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Canadian exposition

Yvonne Feng. Hardship. Canada

Canada is an officially bilingual English/French nation of immense and spectacular geography, populated by people who have immigrated from all regions of the globe. For this reason, Canada is a diverse, multicultural country. This diversity is reflected in the artworks of fifty-two young Canadians from across eastern, central, and western Canada who have created contemporary art ranging from multimedia, digital photography, and pictorial soundscapes, to video and rotoscoping. For Eksperimenta!, these young artists have explored the theme of space in a variety of uniquely Canadian ways.

The participants selected include eight young Saskatchewan artists who created multimedia collages utilizing pastels, pencil, markers, and layered paper. Titles such as “Forever Moving,” “Exploring” and “A Space to Grow” indicate the artists’ fascination with space as seen in the monumentally flat, wide-open land of the seemingly never-ending Canadian prairies.

Iana Lai Josephine Yee & Salome Yeung. Food_flight

Further east, ten young artists from Manitoba explore political, social and psychological spaces. They have created works inspired by the internationally acclaimed artist, Shirin Neshat: this student series pays homage to Neshat’s influential body of work. Six students from Balmoral Hall interviewed recent immigrants to Winnipeg, Canada. Portraits of faces and body parts juxtaposed against written text portray emotional experiences both past and present. In a like manner, four students from the Winnipeg Louis Riel School Division created self-portraits to describe their own poignant life experiences as new Canadian immigrants. Using digital portraits, these students spoke of what drove them from their tumultuous homelands, full of political strife, revolution, persecution, and hardship to a new, more hopeful life in Canada.

Amy Wang, Jouyce Shin, Timothy Ho & Tina Park. Music

Further to the Eksperimenta! exhibition, students from Alberta and Manitoba play with notions of real, imagined, and psychological space. For example, “Oed und Leer”, by Andrew Vineberg, is a video, stop motion, and photography art work in which he explores “ … the various spaces that separate human beings from nature, technology, our past, our society and each other.” In a like manner, the young artist depicts the space of historical Canada – in the time of the outlaw Jesse James, who once visited the historic Exchange District of Winnipeg. Juxtaposed to Vineberg’s historical art works is his plastic modernism of 21st century life, seen in his new media work.

Aboriginal students from Argyle Alternative and Elmwood High Schools delve into themes relating to their Aboriginal cultures and teachings. Alec Peters personifies a dandelion that floats in space as embodying self-exploration. Another new media pictorial soundscape work, entitled “Universal Dimensions,” is a modernized interpretation of the medicine wheel; and a Ute prayer inspires the notion of the connectedness of life as a space in which we live and through which we move.

From a group of CyberARTS students in Toronto is a series of works exploring central Canada. Delineated in their works is the idea of the city as the space “we live in”, namely, Toronto, often considered by Canadians as the “New York” of the “North”. Short, pithy rotoscopes are connected to relate the feelings and concepts students have about living in this fast-paced, modernized, economically and culturally vibrant city.

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In all, students have explored the theme of Eksperimenta! – space – in diverse ways, ranging from the personal, to the historical, to the cultural and political. These youths have given voice to a Canada that is greatly varied and reflective of their multicultural perspectives and their sense of diversity by exploring varied Canadian landscapes, revealing their historical roots, and illustrating how Canadian youths are being affected and shaped by our postmodern world.

Joanna Black
Co-curator of the Canadian Exposition

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