Meet Our New Board Members

During our Annual General Meeting on June 23, 2016, with our current board and gallery members, we elected four new members to our Board of Trustees. A warm welcome to our new Trustees and thank you to all who applied for these positions.


Shashi Bhatia

Among Shashi’s many contributions are included her founding of the Indo-Canadian Cultural Association of Durham whose programs are designed to promote tolerance and understanding among all.  She is co-chair: DRPS and Diversity Advisory Committee, member: Public Library Board, member: Multi-faith Communities of Durham, member: Durham Cultural Collective, an Influencer: Canadian Armed Forces, Chair: South Asian and Asian Heritage Festival and Chaired: fund raising initiatives for the Durham West Arts Centre. Member: Durham delegation to Turkey, China and to Trinidad to promote Durham Region and Pickering Ambassador to India. Shashi is the recipient of a number of awards for her volunteer efforts including Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee award.


Cheryl Blackman

Cheryl is Assistant Vice-President, Audience at the Royal Ontario Museum(ROM). Her responsibilities include ensuring a quality experience, managing the front of house and audience research. Cheryl is the main point of contact for the Museum’s 1300+ vibrant Volunteers, and she leads the ROM’s Community Access Network which she has grown into more than 40 partnerships with groups across the GTHA. Cheryl’s leadership and commitment to inclusion has grown this area into a highly successful part of the ROM where the Museum regularly achieves high satisfaction levels amongst visitors and wins awards for innovation in all aspects of access and community building. Cheryl has a deep belief in lifelong learning which she tapped into while completing her MBA. Cheryl’s focus was Hospitality and Tourism management. Prior to joining the ROM in 2004, Cheryl had a distinguished 16 year career at Air Canada. In her last role at the airline, she was seconded to the Terminal 1 New team and served as the Manager of Training.


Kevin Dougherty

As the Associate Dean in the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at Durham College he is responsible for the administration, and delivery of all Communications and General Education curriculum as well as the General Arts and Sciences certificate programs housed in the school.  Prior to becoming Associate Dean, he held a faculty position in the School of Business, IT and Management at Durham College for 17 years responsible for curriculum development and delivery in the areas of programming, database design and business systems analysis.  A graduate of Information Systems at Durham College he also holds a M.A. in Adult Education and Digital Technologies from UOIT.  His research focuses on the adoption of digital technologies into the teaching and learning practices of community college faculty across Ontario.  His previous governance experience includes six years as the elected faculty member to the Board of Governors for Durham College during which time he also was a member and vice-chair of the Audit and Finance Committee of the Board.


Gerard O’Neill

Gerard was born in Ireland and raised in Toronto. He graduated from the Universities of Windsor and Toronto and year retired from teaching after twenty-five extraordinary years in Durham in 2015.  He fills his days as an executive member of the Retired Teachers of Ontario, the chair of the Legends Community Garden, and avid Blue Jays fan. He loves to travel with his wife and explore the many destinations that make up our ever growing “Bucket List”. With their large, and unruly dog Daphne, he lives a friend filled quiet life in Oshawa.





Unique items by RMG Shop artisans

The RMG Shop features creations by local artisans and artists. We’ll be profiling these artists and introducing them to you. For the third instalment, we’re featuring three artists who use materials in innovative ways. Visit the shop to purchase one of these unique items!


shop artist

Courtney O’Reilly in the RMG Shop. Photo by Carla Sinclair.

Courtney O’Reilly studied Bio-Medical Sciences at the University of Guelph. During her studies at Guelph, she became interested in the overlap between her anatomy studies and yoga postures. After graduating, Courtney O’Reilly completed a yoga teacher-training course and became a yoga instructor.

Courtney’s wood burning art is created on thinly sliced trunk canvases that have been kiln dried to prevent cracking. Courtney creates because she enjoys the feeling of joy that she gets from making art. She describes this as balance, purpose and inspiration. Courtney studied science, she considers herself a self-taught artist. Her creations have hopes of instilling feelings of mindfulness and peace.

peter martin

Peter Martin with one of his inuksuk. Photo courtesy of Peter Martin.

Peter and his wife Thelma split their time between their home in Oshawa and their beloved cottage in Fenelon Falls.  This has allowed him to not only take the time to develop his talent further but also to participate in more shows. Peter still attends classes himself, mainly in Haliburton.  As he says, “You are never done learning.  There are always new techniques to learn.”

Peter generally works in Brazilian soap stone, Quebec soap stone, Alabaster stone from Spain and some stones from China.  He is currently working on a panda, carved out of aptly enough, Panda stone.  The stone most of us are familiar with is the green Quebec soap stone.  Much of it is used by the Inuit carvers that we often see.  It is quite a symbolic Canadian material. Peter’s carvings take many different forms.  He equally enjoys carving animals and landscapes.  Owls, bears, musk ox and wolves sit comfortably beside pine trees and schooners carved of stone.  The love of the outdoors and everything it encompasses shines through in Peter’s work.

callum donvan

Callum in his home making dolls. Photo courtesy of Julia Donovan.

Callum Donovan is an eleven year-old artist who lives in Whitby, Ontario with his parents, his younger brother and his beloved dog Jiggs. From about the time he was learning to walk, Callum showed a strong inclination towards expressing himself through art, preferably in three dimensions.

Last summer he began experimenting with the creation of art dolls and has been passionately constructing them ever since. They are made from a variety of materials, including paper clay, wire armature and stuffing. He hand sews all the clothes. Callum is very excited to be sharing some of the characters that live in his head and hopes people enjoy looking at them as much as he enjoys making them.

When he grows up, Callum aspires to become a professional artist, perhaps expanding into theatre and film design. Callum has recently started an art school fund and any proceeds from the sale of his dolls are being deposited in the account.

Interview with Gallery A artist Laura Madera

Laura Madera ‘s exhibition in Gallery A “The Angle of the Sun’s Rays” runs until July 24. We caught up with Laura to ask her a few questions about her exhibition and practice.

The RMG: Hi Laura. Please tell us a little about yourself.

Laura Madera: I was born in Ajax Ontario and grew up in the pavement dominated suburbs of Toronto. Growing up I spent a lot of time seeking out wilder natural places within the city. We lived close to the Don Valley and I would explore that beautiful, stinky, overgrown, (then) polluted area with friends and family any chance I got. It’s abandoned orchards, mills and woods had an affect on my imagination and ways of negotiating the world. I still draw on some of those experiences today.

In my adulthood I’ve had an itinerant life – moving almost every year. Often ping ponging back and forth from British Columbia to Ontario. Until three years ago, when I settled in Peterborough to paint full time.

In terms of artmaking, I’m an oddball watercolourist.  I have bachelors and masters degrees in fine art and mix that critical head space with engaging directly with experiences, both in the natural world and with the material qualities of watercolour in the studio.

RMG: Please tell us more about your exhibition in Gallery A.

LM: In this exhibition I use painting to poetically explore the natural world, it’s primal energies, and to approximate something of the wonder of it. I was curious what it would be like to make work from a place of interconnectedness – as a way to embody the creaturely aspects of living in a place. I wanted to paint not from a position of masterful dominance and control, but from a conversational, reciprocal position. I spent much time listening to my materials in the studio. Water, pigment, air, latex, gravity became valuable collaborators for creating diverse forms, qualities and meaning. The result is a kind of painted document of the negotiation and flows of my imagination and body with the body of work.

laura selfie

Laura Madera Selfie

RMG: Why did you apply to exhibit in Gallery A?

LM: Gallery A supports the exhibition of new and experimental work. This exhibition is the culmination of a project grant from the Ontario Arts Council to push my practice into the scale of history painting. This scale is new territory for me. Gallery A seemed like a great place to mount the work.

RMG: What inspires you? Is there a particular artist’s work that has influenced your practice?

LM: Direct experiences with light, water, weather, plants, soil, rock, natural processes and the qualities of watercolour. Poetry. Thinkers such as Wendell Berry and Ursula K Le Guin. Artists Georgia OKeefe, Charles Burchfield, Bill Jensen, Anne Truitt, Landon MacKenzie. Anyone who is curious about the world and open. Love. Vulnerability.

watercolor laura madera

Fishing, Laura Madera, 2016, watercolour on canvas, 30.5 x 35.5cm

RMG: Why watercolor?

LM: Watercolour lends itself to conversation. It’s unruly, tenacious, run run running quality is a force to invite and reckon with. It’s transparent and works with available environmental light to create colour by refracting and reflecting it back through layers of pigment. In this way it is sensitive to its environment. It’s transformative, much more than oil paint, in that it’s main ingredient needs to transform into thin air in order for the painting to be made. I could go on and on. But for these qualities and others I feel it suits my project of being with and exploring natural phenomenon. It’s as much a letting go as a building up in the studio. I’d like to think my choice of watercolour as a gesture that creates another layer of content in the work.

RMG: What do you hope visitors will feel when they visit your exhibition?

LM: If there is one thing I’ve come to understand about exhibiting art is that I can’t hope for a particular response. I enjoy the varied responses that occur. But if I were to hope for something it is that people take this exhibition as an opportunity to slow down, to stop, to look and feel whatever comes.


Meet Alex and Austin, Our YCW Summer Students

Austin Henderson is a third year student at Queen’s University, Kingston, ON, majoring in Fine Art. Alex Myrie is a second year student studying Arts Administration and Business at Bishop’s University, Sherbrooke, QC. They are our Young Canada Works students and will be leading summer camp this season.

The RMG: Why were you interested in working in an art gallery this summer?

Austin: I worked as a Gallery Interpreter the RMG last summer, and absolutely loved the experience. Last summer, I was able to learn a lot about my skills as an art instructor to young children, so I’m looking forward to exercising that skill again, and watching their little hands create projects in the studio is one of the best parts of the job. I also enjoy the atmosphere of the Gallery. The staff is so warm, friendly, and they are happy to lend their professional guidance. Since I’m considering a career in curating, this is the perfect place to be!

Alex: While majoring in Art Administration: Visual Arts, I wondered what it would be like to work in an art space. I had placed my resumes for various art positions where I knew I could use my skills and experiences. In doing so I believed it would be a great idea to focus on gallery applications since the artworks are greatly focused on the Visual Arts. I believed that working in a gallery I would be able to learn about the arts, multi-task various matters and constantly be on the go to complete daily tasks. In addition, I enjoy verbally exchanging views and perspectives with others on understanding the arts.

The RMG: What will you be doing during your placement at the gallery?

Austin & Alex: During June, we plan the summer programming based on the advertised themes released earlier in the year.  As well as designing the camp schedule, we are responsible for compiling a materials list, ordering materials, and training our volunteers.  Throughout June, we may also assist Jennifer, the Education Coordinator, with any school tour groups. Closer to the end of June, we test out some of the activities (that’s really fun!) and prepare the materials.

This year, Summer Camp will be running from July 4 – August 26. We instruct the entire camp for eight weeks, with the assistance of our wonderful volunteers and co-op students.  We really appreciate everything they do for us because we would not be able to manage without them!  Seven weeks of camp are devoted to campers aged 5-10. The week of August 2-5 is split up for toddlers and parents (in the morning) and teens (in the afternoon). In the last couple days of August, we clean out the studio and run an inventory on studio materials to prepare for fall programming. It’s crazy how fast the time goes!

alex and austin

Summer stduents Austin Henderson and Alex Myrie

The RMG: What is one thing you want to share about the RMG?

Austin: I took some classes at the RMG throughout high school, and I knew it was a gallery that was close-by that exhibited some really interesting work, but what I didn’t know until starting this job was how extensive the Gallery’s collection is! It houses over 4,500 works in the permanent collection alone, and it has an exceptional art library open for public use.

I think it’s also important for the public to know how much the RMG cares about Oshawa and greater Durham Region. RMG Fridays and Yoga in the Gallery are just two examples of many events that the RMG hosts regularly to strengthen community engagement, but so much more is currently being planned by the Gallery’s passionate staff and volunteers!

Alex: The RMG is one of the greatest and open workplaces I have been part of. Those who facilitate and maintain the gallery are amazing. They constantly work hard and diligently to allow all individuals of various backgrounds and views to have great opportunities in the gallery. They are very passionate about their work and they are always there to help one another when needed. There is a positive environment as well as vibe in the gallery where you can feel free and safe with others.

The RMG: What is your favourite museum?

Austin: Last November, I went to New York City with my school’s program, and we visited dozens of galleries, big and small, all throughout the city. However, the museum that stuck out to me most was the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Its collection is one of the best in the world, and I could easily spend weeks through its corridors. I think it’s such a special place because it exhibits everything from Ancient Egyptian artifacts and medieval armour, to contemporary artists’ works, so there really is something for everyone. Pierre-Auguste Renoir is one of my all-time favourite artists, and I distinctly remember walking into a room filled with his works, and just being awestruck. I traveled to New York again earlier this May, and paid another visit to the Met to see the Costume Institute’s annual exhibit, Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology, which was nothing short of spectacular.

Alex: By far my favourite museum is the Vatican Museum in Rome, Italy. In my final year of high school I was granted a great opportunity to visit Italy and Greece for the March Break. While touring Rome, Italy we had visited the Vatican where I was truly mesmerized by the different mediums of Renaissance art. I remember while walking through the corridors there were so many art sculptures, sewn images on massive drapes and even paintings on the ceiling. I could not believe how much detail and time was invested into each section. However, what really made me fall in love with the Vatican was when I saw The School of Athens painting on the wall, which consist of the two well-known philosophers Aristotle and Plato. I had seen the painting in my study textbook and I greatly admired the painting since then. The funny thing was it never dawned on me that I would be seeing the exact painting right before my eyes and so when I saw it in person I felt like one of the luckiest persons in the world.

alex and austin

Summer stduents Austin Henderson and Alex Myrie

The RMG: What is your first memory of art?

Austin: My affinity for art-making probably stems from the movies I watched as a child, specifically anything by Walt Disney, and The Wizard of Oz, which is still my all-time favourite. I would draw the characters on my Magna Doodle so often that I went through several of them! I think those films inspired me to create images based strongly on my own imagination, and without them, I really don’t think I’d have the same passion for art that I do today.

Alex: My first memory of art is a bit faint as I was very young at the time. I remember my mom and I always making craft activities together whether it was painting pictures with my big paintbrush or creating animated designs with hole punched paper. I also remember when I got up Saturday mornings I would go downstairs by the big window where my paint was set-up and feel so excited to paint. My mom has always encouraged me to explore and be creative since I was young and it has led me to never look back as well as embrace my admiration for the arts.

The RMG: Aside from schoolwork, what do you do within your university during the year?

Austin: For the past two years, I’ve worked on the Creative Team for Vogue Charity Fashion Show, an annual student-run fashion show at Queen’s. This past year, my job as one of the Creative Directors required me to conduct photo shoots, conceptualize the show’s theme, attend weekly meetings, and create any graphics or promotional material for the show. This year, we raised $37,000 towards the Happy Soul Project, a Kingston-based charity focused on embracing differences. Aside from that, I volunteered as an Orientation Week Leader in the fall, which was a crazy fun experience! I also work with the Queen’s Smith School of Business as an Illustrator for the Queen’s Business Review, and as a student representative for the Fine Art Departmental Student Council.

Alex: As academics are important I also love to do activities outside of school. I enjoy volunteering in my community such as helping the Bishop’s Annual Fashion Show, sitting on various school committees, participating in the art club and tending to the duties as a Student Representative on the Student Council. I also enjoy doing yoga, reading, swimming with my friends and volleyball. I am hoping in the months to come I will be able to take up snowboarding again!

Glass artists in the RMG Shop

The RMG Shop features creations by local artisans and artists. We’ll be profiling these artists and introducing them to you. For the second instalment, we’re featuring two glass artists. Visit the shop to purchase one of these unique items!

glass casting

Angela Legere casting glass at Sheridan College. Photo courtesy of Angela Legere.

Angela Legere is a glass artist from Oshawa, Ontario.  She is currently in her final year of the Craft and Design Program at Sheridan Collage where her major is in glass casting and kiln forming. Angela enjoys making functional objects although her main focus is body casting and working with the female form.  Angela is looking forward to embarking on her new career.

After three years of exploring glass making in various forms, Angela has found a passion for mold making. Most of her studio time is spent in the sand casting area or kiln casting room preparing molds and learning about new materials. She enjoys making functional objects although her main focus is body casting and working with the female form.


Rhonda Davey’s jewellery in the RMG Shop. Photo by Alex Ross.

Rhonda Davey has been a creative artistic person, making handmade items since her youth. She finds it very rewarding seeing a finished item after spending hours coming up with the idea, figuring out what materials to use and then completing the task.

When she was young, she worked with her grandfather in his workshop building furniture. She was in grade school when she started to make her own jewellery. In her jewellery design she uses a combination of glass and acrylic beads with semi-precious stones, memory wire, beading wire and chain. She finds inspiration from nature and architecture.

Her passion is working with stained glass to design unique panels and sun catchers. She was inspired by stained glass church windows and wanted to learn what goes into making them. She uses the copper foil technique, which involves each piece of glass to be hand cut, the edges are smoothed with a grinder and copper foil is wrapped around each piece. It is then laid out on the paper pattern and soldered together.
Whether she is painting or working with glass, all of her pieces have been hand crafted with attention to detail and high quality materials.