Posts Tagged ‘religious’

A morning exploring some of the art galleries at the University of Toronto.

below: Robarts Library, a large concrete building, is part of the University of Toronto and is their main humanities and social sciences library. It opened in 1973 and has been called Fort Book ever since.

intersection of Harbord and St. George streets, Robarts Library, large concrete building

I have walked past this library many times but I have never gone inside. What I didn’t know about this building is that it is also home to the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library.  It is named after a Thomas Fisher (1792-1874), who came from Yorkshire to Upper Canada in 1821 and settled by the Humber River.  In 1973, his grandsons, Sidney and Charles Fisher, donated many books to U of T .  Since then, the library has grown to approximately 740,000 volumes including hundreds of versions of Alice in Wonderland in many different languages.  They also collect manuscripts, photographs,  and other rare materials.   You can search their holdings online.

below: The view from the 4th floor observation deck.

interior of Thomas Fisher Rare Book library, looking down from the upper level to the tables below. Shelves of books line all the walls, ceiling is open to 4 or 5 storeys up , large central light fixture

At the moment, the Thomas Fisher Library has an exhibition called “Fleeting Moments, Floating Worlds, and the Beat Generation: The Photography of Allen Ginsberg”. Ginsberg (1926-1997) is known for his poetry but he also took pictures. The Thomas Fisher library has the largest collection of Ginsberg prints in the world.

exhibit of photos by Allen Ginsberg displayed in the Thomas Fisher Rare Books Library at U of T, some black and white photos in a case, some books too, shelves of books in the background

below: Mr. Ginsberg took bathroom mirror selfies.  I wonder what he’d think of instagram?

picture of a black and white photo taken by Allen Ginsberg of himself sitting naked and cross legged in front of a bathroom mirror

Ginsberg became friends with William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, and the trio later established themselves as the main players in the Beat Movement with their unconventional writing and wild (for the times) lifestyles.  Ginsberg’s first published work was “Howl” in 1956.  It was called “an angry, sexually explicit poem”.   The San Francisco Police Department declared it to be obscene and arrested the publisher.  The court ruled that it was not obscene.  I can see it being “ahead of its time” in 1956 but today it’s fairly tame.

The opening lines:

“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,

dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,

angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,

who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of

cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz,”

below: Three books about The Beats.

display in a glass top case, three books by Alan Ginsberg, the one in the middle has a yellow cover and is The Beats

The Ginsberg exhibit continues until the 27th of April.

A short walk through part of the St. George campus….did I mention that it was snowing at the time?… to another art gallery on campus.

snow is falling, snow on the ground, tree in foreground, also black wrought iron fence, looking across the playing field of the U of T St. George campus to a building, tower,

below: We passed a moose standing in the snow.

a flat metal sculpture of a moose stands in a small space beside a tree, snow on the ground, snow falling from the sky. public art

The second gallery was the Art Museum at Hart House.   One of the exhibits showing there is “Figures of Sleep”.  Straight from the gallery website is this description of the exhibit: ” [it]…considers the cultural anxieties manifest in the popular and critical imagination around the collapsing biological function of sleep under economic, social and technological transformation”.  What it is is a collection of videos, photographs, and artwork depicting sleep, i.e. people sleeping by a number of different artists.  This exhibit ends on 3rd March.

below: Watching videos of people sleeping

a person watching a large video display in an art gallery

below: She’s very life like.  She’s also much smaller than life sized but even so, she was a bit creepy. “Untitled (old woman in bed)”, 2000-2002, by Ron Mueck.

very realistic and life like scupture of an old woman with grey asleep under a blanket with her head on a pillow

below: “Dream Catcher” by Rebecca Belmore, 2014 .  This wall hanging is quite large.

dream catcher by Rebecca Belmore, a large wall hanging of a person sleeping on the sidewalk, under a blanket with a picture of a lion on it.

below:  The Malcove Collection is in the same gallery.  The collection includes about 500 pieces, not all of which are on display at the moment.  Dr. Lillian Malcove (1902-1981) was born in Russia just before her parents emigrated to Canada and settling in Winnipeg.  She graduated from the University of Manitoba with an M.D. and then spent most of her adult life as a Freudian psychoanalyst in New York City.  Over her life time she amassed a collection of art that she bequeathed to U of T.

wall display cases in an art gallery, religious pieces on display, old, antiquities

below: From the Malcove collection, ‘Male Dedicant’, made of limestone, Coptic, late 4th century or early 5th century

antique stone carving (relief) of a man with curly hair, both hands raised, one hand holding a spherical object and the other hand holding a cross

below:  Detail from “The Burning Bush”, 19th century.

very old painting, religious, virgin mary and baby jesus in the center surrounded by other religous scenes

 

below: Last but not least, and having nothing to do with art, is this plaque on a wall near the art gallery at Hart House.  It commemorates the relationship between the Canadian and Polish Armies during WW1.  A transcription of it appears below.

 

plaque on an exterior brick wall commemorating the role of the Polish Army

In the early months of 1917, twenty three Polish probationary officers were trained here by the staff of the Canadian School of Infantry in Toronto.  They were the forerunners of more than 20,000 North American volunteers of Polish descent who were trained in Canada (mostly at Niagara on the Lake) to serve in the French Army, ultimately commanded by Joseph Haller.  The existence of this Polish Army in France went far to assure the presence of Poland at the Peace Conference at the end of the war and played a significant role in the reconstitution of a reunited and independent Poland after 123 years of partition. 
The Canadian Polish Congress has placed this tablet to commemorate the ardent Polish patriotism of so many Polish volunteers from the United States and Canada.   The Congress also wishes to honour the Canadian officers who trained the volunteers, including notably Lieutenant Colonel A.D. Lepan of the staff of this university and his principal subordinates, all from this university as well as Major C.R. Young, Major H.H. Madill, Major W.F. Kirk and Major F.B. Kenrick. A.D. 1990

 

a bike parked outside an old brick building on St. George campus of U of T, snow covered

More information about:

Allen Ginsberg exhibition

Figures of Sleep, and others, at Hart House Art Museum

Illustrations of the holdings of the Malcove Collection

 

Tdot, an affectionate nickname for Toronto.

graffiti words, large, on a garage door in an alley, tdot,white on red background.

A lovely walk on a lovely afternoon discovering lovely things about love and affection.

below: Love but Think.

graffiti words on a garage door, love but think

stone statue of a girl seated, in front of a house that has a statue of Jesus in a niche in the outside wall as well as a ceramic religious scene

below: Mother and child.

under two hinges, on a post, in front yard of a house, a faded framed print of a mother and her baby

below: Batman and Robin, oh dear.

orange stencil, batman kissing robin the boy wonder

mural of a woman with very long wavy hair, side profile of her head and face, blue lips, blue eyelashes

below:  Some love is fleeting and some may be eternal but his love for Leila was never meant to last.

words on a garage door that say I love Leila. A big X is drawn through those words and beside it is written Honestly it wasn't meant to last

below: Even the insults sounded nice.  Except of course if the pizza had pineapple on it.

words scrawled on a wall in an alley that say Trump is a facist piece of pizza

below: And then there was this….  As it turns out these words are a line in the lyrics of a song but I’m still not sure why would write them on a door.

white words graffiti on a grey metal door that say When I do wrong I am with God

street art painting of a dragon, or monster, head with purple horns, green eye, and lots of teeth, seen from the side,

May all your walks be lovely!

Another nice day, another ramble.

below: My starting point the other day was Castle Frank subway station (Bloor Street East, close to the top of Parliament Street).  This station opened in 1966 although the entrance that you see in the photo was an addition that was added only a few years ago.

photo taken from sidewalk on north side Bloor Street East, just outside of Castle Frank subway station, looking west towards downtown. Subway station in the foreground, high rise buildings in the background

below: An interesting round window in the station entrance.  You can see part of the window in the picture above, peaking from around the side of the tree trunk.

a round window with a metal grille inside. Grille is made of trapezoid shapes in a repeating pattern.

below: The subway “tunnel” between Sherbourne and Castle Frank stations isn’t really a tunnel at all.  This view surprised me – I know that I have driven under this structure on Rosedale Valley Road.  I don’t recall knowing that it was for the subway.

Downtown Toronto is in the distance. The subway tunnel between Sherbourne and Castle Frank stations is in the foreground. It's really a covered bridge as it passes over Rosedale Valley Road.

below: “It’s never too cold for rainbow shoelaces.”  Sage advice for the winter time.

words spray painted on a low concrete fence, It's never too cold for rainbow shoelaces.

below: Graffiti under the bridge…  even though I am drawn to bridges I didn’t go down the hill to investigate.  That can be another blog post at another not so muddy time.   This spot can be accessed from the Rekai Family Parkette which is at the SE corner of Bloor and Parliament, tucked in between Bloor and St. James Cemetery.

graffiti under the arches of a bridge, white skull painting, lots of trees, winter time but no snow. No leaves on the trees, brown ground.

below: More graffiti seen from the parkette.

graffiti on the side of a concrete bridge, based on the letter P C and E.

below: St. James Cemetery was opened in July of 1844 at a time when the population of Toronto was around 18,000 and most of them lived south of Queen Street.   The cemetery would have been out in the country but now, more than 150 years later, the cemetery is in the middle of the city.  There are 89,000 interments here including two of my great x 2 (or 3?) grandparents and some of their descendants (they’re not shown in the picture though!).

many tombstones in a cemetery, different shapes and sizes, a couple of crosses, a couple of rectangles with rounded tops, a tall one in the shape of a skinny keyhole, trees in the background, no leaves

below: A little reminder that Christmas wasn’t all that long ago.

a small statue of an angel sitting on a pedestal in a cemetery, a Christmas wreath in green with red bows and brown pine cones is behind the angel.

The fastest route from Castle Frank to Cabbagetown is straight down Parliament Street.  But of course, the direct route is rarely the one that I take.  The area is full of little alleys and lanes and they all call to me.

below: These animals are part of a mural painted in support of Riverdale Farm which is nearby.

on Darling Lane (street sign in the picture), a mural of two horses, part of a larger mural featuring farm animals

below: Reading the news, many newses.

a street art piece, a bench and man are painted on a wall, the man is holding a newspaper that is a made of paste ups of the word news many times.

below: In Flos Williams Lane there are a number of stenciled words.  “Guilty until proven rich” I first saw here a couple of years ago.  I don’t walk this lane very often so I’m not sure how long ago the other sayings appeared.

below: Like most walks, there were interesting windows to be seen.

two windows on a red brick house with stone foundation, basement window and first storey window. The upper one has a red curtain

below: …and doors too. A very bright orange door!

a very bright orange front door.

below: But unlike most walks, there was a giant gecko or lizard.

a life like model of a giant green gecko on the small roof over a window of a pet store.

One of the appeals of Cabbagetown is the number of older houses, many of which are heritage buildings.

below: This house was built in 1858 and its first resident was Charles MacKay, a customs official who lived here from 1858 to 1865.  The infill line of townhouses behind it are a much more recent development.

an old historic brick house with black and white trim, a small statue in the front yard, set back from the sidewalk, large tree,

below:  Cabbagetown has more of these ‘workers cottages’ or ‘gothic cottages’ than anywhere else I’ve walked.   This arrangement of three identical houses in a row is especially rare (but not unique, at least not yet).

a row of three gothic cottages joined together, all pale yellow with dark green trim

below:  This cottage is in the middle of another threesome but they are not identical.  The yellow door on the pale blue house is a wonderful colour combination.  A little bit of sunshine.

a gothic cottage painted pale blue with white trim,also a bright yellow front door.

below:  Even though it has been renovated and an addition added to the back, this house still retains some of its historical roots.

a renovated and modernized gothic cottage with an addition out the back.

below: And more history…  I was attracted to this building by the beautiful double doors.  Once I was close to the house, I noticed the ghost sign hiding behind the tree branches. The Daily Herald is no longer but it the mark it made here remains.   A mysterious mark though because I can find no record of such a publication.  In fact, probably “the sign had been part of a play or film that the home’s owner was involved in and he installed the sign on an act of whimsy.”  (source, bottom of page)  You gotta love whimsy!

an old brick building, two storeys, now a house, with double doors in a dark teal colour. Ghost sign above the window that says Daily Herald

below: Whimsy you say?  Bright pink flamingo whimsy in a store window.   They look like they’re ready for a rainy day.

three bright flamingo heads as umbrella handles in a shop window. Pink flamingos and pink umbrellas.

below:  There were also some store windows that were a bit more serious.

store window, selling statues of religios figures, many statues of Mary and Jesus.

below:   I think that Carlton and Parliament is one of the most colourful intersections in the city and I always enjoy passing this way.  This is the view if you are standing in the middle of Carlton street and looking east towards Parliament.

looking down Carlton street towards parliment, brick stores directly ahead, some cars on the street,

below: This large colourful mural on the wall of Cabbagetown Corner Convenience,  NE corner of Carlton and Parliament, has become a landmark since it was painted by Ryan Dineen in 2005.

mural on the side of a building in cabbagetown. people in old fashioned clothing plus swirls of colour. street scene beside it, people on sidewalk walking in front of stores.

below: The 506 Carlton streetcar makes its left turn from Parliament.   It’s never a quick and easy turn.  In fact, it’s usually frustratingly slow.

TTC streetcar, Carlton car, turns from Parliament street onto Carlton, stores, sidewalk and people in the background, reflections in street car windows.
And in case you were wondering, yes, you can find cabbages in cabbagetown. This big one is on the Cabbagetown mural on the side of the LCBO building.

painting of a cabbage in a mural

And yes, there is a lot more to Cabbagetown than this…
and I will use that as an excuse to return another time!

Marys in Toronto 
It has become one of the things I do – I look for ‘Marys’ when I travel.  For one reason or another, I started seeing Marys in Toronto too.  Perhaps it was because I spent more time in galleries and museums on those really cold days that we had last winter.    There aren’t nearly as many Marys here as there are in Lima Peru or in Malta.  Hence, finding them was a bit more difficult but that just made the hunt more interesting.

below: In the window of Sonic Boom on Spadina

A picture of Mary and Jesus in a store window. Jesus is depicted as a middle age man.

below:  a sculpture of Mary and Jesus,  from the Gardiner Museum

ceramic (or glazed terracotta?) sculpture of mother and child, Mary and Jesus.

below: ‘The Dormition of the Virgin’ by Esteban Marquez De Velasco (c.1655 – 1720, Spain).
This painting is in the Art Gallery of Ontario.  It depicts the moment before Mary falls asleep and her soul leaves her body to join Him in heaven.  The apostles surround Mary and kneel in prayer.

A close up of a painting. A young woman, the virgin Mary, is sitting up in bed, her right hand over her heart and her eyes raised to heaven. A man is standing to the right, his eyes also looking up to heaven. Men reading books are to her left.

below: ‘Madonna and Child’ by Andrea Della Robbia (1435-1525, Florence Italy).
Glazed terracotta. On loan to the AGO from the family of Murray Frum.

A white porcelain relief sculpture on a reddish wall. Mother and child, Mary and Jesus.

below:  In front of St. Clare Roman Catholic church on St. Clair Ave. West

White statue of Mary and Jesus outside a church, a vase of red and white flowers is beside her feet. The words Sancta Maria Mater Dei are on a bronze plaque under the statue.

below: In the window of Crows Nest barber shop, Kensington Market

 A figurine of the Virgin Mary with her light blue shawl stands piously in the window of a barber shop. The building is painted a light blue colour.

below: Figurines for sale at Honest Ed’s

seven figurines of Mary painted with long white, light blue and gold robes. They are about 20 cm high, all with downcast eyes except the one on the left looks like she's looking at the camera.

below: Holographic cards with images of Mary Jesus in a red plastic tub.
You can buy a card at Honest Ed’s for 69 cents.

postcards with holographic images of Mary and Jesus.

below: Sagrada Familia, by the front door of a house in Little Portugal

A ceramic plaque of Mary, Joseph and Jesus on the exterior wall of a house beside the front door and above the mailbox

below:  Hiding amongst the drapery sits Mary and her child.

from the outside, the lower part of a window with white shutters and a stone window sill. Lace curtains are in the window and a statue of Mary and Jesus is inside.

below: Another from the AGO,  Virgin and Child from circa 1750, once in a chapel of a Montreal church.
Wood with traces of pigment.

 In the Art Gallery of Ontario, a wooden statue of Mary holding baby Jesus. Behind the statue is a large painting of the fire in Quebec City in the 1700's.

Wooden statue of Mary standing while holding a baby Jesus.

below: Mount Pleasant cemetery

close up of part of a tombstone in a cemetery showing a small relief sculpture of Mary, Joseph and Jesus

below:  On an ofrenda at a Dia de Muertos celebration

a statue of mary with pink candles on either side of her. A yellow day of the dead paper cut out is behind her. Strings of yellow, orange and pink flowers are also on either side of her.

below: Radio Maria, una voce cristiana nella tua casa, part of the Holy Mother World Networks.

entrace to a small red brick building with a two signs, one over the door and one beside the door, for Radio Maria.

below: With other members of the Nativity scene, for sale in a vintage store on Queen West.
I think that $20 buys you the contents of the box.

ceramic figures of the Nativity scene, Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, etc. They are lying in a box that is for sale in a store.

below: In a front yard in the Junction
I’ve put her at the end because I am not 100% sure that she is a Mary. The Virgin Mary is usually depicted with a light blue shawl draped over her shoulder or else holding a baby Jesus.

A small white statue of Mary on a makeshift pedestal in a front yard. Early spring, bare rose bush branches, a couple of small white planters with flowers in them. A white metal railing on the front porch.

And here ends that game.  This post represents almost a year’s worth of looking and while the hunt was interesting in the beginning it’s charm is starting to wear thin.   I could probably find more Marys in churches and cemeteries but I think I will listen to words of wisdom and let it be.

Dia de Muertos, Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday where and friends come together to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died.  It occurs at the end of October (31 Oct to 2 Nov).  Here in Toronto there was a Day of the Dead festival at Harbourfront this past weekend.

fabric hanging on a wall. There is a picture on the fabric of a woman's face painted white to look like a skull but with pink around the eys. Many orange roses surround her face

One of the traditions of Dia de Muertos is the making of ofrendas which are altars dedicated to the deceased person.  Jose Clemente Orozco was a Mexican painter (1883-1949).  He specialized in painting murals in frescoes and his work can be seen in Mexico and in the USA.

elaborate and colourful ofrenda with purple, blue and pink paper cut outs on the wall behind.
Another altar that was on display was one made by artist Alberto Cruz in honour of Pablo Picasso.

An ofrenda, or altar, in the memory of Pablo Picasso at a day of the dead festival. There is a photo of him surrounded by different objects and symbols representing his life and things that he did

The Casa Cultura Mexicana made an ofrenda to honour the Prehispanic indigenous people and warriors of Mexico.
The bottom part consisted of pictures made with coloured rice.

pictures made of coloured rice on an ofrenda dedicated to the indigenous people of Mexico

Food items such as rice, beans, and corns were an important part of the ofrenda.

a face shape made of dried beans and corn. red beans make a circle around the face, black beans make 6 rays coming out from the circle. The face is corn with bean features.

Ofrendas are decorated with sugar skulls and marigolds (or yellow and orange paper flowers) as well as candles, photos, momentos from the person’s life, and things that symbolize something about that person.  Sometimes serious, sometimes whimsical.

an ofrenda with a picture of a woman in a frame sitting on a table. One each side of her is an elaborately decorated skull. One of the skulls is wearing sunglasses and a wreath of yellow and orange flowers around the top of its head.

What would your friends and family put on an ofrenda in your memory?

objects on an ofrenda at a day of the dead celebration, decorated skulls, a small skeleton, some old photos of people, flowers, fruit,

There was also clay available if you wanted to make a small skull or other symbol for the occasion.

close up picture of a man putting details on a small clay skull with a toothpick

Two girls with day of the dead face paint on are making clay skulls. A young boy is also at the table making a skull, his mother is helping him.

A young man carefully adds tiny clay roses to a clay skull that he has made.

A small figurine made of a clay of a skeleton wearing a sombraro and playing a guitar is in the foreground, kids making clay skulls at a table are in the background.

skull painted white and then decorated with black, green, red and white

Rest in Peace.

ofrenda, altar, day of the dead celebration, woman's picture along with Virgin Mary candles and other pink cnadles, lots of orange flowers too