Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Show Looks Great!

Opening Reception:

Saturday, July 17, 2:00-5:00pm with guided tour by the artists

July 10, 2010 - Aug 22, 2010 @ Gendai Gallery at JCCC

Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre
6 Garamond Court, Toronto, Ontario
(North of Eglinton, East of Don Mills Road)

Take Flemingdon Park bus #100 from Eglinton Station or Broadview Station.

Map and directions:

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Nokorimono ni wa sachi kitaru (by seema)

Up until now I had constructed about 7 pieces of work and was going for a total of 10 pieces, when looking at the 7 already completed pieces, they felt a bit rigid or stiff and weren't having the intended impact or general feel that I wanted.

(I would've made a light for each piece)

So I played around with the components of the sculptures, piling them up, to create one larger piece. This incarnation of my work feels more organic, and to me still connects to my muse of anthills, and giant termite mounds with regards to its' basic form and shape. I will be continuing to add more containers, and about 2-3 more lights. The installation will be 8'x 8'x 3'.

I've named my work after a modification of a Japanese proverb (
残り物には福がある -nokorimono ni wa fuku ga aru -luck is in the leftovers), with relation to the idea of the containers holding leftovers, remnants of home, and the idea of the container allowing one to transport parts of home elsewhere to enjoy. Bringing the nostalgia of home and happiness in the enjoyment of the food in the container.

"残り物には幸来たる(nokorimono ni wa sachi kitaru)
Leftovers Will Bring You Happiness"

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Workshop with the Wynford Seniors (Aleks)

This post is a little late; delayed by the chaos surrounding my opening the day following the workshop. June 2 Siya and I went up to the JCC to conduct a workshop with the Wynford seniors who meet there on a regular basis. In between their scheduled activities we gave a little talk about the theme of our exhibition, the collective etc. Then we went out and spoke with the seniors about what "home" means to them. Is it a fixed place or something they carry with them; is it somewhere they can go back to or is it where they live?
The first issue that came up was that many of these people, despite being born in Canada had been through the internment camps in the second world war.

A man named Frank generously spent some time telling us stories about growing up in Vancouver but being forcibly re-settled to Ontario in his late teens. To him, Vancouver is a city he knew like the back of his hand, yet he would never go back to live there because it is too painful. Home to him is now Toronto. He tells of people being shipped east and their property sold by the Canadian government. At least the Japanese in the United States could go back to their homes after the war ended; Japanese in Canada were not so lucky: boats, cars, houses were taken away. Later, they were compensated for a small fraction of their value. Frank is lucky in that most of his siblings are in Ontario as well; he has made a home here with his family.
The stories went on but the common theme which seemed to emerge was that home is where your loved ones are; or for many of these seniors home is a place you keep warm hoping your loved ones will visit.

Also had a nice chat with Ray Charles White's mom Vicky. For her, home is a place she creates now in a condo with her personal antique and art collection.
Many of the seniors now live in condos; they talk about home as a place in the past, a house in which they no longer live. Few of them thought of Japan as home.

Siya's favorite response came from the son of one of the seniors: "Home is where work opportunity presents..." which is something that had never occurred to her. It is a reality for many, making a place a home because work is there.

Just for fun we joined in on a game of bingo.

How cool are these retro bingo cards?!

Pics with me in them taken by Siya. For more:
Pic+ Video:
Watch the videos of Frank talking, many issues about being Japanese living in Canada during the war and of being in the Canadian army fighting against his own people; fascinating. Thanks Siya for recording this and for joining me that day.

This workshop brought many issues to light for me and when I returned to my paintings afterward I found myself thinking about the personal stories; mine and theirs, and how that could enter my work. My paintings for this exhibition had up to this point been concerned with very abstract pseudo scientific concepts I think now they will reflect a more personal experience of home.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Making Mountains Out of Hills (by Seema)

On a recent trip to India, when looking out onto the dry country side of Bangalore, mounds of hills, home to many termites were abound. They reminded me of the images of ant hills, which I had been thinking of in my musing for my plastic container sculptures. The hills were actually huge, and gave me some more food for thought for my creations.

Swimming in Hexagons (by reiko)

I'm almost finished 1 of 4 words and I'm happy how it's turning out. I love the natural colour of the wood so I think I will keep it bare and not add the wallpaper prints. I have stacked the pieces at various heights with spacers in between. They will be much larger than I anticipated, possibly over 6 feet long depending on the word and how I decide to present them.

Instead of using wallpaper on top of the hexagon pieces, I'm considering using it underneath the words like a base.

I'm also trying to figure out how I will mount the words. I want them to be flush to the wall. I was thinking of magnets but I'm not sure if there are magnets out there that are strong and thin enough that would keep the pieces flush to the wall. I will probably just use small nails. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

I will post some pictures soon.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sneak Peak (by Aleks)

This is a small detail of one of the paintings I am working on for this show. They will be much more layered and complex than my work usually gets. I want them to be teeming with life and multiplicity. More soon...