Posts Tagged ‘ROM’

two young women holding signs that say, Love Open Streets, prove it. #openstreetsto

Open Streets – the second, and final, Open Streets for 2018 was held last Sunday.   Large sections of Bloor and Yonge Streets downtown were closed to traffic leaving lots of room for cyclists, pedestrians and a number of activities.

below: Axe Capoeira

a man is flipping upside down in front of an audience on the sidewalk

below: Mayada’s Belly Dance at Yonge & Bloor

the intersection of Yonge and Bloor at Open Streets, belly dancers performing for an audience, Nordstroms Rack store in the background

below: And other dancing in the street too – or rather, a very active fitness session!

four young people dancing in the street, two male and two female.

below: It looks like animals can dance too… this dog seems to be having a great time!

people in life size animal costumes including heads, dance along in a fitness session on Yonge street during Open Streets

below: Little drummer boy on a fancy Home Depot drum set!

a young boy uses wooden drum sticks to bang on upturned orange plastic buckets from Home Depot, outside, activity at Open Streets

looking east on Bloor past the Royal Ontario Museum, no traffic, for Open Streets, some cyclists, tall buildings in the background

below: Decorating bikes and scooters

close up of hands decorating a scooter with flowers and foam shapes

below: Sharing a hammock in the middle of Yonge Street.

a young couple share a hammock strung between two trees on a diving strip own the middle of Yonge Street, their bikes are parked beside the hammock

a woman with flowers in hair in profile

below: Trumpet lessons

a man teaches a boy to blow a trombone, outdoors, activity on the sidewalk during Open Streets

a couple cycles together up Yonge street, on rented Bixi bikes, holding hands

below: Yoga in the park

doing yoga on grass laid down on the street, Bloor Street, temporary park for Open Streets

below: And for those who were looking for something less active…

a man has fallen asleep on the grass beside the OPen Streets Park sign,

below:  Yonge Street was also on the route of the 2018 Toronto AIDS walk

a policeman on a bike leads an AIDS walk up Yonge Street, people holding a banner follow him and then many people wearing red T-shirts

people wearing red T-shirts and carrying signs, walking in a walk to raise funds and awareness for AIDS, on Yonge Street.

below: A Lamborghini.  0 to 60 in how many seconds?

turquoise Lamburghini bike locked along with other bikes

two women sitting on the steps of a building having a discussion, a yellow bike is in the foreground

two women walk with their young children, strollers, down Yonge Street during OPen Streets, downtown Toronto in the background

Two Canadian First Nations women, Jane Ash Poitras and Rebecca Belmore,  have their art on display at the moment.  Both women are concerned about the effects of history on their culture and heritage.  Both mix politics into their art.   How do you rise out of oppression while preserving your heritage?  What are the issues surrounding acculturation and do you deal with them?   But as you can see, they approach their art in very different ways.

At the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) are four paintings by Jane Ash Poitras (b. Fort Chipeywan Alberta 1951).   Poitras is Cree.  She was orphaned at the age of 6 and raised by a Catholic German woman in Edmonton.  Before turning to art, she earned a BSc in microbiology.

below: ‘Buffalo Seed’, mixed media, 2004.  Old black and white photos are used in this collage along with sunflower petals and fabulous colours of oil paint.

colourful collage and painting by Jane Ash Poitras. Uses old black and white photos

below: “Potato Peeling 101 to Ethnobotany 101”,  Placed side by side, these two large works serve to contrast traditional indigenous knowledge of medicinal plants with the teachings imposed on indigenous youth by the residential school system.

2 large assemblages, collages, by Jane Ash Poitras, called Potato Peeling 101 to Ethnobotany 101, on display at the Royal Ontario Museum

below: There is a lot of detail in the two boards that get lost in a photo like the one above so here is a closer look at some of the photos in the collage above

collection of old black and white photos of First Nations kids in schools

text of a quote by Rebecca Belmore that says "for decades I have been working amongst my people, calling to the past, witnessing the present, standing forward, facing the monumental

 

“Facing the Monumental” is the title of the Rebecca Belmore exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario.  It covers three decades of her work and includes photographs, sculptures, and videos of her performance art.   Her art is more conceptual.

Belmore is an Anishinaabe woman from the Lac Seul First Nation.  She spent her childhood in northwestern Ontario with her maternal grandparents where she spoke Ojibwa.  For high school, she boarded with a white family in Thunder Bay.  Many First Nations communities are too small to support a high school so students are sent to live elsewhere while they complete their education.  It is a system with many problems.  It’s probably fair to say that the whole “system” is problematic.

below: ‘Sister’ 2001.  An ambiguous image – why does the woman have her arms stretched out?  What is happening here?

Sisters, art by Rebecca Belmore at the AGO from 2001

below: “Tower”, 2018.  A condo tower of shopping carts around a clay core – the carts symbolize the homeless.

art by Rebecca Belmore at the AGO

below: “Mixed Blessing”, 2011.  Two cultures.  Blending?  Fighting each other?  Hiding in embarrassment?

art by Rebecca Belmore at the AGO

below: And last, “Fringe” 2007.  Like two of the three artworks above, Belmore uses the body to address violence against First Nations people, especially women.   The image draws you in and repels you at the same time.   You don’t want it to be real but there is the possibility that it is.   If it makes you feel better, the diagonal scar is created using make-up and what looks like blood are strings of beads.

fringe, by Rebecca Belmore, a photo of a woman's back as she's lying down, scar and beads

Jane Ash Poitras is at the ROM until April 2020.

Rebecca Belmore is the AGO until 21 October 2018.

‘Straying Continents’ is a large hanging artwork that is on display at the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum).  The artist,  El Anatsui, constructed it out of aluminum and copper wire in 2010.

artwork hung on a wall, covers the wall, by El Anatsui, a Ghanese artist, made of different colours of liquor bottle caps, metal, close up

Thousands of recycled aluminum liquor bottle caps of different colours were cut and shaped (twisted or flattened) and sewn together with copper wire.  In some places the caps are flat and tightly packed while in other places they are twisted into rope-like pieces and loosely woven into the design.

below: The grey in the bottom part of the picture is the wall showing through. The lighting also creates shadows within the artwork.

artwork hung on a wall, covers the wall, by El Anatsui, a Ghanese artist, made of different colours of liquor bottle caps, metal, close up

Viewed as a whole, it is a fascinating piece. It does look like two continents separated by an ocean.  At the same time, innumerable interesting compositions can also be found by looking at it in sections.

artwork hung on a wall, covers the wall, by El Anatsui, a Ghanese artist, made of different colours of liquor bottle caps, metal, close up

recycled liquor bottle cap artwork

below: The piece doesn’t hang straight which creates folds, shadows, and more interest.

artwork hung on a wall, covers the wall, by El Anatsui, a Ghanese artist, made of different colours of liquor bottle caps, metal, close up

below: It also provides material to play with.

abstract of circles and partial circles made from bottle cap artwork

 

I went on a whim.   No one has ever called me ‘fashionable’ when it comes to clothing!

I went not knowing what to expect and was very pleasantly surprised at what I encountered.   The majority of the exhibit consists of dresses designed by Christian Dior from 1947 to 1957.

people looking at the Christian Dior exhibit at the ROM, Royal Ontario Museum

Christian Dior was born in a seaside town in northern France in 1905.  He began his career in fashion by selling fashion sketches in the early 1930’s after a failed attempt to run an art gallery.  This led to a job as a design assistant with Paris couturier Robert Piguet.   His career took off after WW2 when he started his own business, House of Dior (Maison Dior), in 1947.

a red knee-length dress in the foreground, a black one in the background, also a black and white striped dress, part of a museum display of Christian Dior clothing

below: This simple but classy two piece dress with black cummerbund is from Dior’s 1948 autumn-winter collection.   It is made with black velvet with iridescent bead work.  The bottom part is a mid-calf length skirt with the same beading.   Actually, the words simple and classy describe most of the dresses here.

two headless mannequins with black dresses, upper parts only are shown, part of a ROyal Ontario museum exhibit dress in foreground has iridescent beads sewn on it

below:  Embroidery with beads and stacked sequins in intricate designs.

close up shot of the back of dress that is heavily ebroidered and beaded in blue and purple floral motifs

below: The fabulous colours of fabric samples – this is only a small part of the display of fabrics with “a silk warp and a dupion weft”.  Warp and weft are weaving terms – warp refers to the threads that run lengthwise down the fabric while weft refers to the crosswise threads.   Dupion is similar to silk but it is thicker and more uneven.

silk fabric samples of many different colour

below: This dress is made from the silk fabric described above.

pale blue grey silk Christian Dior dress in the background, a red and a black dress are in the background, ROM exhibit,

beige suit, jacket and skirt. Jacket has tailored waist and 6 very large mother of pearl buttons,

Christian Dior’s success as a designer and a businessman continued until 1957 when he died while on vacation in Italy.  Yves Saint Laurent spent a few years as the Artistic Director immediately after Dior’s death although he was only 21.  There have been countless designers and many changes since then but the the company still exists as part of LVMH.   I was surprised to learn that the full name of the company is LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE.  I also hadn’t realized that many of the luxury brands that we recognize the names of are actually controlled/owned by 3 companies: LVMH, Kering, and Richemont.  If you have a few minutes, take a cruise through wikipedia.

part of an orange dress with cloth covered orange buttons on both the front and side

below: There was a small display of jewelry, including this necklace by Maison Gripoix.   It is a string of lily of the valley flowers made from green and white handmade glass paste.   Glass paste, or pâte de verre, is made by mixing finely ground glass, binding agents, and colour.  The resulting ‘paste; is molded and then kiln fired.  Apparently the lily of the valley was Christian Dior’s “lucky flower”.

Dior necklace with green glass leaves and white flowers made of beads, gold as well, large and short

The exhibit is presented by Holt Renfrew and you can find it on the 4th floor of the ROM…. until 18 March 2018. In the meantime, you can find more information on the ROM website.

 

#ROMDIOR

You’ve probably never heard the word asafo before.  You probably have no idea what it means.

Until last week I didn’t know the word existed either.

I went to the Royal Ontario Museum to see the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibit.  There were 100 excellent pictures of insects, animals, marine life, the sort of thing you’d expect.  There was no photography allowed in that exhibit so I have no photos of the images on display.  You’ll have to take my word for it that I was there.

I can appreciate the skill and patience that it takes to capture rabbits in the snow or a school of fish in a certain light underwater but those kind of pictures don’t excite me.   That’s not to diminish the work of the photographers, it was all very high caliber both technically and visually.    What I think I’m trying to say is that I left the exhibit wanting more, something more from my visit to the ROM.

Luckily I didn’t have to look far.  In the next room was Art, Honour, and Ridicule: Asafo Flags from Southern Ghana.

museum exhibit of asafo flags from Ghana, colourful flags of militia groups in yellows, reds and black. Many are hanging in display cases.

Colour, lots of colour.  And a subject that I knew nothing about, asafo flags.  I wasn’t even sure what part of Africa Ghana is in (It’s on the south coast of Western Africa between Togo and the Ivory Coast as it turns out.).

The flags are hand made with an assortment of different motifs.  The British Jack in the upper left corner is a very common feature.  That’s a clue.  Yes, Ghana was a British colony.   Reading the history of Ghana is like reading the colonial history of large parts of Africa.  The Portuguese built a fortress at Elmina in 1482.    Interest in the region was piqued by the presence of gold, hence the name Gold Coast.   By the early 17th century the first African state,  Akwamu, controlled an extensive part of the coast.  They were displaced by the Ashanti who were very involved in the slave trade, especially in trading slaves for weapons.   When European countries outlawed trading in slaves in the early 1800’s,  Ashanti power suffers.   Some tussles ensue, a few battles, some back and forth, and by 1902 what was Ashanti becomes is a British colony.    It remained a colony until 1957.

close up of a flag, hand made, British Jack in the top left corner, a man walks in front of a church in the center, a black bear in the top right.

I’m not going to pretend to know or understand African history.  I’m only trying to give some context to the flags.    First, jump back to my mention of Elmina and the Portuguese. When the Portuguese arrived in this area in the 15th century, it was the Fante (or Fanti) people that they encountered.  Both the Fante and the Ashanti belong to the Akan people.  The Fante prevented them from venturing inland and leased properties for Portuguese trading missions. But when the Portuguese objected to Fante rules and regulations the Fante expelled them.  Soon after, the Dutch arrived.  The Fante served as middlemen in the commerce between the interior and Dutch traders on the coast.

Around 1724 the Dutch either established or made important a number of militia groups of local Fante.  These are the Asafo companies.  Historically, Asafo companies were in charge of the safety and protection of the local community.   At the height of the slave trade they protected individuals and communities.   They exerted power, exercise political influence and maintain codes of conduct within Fante communities. Each company has a flag and that flag has many roles.   They represent proverbs and depict narratives of pride and wisdom.  They accompany oral history and provide a means to preserve customs and traditions.

below:

  1. top flag, by Kweku Kakanu, Saltpond Workshop. “Only a brave man goes under a large tree” because only large animals go under large trees. Made sometime between 1950 and 1957.
  2. bottom flag, artist unknown, Kromantse Workshop. “Only tie a bull to a large tree”. Both the animal and the tree are acknowledged to be strong and mighty.  Made around 1980.  It has a Ghanese flag in the top left corner.

 

two flags displayed on a black background, with three femail mannequins dressed in traditional Ghanese costume.

below:

  1. top flag, by Kweku Kakanu, Saltpond Workshop. A crocodile dominates and controls a pond of fish. Made around 1940.  The prey can not escape.
  2. bottom flag, by Kwesi Budu, Saltpond Workshop. The fish cann’t escape the net of the fishermen just like enemies will not be able to escape when confronted by the company.  Made around 1950.

two flags displayed on a black background, with two male mannequins dressed in military Ghanese costume.

Fante asafo flags from Ghana, two on display in a museum, chickens and roosters,

Fante asafo flags from Ghana, two on display in a museum, griffons

two mannequins in military uniforms as part of a museum exhibit at ROM

 

 

Patricia Harris Gallery of Textiles and Costumes,
ROM, 4th floor,
until March 2017.

 

 

 

The word Chihuly in the title refers to Dale Chihuly, an American artist who has been working in glass since the mid 1960’s.   At the moment there is a special exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) of some of the sculptural work produced by him and his team.

detail of a glass sculpture showing ripples and waves of colour, ornages, greys and yellows

I’ve now wandered through this exhibit three times.   The first time, I found it a bit overwhelming and I wasn’t sure how to photograph it.  The second time I went I just looked.  Yesterday I went back with my camera and tried again.  I’m reasonably happy with the photos but I know that I have only captured a small part of the art.  Perhaps it is enough to enable you to imagine more of it, or to refresh your memory if you have already seen the exhibit.

below:   Admirers looking at “Persian Ceiling”, 2012 .  Large cushions were provided for those who wanted to lie down to get a view of the ceiling in its entirety.  Of course, looking at the sections up close was also fascinating.  All the different shapes and colours overlap and produce new colours and textures.

people lying on the floor looking a ceiling that is made of different coloured glass pieces, back lit, also some people standing and pointing at different pieces

below:  Section of the “Persian Ceiling” installation.

bits of coloured glass, circular shapes, ridges, back lit,

The round slight scalloped glass shapes that look a bit like flowers are called Persians.  At least that’s the name that Chihuly has given them as described in this quote that appears on the wall just outside the room.    “I just liked the name Persians.  It conjured up sort of Near-Eastern, Byzantine, Far East, Venice, all the trades, smells, sense… I don’t know, it was an exotic name to me, so I just called them Persians.”

below: A ray swims amongst the waves of colour.

bits of coloured glass, circular shapes, ridges, back lit,

below: “Red Reeds”.  I thought of candles when I first saw this piece, red candles in a birch bark candle holder.  Then the  young girl standing beside me announced that it was a campfire and I changed my mind.  I think she’s right.  Marshmallows anyone?

The red tubes are hollow glass.  Metal rods have been inserted into the birch logs and the glass tubes sit over these rods.  You can see the darker sections at the bottom of the tubes where the metal rods are.

red glass tubes inserted into large birch logs, looks like a campfire with tall flames

below: “Blue and Purple Boat, 2006”.  Back in 1995 Chihuly floated some glass pieces on a river in Finland.   Local teenagers collected the pieces in their wooden boats and this provided the inspiration for a number of installations featuring glass in boats.  This is one of two on display at the ROM.  It is on a reflective surface, like a calm river.

a wooden boat on a black reflective surface. The boat is filled with blue and magenta pieces of sculpted glass

below: “Sapphire Neon Tumbleweeds” constructed from factory made neon tubes that have been heated and bent into organic shapes.  The lighting is magenta in real life but blue in my photos.

two kids standing in front of an exhibit with blue neon lights twisted into tumbleweed shapes, backs to the camera

below: The next few photos are of a large and elaborate installation called “Laguna Torcello”,  named after a lagoon island in Venice.  It is a garden of fantasy in glass.  Parts seem to be aquatic, growing under water.

aquarium like structures, water plants, and large shells, made of glass, on a black glass reflective surface

As an aside, I suspect that the logistics and cost of transporting and installing these pieces is not minor.  Like the red tubes above, this garden is made of hollow glass pieces that are arranged on, and supported by, rods.  The whole thing sits on a flat, dark, and reflective surface which adds another dimension to the artwork.

green glass and silver metallic horn shaped pieces on a black reflective surface, part of a large glass art installation by Chihuly at the ROM

different shaped glass sculptures that look like stylized underqater scene, aquatic plants

curly pieces of glass in different shade of amber, look a bit like curly seaweed growing under water

The exhibit continues until the end of 2016.

Dale Chihuly website

British mural artist Phlegm has been painting a large mural on the side of 1 St. Clair West.   The first time I saw it, was on the 14th of July when it looked liked this:

below: The white background of the mural was painted first.

a street in Toronto, St. Clair Ave., with an older nine storey building with concrete facing, on the side, above the level of the stores beside it, is the outline of the start of a mural. All painted white, a seated figure.

I have been watching it, checking up on it every couple of days.  At first I took photos fairly frequently because I had no idea how long it would take before the mural was finished.

below:  19th July

a verylarge mural on the side of a building is in the process of being painted. An white outline of a seated person with their knees drawn up, one leg has been painted with a design in black

As it turns out, there is a lot of detail in the mural!  It slowly took shape.

below: 21st July

a very large mural on the side of a building is in the process of being painted. An white outline of a seated person with their knees drawn up, one leg has been painted with a design in black

below: Fast forward to today…. the mural is almost finished. …
but wait!  Isn’t that the CN tower on the shoulder?

large black and white mural by phlegm of a seated person with their knees bent up, made of tiny houses and buildings and other structures

below: Hey!  It is the CN tower.  And isn’t that the Gooderham/flatiron building?  And that building with the little dome, isn’t that on Yonge street?

close up of mural made up of toronto landmarks like the cn tower and the gooderham flatiron building

below: There’s the ROM and its ‘crystal’ too!   This is the ‘bottom’ of the figure and in this photo two things become clearer.  First, the scale of the project and just how big the mural is becomes apparent.  Second, the mural is of a person coming out of the earth, being pulled out by the roots almost.  But is it a person?  Or is it a living city?

the bottom part of a mural, man in scaffolding is still working on it, black on white, pictures of buildings.

below: The head part – play ‘spot the building’!  Is that old city hall?

head part of phlegm mural

below: Scalliwags is on one of the knees along with a lot of trees.

knees part of the mural

below: And last, the feet with more roots at the heels

feet of a person in a mural made of paintings of trees and buildings, roots growing out of the heels. satelite dish in the mural and on the building beside the mural

This project is also a part of the STEPS Initiative program.

#phlegmpaints