Category: Uncategorized

Online Canadian Art Gallery Will Show Your Art No Charge

LitteraturePaintingPhotosSongsStatuesUncategorized

SEO of the Art World

The process of getting a good page rank on Google, Yahoo & man is called search engine optimization and is really beat handled by the webmaster of your gallery page. It is that persons’ job to bring traffic to your page that is looking for your particular kind of art.

The great part about having your art shown on-line is, of course, that millions of people from all over the world have access to your artwork 24/7. All you, the artist, needs to do is get their photos, biography & description uploaded to their on-line gallery and then respond to customers requests to purchase prints, info or original artwork.

Most on-line galleries will charge the artist a monthly fee of anywhere between $10 & $hundreds, but once in awhile you will find a website offering to host your art gallery page for free. In the internet world, it is a good idea to have your artwork in many different locations as well as articles written about you and your work should be submitted to well know human edited article sites.

Artists, don’t waste any more days thinking about getting your original artwork out there. Get in touch with the on-line art gallery scene. It’s easy and it’s necessary to your career as an artist.

The news is good if you are a new artist with contemporary artwork but don’t know how to go about exhibiting or showing your art to the world. It’s sometimes free and very easy to post your work to on-line art galleries and even have your own art gallery page where you are the featured artist with a biography and art listings on exhibit and for sale.

The best gallery to choose is one that has a real person administering the site every day and also one that is known for a specific genre, region of origin or artist style/medium. Right now, if you are a Canadian artist, a great gallery choice would be one that specializes in Canadian artists. When an art buyer is searching on-line for Canadian art, they will get your Canadian artist page as a search result.

We will be happy to display your artwork on http://circleofconfusion.ca, just contact us via the Contact form on our site!

The Art Gallery of Ontario

PaintingPhotosStatuesUncategorized

Toronto’s great gallery of art

The setting for the unrivaled and magnificent collection of Henry Moore sculptures dates from 1974 and was designed by the artist himself. Bronzes, plasters, and plaster maquettes are displayed in a large space with natural light entering the ceiling. The gallery’s collection of Henry Moore’s works contains several “Reclining Figures,” one of the sculptor’s favorite themes.

The European collections include many old masters, among them Brueghel the Younger, Tintoretto, Rembrandt, Frans Hals, de la Tour, and Poussin. The evolution of Canadian art can be followed, both in Quebec, with fine pictures by artists such as Joseph Legare and James Morrice, and most comprehensively of all, in English Canada, where there is a splendid selection of works by the Group of Seven and their associates.

Toronto’s great gallery of art, strong in Canadian and european art, has been enriched and extended many times since the early 20th century, when it inherited the splendid Georgian mansion, The Grange. It is at present undergoing a major expansion to house the Thomson Collection of about 2,000 works given to the gallery by Canadian millionaire and art collector, Kenneth Thomson.

Canadian Art

PaintingUncategorized

Quebec master Maurice Galbraith Cullen

No fewer than 18 record prices were achieved with the outstanding work, “The Bird Shop, St Lawrence Street” by Quebec master Maurice Galbraith Cullen, selling for a hammer price of $1,300,000, over four times the top estimate. This was a record for the artist and a trend that was repeated throughout the sale which witnessed new peaks for, among others, JEH MacDonald, Tom Thomson, Franklin Carmichael, Paul – Emile Borduas and Kathleen Morris.

The latter is one of a clutch of Canadian female artists to have gained prominence in recent years and sits comfortably alongside painters of the calibre of Emily Carr and Helen McNicoll, both of whom sold pictures for the princely sum of $299,000 including premium.

I can’t honestly say that many entries in the November sale made my heart sing, and I would certainly liked to have seen a few more examples of Canadian portraiture, but this is an underappreciated and overlooked segment of the market and one that Heffel handle very well. Bidders emerged across Canada, in addition to the US, UK, Norway and Asia, so clearly my personal take on this genre is more than countered by savvy and cultured buyers elsewhere!

It is then that, while American art is regaled every which way by the cognoscenti, Canadian art has not traditionally received the same profile or attention. Heffel Fine Art Auction House, based in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, has really started to put it on the map.

Jack Humphrey – Canadian Artist

PaintingUncategorized

Who Was Jack Humphrey?

Early year as a developing artist Born in St John, New Brunswick, 12 Jan 1901, Humphrey was a natural artist with a long desire from early childhood to become a good painter. I believe Humphrey found Hawthorne to be a good teacher as he took extra tuition at Hawthorne’s Cape Cod School of Art during the summer which spoke volumes to Humphrey’s commitment to become an excellent artist.

I came across Jack Humphrey’s work accidentally and was quite taken by his honest and rugged style. Jack Humphrey was a Canadian Artist who spent time in his early career to master the techniques of watercolour and draftsmanship.

At the end of his career Humphrey was widely recognized across Canada as one of the best painters of his time. He was a member of the Eastern Group of Painters, Contemporary Art Society, Canadian Group of Painters, Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour, Canadian Society of Graphic Arts, and International Association of Plastic Arts.

Harbour

When the depression of the 1930s hit Humphrey was forced to return to his native St John due to personal financial concerns, returning back to Canada Unfortunately. Humphrey’s concerns about the artistic isolation of his hometown where now obsolete as a trained artist he was now a fully capable painter and it was St John that brought out the inspiration and affection that Humphrey needed to create some remarkable work.

National Recognition In 1933 Humphrey travelled across Canada to many cities including Vancouver, Montréal and Toronto exhibiting with the Canadian Group of Painters. Humphrey travelled extensively exhibiting and working internationally returning to Europe during the 1950s where his work took on more of a modernist abstract style.

Humphrey decided to use these scenes as inspiration for his work making a record of this difficult time in his beloved St John. In many of his portrait paintings Humphrey was very careful to express the inner emotion and character in his subjects. In many of his paintings Humphrey uses colour contrast putting the subject against a large dominant area of colour.

Life in Europe Driven by ambition Humphrey decided that after completing his formal studies in America he would travel to Europe to further his education as an artist. Humphrey eventually left France and travelled to Munich, where he spent 10 weeks studying modernist techniques under Hans Hofmann. Following his tuition Humphrey spent time travelling around Europe studying some of the old Masters in Italy, Netherlands and Belgium an artistic voyage which many artists have undertaken over history.

In addition to his character studies, Humphrey also did some incredible paintings of the local harbour, the streets and people around the city using a rugged honest approach to his work. Humphrey was invited to become a member of both of these groups.

Jack Humphrey died in St John, New Brunswick, 23 March 1967

After tracing Humphrey’s artistic development and journey, it was his work in the 1930s that struck me most profoundly. His raw depiction of his hometown was what really inspired me and made me think more deeply about the living people in St John during the depression.

Humphrey decided to use these scenes as inspiration for his work making a record of this difficult time in his beloved St John. In addition to his character studies, Humphrey also did some incredible paintings of the local harbour, the streets and people around the city using a rugged honest approach to his work. Humphrey travelled extensively exhibiting and working internationally returning to Europe during the 1950s where his work took on more of a modernist abstract style.

Early year as a developing artist Born in St John, New Brunswick, 12 Jan 1901, Humphrey was a natural artist with a long desire from early childhood to become a good painter. I believe Humphrey found Hawthorne to be a good teacher as he took extra tuition at Hawthorne’s Cape Cod School of Art during the summer which spoke volumes to Humphrey’s commitment to become an excellent artist.

National Gallery of Canada

Pride Toronto

PhotosSongsUncategorized

Toronto Pride Week

Just recently I had a chance to sit down with Natasha Garda, Co-Chair, and Leon Mar, Media Coordinator of Pride Toronto. Pride Week is the fun and fabulous arts and culture festival that happens in the last week of June each year in Toronto. Pride Week celebrates our diverse sexual and gender identities, histories, cultures, lives, friends and families and has become one of Toronto’s biggest festivals and yearly entertainment events.

1. Please tell us about the history of Pride Week as part of Canada’s Queer Community and about this year’s theme

The theme for Pride Week 2005 is “Pride 25: 25 years and counting”. The event will be championed by Grand Marshal Salah Bachir, a generous philanthropist, successful businessman and visionary patron of the arts.

In 1981 Metro Toronto Police raided various bathhouses and caused extensive property damage as well as public embarrassment and humiliation to the visitors of the bathhouses. In 1991 80,000 people celebrated the Pride event. In 1999, Toronto’s then mayor Mel Lastman participated actively (with a “Supersoaker” water gun) in the Pride parade, while corporate sponsorship revenues were higher than ever and put Pride on firm financial footing for the next year.

The roots of Pride Toronto date all the way back to 1969, when drag queens and queer street kids rioted at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. In the same year, the Canadian federal government decriminalized homosexual acts for consenting adults over 21, under then-Justice Minister Pierre Trudeau who uttered his famous “the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation” statement. In 1971 Toronto’s first “Gay Day Picnic” was held at Hanlan’s Point.

2. Pride Toronto has a lot of special events, please tell us about all the events you have planned.

– The Pride Toronto Community Fair provides activists, community and non-profit groups with a public forum to explain their role in our community, educate about their mission, garner and recruit volunteers support for their cause. The Community Fair will take place 11:00 am on both Saturday June 25th and Sunday June 26th 2005.

– On Monday, June 20, 2005, Pride Toronto kicks off with a flag raising ceremony at City Hall. Citizens, politicians, friends and community members hear the Mayor read the Pride Week proclamation, raise the Rainblow Flag and enjoy food and entertainment.

– Family Pride: This child-friendly, interactive space provides an oasis for families of all kinds. Family Pride features crafts, games, children’s entertainment by Rainbow Songs and face painting as well as on-site daycare on the Saturday and Sunday of Pride Weekend.

– Pride Week culminates in the Pride Parade to be held on June 26, 2:00 pm. The Pride Parade is the climax of the Pride Week celebrations.

– The Dyke March (Saturday June 25, 2005 – 2pm) is an event within Pride Week (June 20th to the 26th) that provides a focus on women. It is open to women loving women of any race, culture, orientation, ability, health, economic group, family faith, structure or age. The March is for women only; however, we encourage men to support us from the sidelines.

– On Tuesday, June 21, 2005, the Pride Awards Gala 2005 marks the 25th annual Pride Week Festivities in Toronto. To salute this special year in history, Pride Toronto is organizing a wonderful gala dinner and awards show.

3. Pride Week 2005 offers a lot of entertainment for the whole family. Please tell us about all the different entertainment events you will be hosting.

Family Pride offers entertainment for children and the whole family while adults can enjoy a whole range of entertainment options. Music events include concerts with well-known performers and DJs.
groups that perform live shows. In addition, a theatre performance called “Cheap Queers” will be hosted in Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and Pride Art Walk presents works from a network of local artists.

4. In addition, you will host concerts by 6 major artists. Please tell us about these free concerts.

Pride Week 2005 features up to seven stages of entertainment per day over three days from Friday, June 24th – Sunday, June 26th 2005. We are excited and proud to confirm the presentation of the six astounding, diverse and award-winning artists. The current line-up features David Usher, Carol Pope + Rough Trade, Simone Denny, DJ Dan, The Butchies and The Kinsey Sicks.

5. Please share with us some statistics of the event – how has it grown?

From its first official event in 1981, Pride Toronto has grown from a gathering of 1,500 people to a major entertainment event that draws an attendance of about 1 million people according to media reports. Pride Week is a free event to attend because Pride Toronto’s staff, volunteers and
Pride also has 5 full-time staff members and Pride Week is run by more than 700 volunteers. According to media estimates, Pride Week contributes about $80 million to the local economy.

6. How does Pride Toronto compare to other Inter Pride events?

Pride Toronto is a proud member of InterPride, the international association of Pride Event organizers. InterPride exists to promote Lesbian, Gay, Transgender and bisexual Pride on an international level, to increase networking and communication among Pride Organizations, to encourage diverse communities to attend and hold Pride Events, and to act as a source of
education.

Other high-profile Pride Parades are held in cities including London – England, New York City, San Francisco, Sydney, and Melbourne. Pride Toronto is among the top Pride Events world-wide and distinguishes itself by the fact that it is still completely free to attend.

7. Please tell us about the acceptance of the event and the sponsors behind Pride Toronto.

In recent years, Pride Toronto has gained recognition and appreciation as one of Toronto’s most important festivals and now draws a very diverse audience from difference countries, different cultural and demographic backgrounds. Its mass appeal to the general population is evidenced by the fact that major sponsors have signed up to give Pride Toronto their support. Today, Pride Toronto enjoys the generous support of companies such as Labatt Blue, TD Canada Trust, Pizza Pizza, Air Canada, Trojan, IKEA, Hewlett-Packard and many more.

8. Just recently Pride Toronto was named the best Canadian festival – please tell us more about that.

Thank you, Natasha and Leon, for your time and all the best for next few hectic weeks in organizing this massive event.

The theme for Pride Week 2005 is “Pride 25: 25 years and counting”.- Pride Week culminates in the Pride Parade to be held on June 26, 2:00 pm. The Pride Parade is the climax of the Pride Week celebrations. Pride also has 5 full-time staff members and Pride Week is run by more than 700 volunteers.

I am very proud to report that in April of 2005, Pride Toronto was awarded the Best Festival in Canada title at the 8th Annual Canadian Event Industry Star Awards (CEIA), a national award program that recognizes outstanding achievements in Canadian special events, meeting management, conference planning and exhibition management.

In 1999, Toronto’s then mayor Mel Lastman participated actively (with a “Supersoaker” water gun) in the Pride parade, while corporate sponsorship revenues were higher than ever and put Pride on firm financial footing for the next year.

Lawren Harris– Canadian Artist

PaintingPhotosUncategorized

Lawren Harris

Lawren Harris was born on October 23, 1885, into a wealthy family of Brantford, Ontario, Canada. Lawren’s family co-owned the Massey-Ferguson Farm Machinery Company in Toronto and therefore, he did not have to struggle like other painters at the start of his career.

After returning from Europe, Lawren Harris worked as a magazine illustrator for a year and a half in Toronto. In the late 1920s, Harris’ work got more inclined towards Abstract and he painted more of landscapes surrounding the North & Arctic region. In 1940, Lawren Harris shifted to Vancouver, British Columbia and remained there for the rest of his life.

Harris initially attended St. Andrew’s College in Toronto, and from 1904 to 1907, he studied in Berlin. On January 20, 1910, Harris got married to Beatrice Phillips and together they had three children.

Inuit Tent, Pangnirtung

Lawren Harris was born on October 23, 1885, into a wealthy family of Brantford, Ontario, Canada. Harris initially attended St. Andrew’s College in Toronto, and from 1904 to 1907, he studied in Berlin. After returning from Europe, Lawren Harris worked as a magazine illustrator for a year and a half in Toronto. In 1940, Lawren Harris shifted to Vancouver, British Columbia and remained there for the rest of his life. For Lawren Harris, art was the prelude of his visions into the realm of eternal life, which intensified his experience of beauty.

For Lawren Harris, art was the prelude of his visions into the realm of eternal life, which intensified his experience of beauty. In 1970, at the age of 85, Harris took his last breath at Vancouver, British Columbia.

National Gallery of Canada

Inuit Art

PaintingPhotosSongsStatuesUncategorized

Traditional Culture and Values

While much Inuit art is “about” traditional culture and values, it is also very much an expression of the experiences, values and aesthetics of individual artists who have had to come to grips with rapid and profound change in the second half of the twentieth century. Inuit art is often “autobiographical;” even if specific events are not always depicted, and it reflects the life histories of its makers as well as their artistic talents.

The artists had no romantic notions about art-it was a way to survive, and they accepted the new vocation unquestioningly. The ones less fitted for making sculpture took other jobs whenever possible.

These visitors to the North introduced some new trade goods, especially rifles and tobacco, flour and tea, the nomadic lifestyle of the Inuit hunters remained fairly untouched by the intruders. In the late 1940s most Inuit still lived in small family camps, used dogsleds for travel, lived in igloos during the winter, and divided their time between trapping white fox and hunting.

Was it any wonder that people grabbed with such fervour the opportunity to make a living through carving? This was their way out of humiliating dependence, all the harder to bear since they had enjoyed total freedom and independence before.

Contemporary Inuit art has made its creators and their culture famous throughout the world. Memories of life on the land are still fresh, especially for older Inuit, and the past is very much alive in Inuit culture.

If we want to appreciate Inuit art from this period, we need to be conscious of its context. Here was a group of people dispossessed and displaced, out of their element, trapped in a small community with other Inuit groups with whom they had never before had occasion or desire to associate.

The astonishing fact is that this art, born out of economic necessity, has such evocative power. Its appeal lies in its honesty and stark simplicity. Having focused imaginations and minds not burdened with the redundant images that flood people living in an industrialized world-these were pre-television times-these self-taught artists created images of stunning visual power and archetypal significance-reason for celebration.

When James Houston, a young adventurous artist from Toronto, landed in Inukjuak in Arctic Quebec in 1948 he was presented with one of these whittlings and, with the eye of the artist, recognized its beauty. Tile stage or the enthusiastic reception of contemporary Inuit art was set.

By combining biographical and cultural elements with an appreciation of the communicative power and beauty of individual works, we may begin to truly understand and appreciate the complexity-and the miracle-of Inuit art.

The North has been Canada’s last frontier. Until the Second World War – it had remained largely ignored by the rest of Canada, except for the adventurous and very bold. Since the mid-1700s a succession of explorers looking for the Northwest Passage, of whalers looking for oil, Hudson’s Bay traders looking for fox pelts as well as missionaries looking for souls ventured into the North and met its inhabitants, the Inuit.

Against this background of rapid cultural change, contemporary Inuit art came into being. For two hundred years Inuit hunters had, whenever possible, bartered little souvenir items with any of the groups finding their way into the North.

For a variety of strategic and political reasons the federal government of Canada started to take an active interest in the welfare of its northern citizens. In 1939 a ruling of the Supreme Court had accorded Inuit the same rights to health, welfare, and education as Canadian Indians. In 1955 a selection of children were sent to Chesterfield Inlet to be taught by the Grey Nuns until, in 1959, federal day schools were built across the North.

Making art provided a solution. All the superb skills, honed over centuries in the struggle for survival-knowledge of Arctic animals, an astonishing visual memory, infinite patience and perseverance-could be applied to making a sculpture.

Making art also helped to survive emotionally. It was also a way of regaining control over their lives.

Against this background of rapid cultural change, contemporary Inuit art came into being. If we want to appreciate Inuit art from this period, we need to be conscious of its context. Contemporary Inuit art has made its creators and their culture famous throughout the world. Memories of life on the land are still fresh, especially for older Inuit, and the past is very much alive in Inuit culture. Given the spontaneous nature of the art, however, perhaps we may be forgiven if we are occasionally seduced into believing that Inuit continue to live the life that they portray, and often glorify, in their textiles, sculptures and graphics.

One of the reasons the Canadian government felt compelled to intervene was the receipt of reports from visitors to the North about the deteriorating conditions among the Inuit, partially caused by the fact that the price for white fox had plummeted on the world market. The main means for procuring cash had dried up for Inuit trippers.

Canadian First Nations Art

PaintingPhotosStatuesUncategorized

Wild Man and the Wild Woman of the woods

Two of the more interesting characters from the Northwest coast Canadian First Nations art world include the Wild Man and the Wild Woman of the woods. These two are often portrayed in very dramatic looking masks carved by Northwest coast Canadian First Nations artists.

The Wild Man of the woods from Canadian First Nations art is called Bak’was and is a small human-like creature who lives in the forest. The Wild Man is also considered the chief of ghosts and spirits of people who drowned are often hovering near him. If one eats some of the Wild Man’s food, one will turn into a being just like him.

The Wild Man of the woods from Canadian First Nations art is called Bak’was and is a small human-like creature who lives in the forest. In contrast to the Wild Man, the Wild Woman of the woods or Dzunuk’wa as she is known, is a giant powerful and fearsome figure twice the size of humans. Interestingly enough, even though the Wild Woman represents the dangerous and dark side of the forests, she is also a bringer of wealth for some Northwest coast Canadian First Nations tribes.

She is not considered very bright and usually the children are able to outsmart her in escaping. Interestingly enough, even though the Wild Woman represents the dangerous and dark side of the forests, she is also a bringer of wealth for some Northwest coast Canadian First Nations tribes. A Wild Woman mask can be considered somewhat of a status symbol that only some rich and powerful Northwest coast Canadian First Nations families have.

In contrast to the Wild Man, the Wild Woman of the woods or Dzunuk’wa as she is known, is a giant powerful and fearsome figure twice the size of humans. Her almost blind eyes are sunken and also large like those of the Wild Man but sometimes they have a red glow. It is said that if children foolishly wander into the forest, the Wild Woman will capture them and eat them.

Canadian Music and Musicians

SongsUncategorized

Ask the average Joe on the street if they know of any Canadian musicians, and if you get any response, you’ll hear Celine Dion or Shania Twain, maybe even Bryan Adams or Neil Young.

While these are certainly talented musicians in their own right, they certainly do not represent the breadth and depth of the Canadian music scene. Aside from such superstars as Alanis Morissette and Rush who have transcended any national boundaries and become truly international, Canadian musicians have plenty to offer the world in terms of fresh and exciting music.

Rock/Pop/Hip-Hop

With smash hits like “Photograph” and “How You Remind Me”, it’s hard to come up with a more successful Canadian group over the last few years. Shaker reminds me of a less-bluesy version of “The Black Crows”, however, the inflection of vocalist Daniel Brooks is like nothing so much as a latter day version of fellow Canadian vocalist Tom Cochrane.

Vancouver based Jakalope is an interesting act that fails to be categorized, alternately sounding like anything from The Smashing Pumpkins to Evanesence to a meth’ ed up Madonna, they never fail to be interesting. In the world of hip-hop, no Canadian group seems as poised for superstardom as Dead Celebrity Status. Their first album, “Blood Music” hit the streets to great reviews.

Country/Folk

Blending new beats, along the lines of the country-pop sounds of Keith Urban and the Dixie Chicks, with the twangy sounds of early 1970’s country music. It is hoped that once Mr. Angus has served his term that he will return to making music once again, however, at this time that prospect remains uncertain. Her versatility and vocal range are legendary and not listing of Canadian musicians would be complete without her.

Canadian singers have made tremendous strides in country music over the last several years and dusky voiced Kathleen Edwards is no exception. No less interesting, though decidedly more alternative, the Cowboy Junkies have made a career of turning country music on its head.

Other

Sue’s latest CD, “New Used Car” (2006) was recently released to excellent reviews. She really broke through in the U.S. in 2000 when she toured with Tony Bennett. She currently resides in New York, she has maintained her Canadian citizenship and was made and officer of the Order of Canada in 2005.

Sue Foley and Diana Krall are two of the most impressive musical talents Canada has to offer, and as a citizen of the U.S., I must thank Canada for these two wonderful chanteuses. Foley, a blues guitarist/singer/songwriter from Ottawa, honed her chops primarily in Austin, Texas, but oddly enough, is rarely recognized in the U.S. except amongst blues enthusiasts.

Ask the average Joe on the street if they know of any Canadian musicians, and if you get any response, you’ll hear Celine Dion or Shania Twain, maybe even Bryan Adams or Neil Young. While these are certainly talented musicians in their own right, they certainly do not represent the breadth and depth of the Canadian music scene. Aside from such superstars as Alanis Morissette and Rush who have transcended any national boundaries and become truly international, Canadian musicians have plenty to offer the world in terms of fresh and exciting music. Canadian singers have made tremendous strides in country music over the last several years and dusky voiced Kathleen Edwards is no exception. Her versatility and vocal range are legendary and not listing of Canadian musicians would be complete without her.

National Gallery of Canada

The Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography

PhotosStatuesUncategorized

Sunil Gupta – Contemporary Photography

For me personally, Sunil Gupta’s autobiographical photographs were almost shocking in their candor and openness. They talk about the cultural pressures and expectations that face second generation immigrants growing up in a liberal Western environment. Juxtaposed to this external environment is their traditional Eastern family milieu with its strict rules and role expectations, almost imposing a schizophrenic existence on their offspring.

It seems that his cultural identity is tenuous at best and Sunil decided recently to move back to India to explore his own cultural background. Even beyond that Sunil indicated that he lives in constant fear that his medical condition will be discovered and that he will be deported from India.

Incidentally Sunil’s father died of a heart attack on a Montreal street in 1986. One particularly gripping photograph shows Sunil’s father’s belongings, money, identification, credit cards, that were removed from his body after his death. It took the authorities three days to notify the family, presumably because his father was assigned to the “immigrant” section of the morgue.

It was rather surprising to me that Sunil Gupta decided recently to move back to a country where, as a gay HIV-positive individual, he is not accepted and it speaks to his overwhelming urge to reconnect with his roots.

It’s a unique place in a unique venue: the Museum is housed in a former railroad tunnel of the Grand Trunk Railroad. As a former railroad tunnel, the Museum’s unique dimensions won’t come as a surprise: it measures 166 meters (545 feet) in length by only 17 meters (56 feet) in width.

Even constructing the Museum entailed significant engineering challenges: due to the narrowness of the site, squeezed in between the Chateau Laurier on one side and the Rideau Canal on the other, construction trucks had to back into the site, edging their way half a mile along a road carved in the limestone and shale cliff face.
I wasn’t only there to explore the unique architectural features of the gallery. The main reason for my visit was an exhibition by Sunil Gupta, whose 2 collections shed light on the immigrant experience.

Both of Sunil Gupta’s series of photographs are highly personal, where he exposes himself (literally), his family members and the dynamics of an immigrant family in North America. His images use colour, atmospheric influences and juxtaposition to express symbolism and speak of an ongoing struggle to find his own personal, cultural and sexual identity at the confluence of Eastern and Western cultures.

My schedule in Ottawa this past weekend was extremely compressed, but there was one place I wasn’t going to miss: the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography. As a person with no formal background, yet a keen interest in the visual arts and photography, I have been wanting to visit this museum for a long time. And my Internet research revealed that the Museum is featuring a very special exhibition right now: two photographic series by Sunil Gupta, an Indian-born Canadian citizen, exploring issues of identity, culture and the immigrant experience.
Let me start first with the Museum itself, a rather unique venue in Ottawa with a long history. The Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography began its life all the way back in World War II as the Still Photography Museum of the National Film Board. Its activities include collecting, publishing and organizing traveling exhibitions and educational programs to foster the efforts and development of Canadian photographers.

The Canadian Museum of Photography is currently also hosting another installation: Imprints: Photographs by Michel Campeau, Marlene Creates, Lorraine Gilbert, Sarah Anne Johnson, and Sylvie Readmen features 19 recent acquisitions that explore nature and its forces as they intersect with the human world.

And my Internet research revealed that the Museum is featuring a very special exhibition right now: two photographic series by Sunil Gupta, an Indian-born Canadian citizen, exploring issues of identity, culture and the immigrant experience.
Sunil Gupta was born in New Delhi in 1953 and came to Montreal with his parents at age 15. Social Security (1988) features Sunil Gupta’s family photographs and his mother’s words to shed light on the story of one immigrant family in Montreal. Sunil Gupta’s second photo collection Homelands (2001 to 2003) includes large-scale diptychs that juxtapose images from his experience in the West with images from his home country in India. For me personally, Sunil Gupta’s autobiographical photographs were almost shocking in their candor and openness.

Sunil Gupta was born in New Delhi in 1953 and came to Montreal with his parents at age 15. Over the years he has also lived in New York City and London and just recently moved back to India. Originally he studied accounting, but later moved into visual arts and photography.

Sunil Gupta’s second photo collection Homelands (2001 to 2003) includes large-scale diptychs that juxtapose images from his experience in the West with images from his home country in India. His exhibition explores highly personal topics, such as Gupta’s homosexuality and the fact that he is HIV positive. Gupta was diagnosed with HIV in 1995.
For me the most powerful image of the collection includes Gupta in front of a mirror, stark naked, facing the camera, with a sliver of his mirror image showing right next to an image of India. My museum guide indicated that Sunil has actually commented that he lives right in that narrow line between East and West.

Social Security (1988) features Sunil Gupta’s family photographs and his mother’s words to shed light on the story of one immigrant family in Montreal. Sunil’s father was forced to work as a security guard and the family experienced a loss of financial security and social status.

Sunil himself is actually gay and had several long-term relationships with men, much to the chagrin of his parents.

The move to Canada was a big disappointment, particularly for Sunil’s father.

National Gallery of Canada

  • 1
  • 2