Make Rugs Not War

September 18, 2008

By Stacey Ho
A shot of the "Battleground." photo by Jill Kitchener

A shot of the "Battleground." photo by Jill Kitchener

When war is a part of everyday existence, it also becomes a part of everyday culture. Driven out of home villages and encountering urban areas for the first time, mixing with disparate groups in refugee camps, Afghan weavers reflect the shared experiences of a country that has been a war zone since the Soviet occupation.

Battleground: Afghan war rugs brings together 118 rugs that reflect the lives of people cut off from Western media coverage. For curator Max Allen, the rugs, taken together, show a radical and disturbing shift towards modernity.

“The war is so spectacular and horrific,” he says, “that [weaving] traditions have been broken, except for technique. Representational tradition is broken, or exploded I guess is a better word.”

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If it ain’t Broke…

September 18, 2008

By Mike Landry
Patrick Neufeld's traditionally inspired "Deposition."

Christian Worthington's traditionally inspired "Deposition."

Seeking comfort in company, a group show between Winnipeg artists Christian Worthington and Patrick Neufeld was inevitable. Relics in a postmodern age, the artists share a deep theological concern in their art.

“If you see the show in person it becomes pretty obvious why the two of have a show together, because there’s just an old master consciousness to the images,” says Worthington. “You don’t do something once and then forget about it. Culture is built up by taking things of value and restating them over and over, every day”

Worthington’s traditional-styled paintings and Neufeld’s restrained print and encaustic works had made them aliens in a scene constantly seeking originality. On its own their work had a veneer of irony. Together the seriousness of their projects becomes apparent.

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From Fabrics to Flowers

September 18, 2008

By Mike Landry
One of Sally Ayre's new screen printed works.

One of Sally Ayre's new screen printed works.

After 15 years, Toronto-based artist Sally Ayre was ready for a change. She had made a name for herself using old photographic processes on translucent fabric that she would then layer to create images on images.

Replacing the fabric for the similarly translucent and textured Japanese paper Ayre set out to learn screen printing at Toronto’s Open Studio last Fall.

“You can only push a way of working so far and you need to shake it up a little bit,” says Ayre. “You get to a point you’ve really done all you wanted to do, and you don’t want to become redundant.”

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By Mike Landry
Onikoyi Photo Studio, Niamey, Niger, March 2008.

Onikoyi Photo Studio, Niamey, Niger, March 2008.

According to wikitravel, West Africa’s last surviving giraffe herd can be found just 45 minutes outside of Niamey, Niger. But when Montreal photographer Michel Campeau visited the French-African capital he was interested in another at-risk species—darkrooms.

Campeau’s latest project is a continuation of a book he published focusing on darkrooms in the Montreal area. Expanding his scope, he’s now working on a sequel that focuses on darkrooms around the world.

“After working for 35 years in darkrooms I finally decided to look at them,” says Campeau. “My project is about the photographic decline and the disappearance of the darkroom. That’s the reason I wanted to look at them, because they’re slowly disappearing everywhere.”

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