Mysticism: Fall 2020 – Call for Pitches and Artist Pages

During the unprecedented times of the COVID-19 crisis, artists continue to show us new ways of thinking, connecting and raising consciousness. Art can explore abstract concepts, non-linear ideas, and spiritual beliefs in various forms and incantations – the tarot, oracles, spirituality, celestial bodies, shamanism, divinity and astrology. Art and mysticism help to meditate, connect to...

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Listening to Silence

"What Carries Us" at The Rooms

What does it mean to revisit the stories we’ve been told, the stories that purport to tell us who we are? And why might we do so in the first place? This is the premise that underpins What Carries Us: Newfoundland and Labrador in the Black Atlantic, an exhibition curated by Toronto-based artist, curator, and...

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Gillian Dykeman’s Art Activates Agency

“The only thing more powerful than the revolutionary imaginary is revolutionary action. The world can be better. Can be socially just. Can have full. Employment. Can create dignity for all.” The voice belongs to Gillian Dykeman, a Fredericton-based artist, educator, cultural worker, and, in this instance, fitness instructor quasi anti-capitalist comrade.

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Postmodern Blackness in Heather Hart’s Northern Oracle

Black American visual artist Heather Hart’s series of rooftop oracles based on the four directions (East, West, North, and South) is an-ongoing series of work that offers prophetic predictions for imagining new futures. Most recently, she’s created Northern Oracle, an exhibition curated by Ann MacDonald and presented in partnership with the Africville Heritage Trust at...

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Abbas Akhavan Explores Faith, Theatre & Architecture in script for an island on Fogo

In fall of 2019, multidisciplinary artist Abbas Akhavan hung two ten-foot wide theatre curtains from a twelve-foot scaffolding on the beach in the small community of Joe Batt’s Arm on Newfoundland’s Fogo Island. The wind animated the velvet curtains, choreographing a dance between the undulating fabric and the waves in front of them, transforming the...

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Remembering Africville

Nova Scotia was once home to Africville, one of the oldest Black settlements outside of the African Continent. Africville’s oral history supports its existence as far back as the 1700s. It was located on the Bedford basin of the city of Halifax in the general area the Alexander Murray MacKay Bridge now occupies. In the...

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Relocation by “Renoviction”

New survey reveals the causes of the steep decline in Halifax’s North End artist studios

When I conducted a survey of 46 Halifax-based artists in October 2019, the number one reason they gave for leaving their North End studios was eviction/demolition. This staggering statistic comes as no surprise to artists who have been relocated in various waves of “renoviction” in the last decade.

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Atlantic Art-chitecture

Another common thread linking this new wave of Atlantic architects is how they view their field. Whereas in big architectural firms the focus is on technique and functionality, everybody I spoke to believes that the most important element of architecture is the design, and how it makes people feel.

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Call for Artist Pages and Pitches

Precarious work, burnout, funding, selling, it's all about the hustle and the grind in Art & Labour - the Summer 2020 theme of Visual Arts News, because art doesn't get a summer holiday. We’re looking for pitches, ideas, stories and exhibitions about the intersections of Art and Labour in Atlantic Canada.

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From the Archive: UNRAVELLING THE PRANKSTER

James MacSwain Canadian Artist Spotlight at the 24th Images Festival, Toronto, On, April 1st, 2011

MacSwain is a prankster, with a wicked sense of humour and a voice-over, which is idiosyncratic in its tone and timbre. The Halifax-based filmmaker initially worked with puppet theatre, and that aesthetic is evident throughout his more than 20 films made over a 30-year period. Collage has always been central to MacSwain’s practice as well — certainly with his animation films, but also with his “documentary” and even dramatic works.

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