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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Women in Art and Community

Women in Art and Community

There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.
-Michelle Obama

Alexandra Luke would be proud. While we can only speculate on how she saw the future of a small building on Simcoe Street that housed works by the Painters’ 11 and other Canadian artists, fifty years later the Robert McLaughlin Gallery (RMG) has since been known as the space where art, thought, and community thrive.

March’s theme for RMG’s First Fridays paid special attention to the women who have, and still put their energies into pieces that inspire discussion and -hopefully, progress.

The night began with a combined piece by the women’s choir and senior dance ensemble from O’Neill Collegiate and Vocational Institute (OCVI). Choreographer Jenni MacNeil explained how the students working together symbolized their hope for rising above hatred.

“When many different art forms can come together under a common theme, that in and of itself is a beautiful model of diversity and tolerance, and how we see ourselves reflected in each other,” she said.
Later in the evening guests were invited to tour the gallery with in-house expert Steven Bland, and saw how some women in art celebrated womanhood in themselves, or ones they admired.

RMGFridays_March2017_LucyVilleneuve (151) Of course the discussion landed on Beyoncé. Specifically a metal work of Beyoncé’s silhouette fused to an energy source.

“(The artist’s) inspiration for this (piece) comes from hydro towers…her theme is to put power and the feminine together to show the power of women, she’s not making a joke of calling this (piece) ‘Beyoncé,’ because she is one of the most powerful women in the entertainment community… So really, it’s honouring Beyoncé,” Bland explained to admirers.

However, not far from the power piece, was another metal work of a woman’s body, as a bench.
Perspective, of sorts.

Meanwhile, musicians Trish Robb, entertainment specialist DJ Lynz kept guests in an upbeat and mellow vibe, while Caitlin and Cassidy McAuliffe, also known as the Woodland Sisters (@woodland.sisters), led an environment-conscientious workshop for more hands-on guests in the upper and lower levels respectively.

For more art and perspective, or a great night out that celebrates local creativity, head to the next First Fridays at RMG on April 7, at 7:00 p.m.