members will receive advanced access to the tickets starting today at noon.

Photo courtesy Art Gallery of Alberta. For tickets and more information on the upcoming opening, please visit the AGA website.