Sunday, January 2, 2011
In August I visited the series of exhibitions “When thirteen moons entwine” organized by Toma Ewen of the “Moon Rain centre”. I came to Canada in November 1996 and one of my hopes then was to develop as a tapestry artist here without knowing that’s not an easy task. Only once in 2004 a saw a tapestry exhibition in Toronto - where I live - from Joanne Soroka, at the Univ. of Toronto. After that I learned that I will have to travel if I want to see more. Also, from my experiences trying to exhibit tapestry here I noticed with surprise that a big percentage of the people don’t even know what a tapestry is. So, when I learned about this event I decided to visit with my husband who took it as a summer weekend trip.
After spending the night with our daughter in Montreal we left that Friday morning for Ottawa planning to see 5 of the exhibits. The first place we visited was the Shenkman Arts Centre in Orleans where we saw several Toma Ewen’s tapestries. I couldn’t believe it! Finally I started to relive the vibrancy of tapestry art in my country, Argentina and wonder why this is not happening more often here. I loved her tapestries indeed. Her style is very closed to what I used to see in my previous home. Then we headed for Gatineau to Gallerie Montcalm, situated inside the Town Hall to see the European “Avec eau ou sans eau” miniatures international exhibit. They were amazing works. I confirmed that miniatures have become an important part of the tapestry world. Then we went to Espace Pierre Debain in a cute Cultural Centre. Works from many artists! I was flabbergasted and remembered the many times I’ve heard in Toronto that this is a dead art. The last to see for the day were the several tapestries in the boardroom of the municipal building of the town of Val de Monts situated in the middle of a beautiful mountainous landscape. And they opened the room especially for us! What a luxury! I believe the councilors must have been felling warmed by these colourful and textured works hanging on the walls around them.
Last but not least, on Saturday we went to the Moon Rain Centre to see the installations there. We travelled through a beautiful area, villages, houses surrounded by hills, lakes and woods. The trip wasn’t long but, suddenly, our GPS stopped working for lack of signal. Luckily I had directions I received from the artist in our previous email exchange. Without them it would have been impossible to arrive. I was greeted by her and toured the place. The studio, a cozy round cabin showed the participants artwork and in a corner the loom with what she usually works. Nearby is the place where she lives all year round. I think a person must love solitude a lot to be there, especially in winter. Weaving surrounded by that silence must be very fulfilling for her. And then we walked by the thirteen installations in the fields surrounding the buildings. The works were very interesting and very contemporary. Far from what many would consider tapestry art from the traditional point of view. In fact the essence of all that was the communion with nature and understanding of the environment. I walked the steep path asking myself: How did they do that? Weavings of different kind hanging from trees, staked to a hill or floating on a little stream. Textile constructions built on the terrain. I wonder what will be left from them after standing the harsh Quebec winter.
I returned to Toronto with my spirit full of joy and hoping these kind of events will be repeated.