I’ve been working on several art projects as once. I’ll be completing the linocut from my last post. Meanwhile, I’ve taken some time to edit linocuts and poems for printing. When I get the physical postcards back from the printer, I’ll show them to you.
As I work and go about my days, part of me is always contemplating the climate of hatred in North America–the new president of the U.S., his withering executive orders, the recent murder of 6 muslim men at worship in Quebec City, Canada….
I’ve been thinking about hatred, which when left unexamined seems to me the curse of our species. Perhaps there are some people in the world who have never felt hatred, but I believe these would be in the great minority. Hatred, being a human emotion, is something any of us can feel.
I have found myself wishing to abolish hatred. However, when I’ve thought more closely about this, I realize that the greatest ill is not the hatred in our hearts. If we do the hard work of deeply looking at ourselves, we can develop the capacity to understand why we hate–what pain we have suffered that the hatred has arisen from–and not project this onto scapegoats. We have the capacity, then, to turn aside from violence of word and action. Instead, I see the greatest ill is when influential people stoke hatred and create scapegoats to gain power. This is what is most disturbing to witness at this time, both here in North America and overseas.
I didn’t know if I’d write about this on what is an art blog. Or tell you how fantastic the women’s march in Toronto on January 21st was. However, since I don’t work in a vacuum and since we are living in a critically important time in history, you have this post from me. The photo I’ve chosen is an antidote to hatred that I took several years ago while visiting friends in Saskatchewan.
We watched the U.S. election closely from Canada. In the wake of the outcome, I have felt fear and sadness. Yesterday, I headed off to the Art Gallery of Ontario to be amongst art works that helped me feel calmer.
Today I thought of posting two oil paintings I did in 2008. The first is called Closeup, the second, Sight. At the time, they expressed feelings of being a witness to hard times. The women in the paintings are wounded, that is obvious. But they are also piercing witnesses, very present and connected to the life force of nature. The works seem no less appropriate today.
It’s been a radiant fall in Toronto and is just past the peak now. On an abnormally warm day (it’s going up to 19 degrees celsius) and before the leaves fall any further, here’s three photos from the past few weeks. The middle photo of the maple is on the University of Toronto campus–on Philosopher’s Walk. The last photo of the flaming oak against the blue sky is from Evergreen Brickworks.
It’s fall in Toronto. Our election is over and we do have a new Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, from the Liberal Party. The Blue Jays are in a do or die situation. And the glorious leaves are shining gold. Here’s a photo I took late last week while returning home from a visit with a friend.
It’s federal election day in Canada. In honour of that, and after voting earlier this morning, I’m posting this portrait I painted of our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, in 2009. It was autumn then, as now, and I happened to have some ornamental gourds in my apartment. I placed one of them on his head to counteract his severe nature and policies. He is running for reelection today and we’ll know later if he and his Conservative Party will remain in power.
I’ve been very affected by the report of Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission that came out last week. The widespread extreme abuse of aboriginal children by the government and churches who ran residential schools was aptly named cultural genocide. In addition to presenting chilling historical testimonies of survivors and noting the thousands of children who died in the schools, the Commission presented many recommendations to address the ongoing effects of racism on the entire society–aboriginal and non.
The painting in this post is one I made in 2008. I send it out to honour the aboriginal peoples of Canada.
Here’s another photograph I took in Bay de Verde on my travels in Newfoundland in August. I liked the simplicity and starkness of this particular view which I photographed for the strong shapes and the atmosphere of the village.