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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Finding Hygge in Community

By Stephanie Pollard

November’s First Fridays at RMG was a night of Hygge (HUE-gah), where artists and art lovers spent the evening celebrating good wine, good music and good company surrounded by (flameless) candles, blankets, and rock lamps.

Treasured in Danish culture, Hygge describes taking time to enjoy life’s simple pleasures like contentment and spending time with loved ones. In RMG’s case hygge was sitting in companionable silence cuddling partners, parents or children (once they sat still), and listening to two people and a guitar sing about what makes them feel love and contentment.

Musicians Brooklyn Doran and Rory Taillon stopped by the gallery as part of their Canada-wide tours, playing singles off their albums (Paper Wings and Only Whispers respectively), and taking turns to sing duets for individual performances. Brooklyn let the audience know how much the atmosphere meant to her, compared to what she expects when playing a concert.

“It’s really nice to play somewhere that I can wear comfy sweaters and talk about how I came to write the songs I’m performing for you guys- usually when I’m playing concerts in bars I have to scream for anyone to hear me,” she quipped.

Meanwhile, things were a bit louder downstairs.

Occuply Oshawa was organized chaos as the series showcased art and community activism through stickers. Also known as slap tagging, sticker bombing, or sticker slapping, guests opened themselves to a barrage of colour, drawn-over political portraits, comic bubbles and cuss-word laden opinions. Like the space it was curated in, Occuply Oshawa looks at the democratic powers of urban art, and how it’s used to force difficult conversations among readers.

Another conversation guests could have was with RMG’s current artist in residence, visual artist Carolyn Code. Originally from Peterborough, the jewelry maker turned sculptor applied to the gallery’s program to explore the process of creating sculptures with paper.

“It’s always something I wanted to try, so when I started my residency I brought different types of paper and objects and just started playing around with them,” she explained. So far, her favourite piece is a delicate structure of paper bowls strung together and placed according to size on the wall.

“I’m not sure if I want to add to add more pieces, but I’m glad that opportunities like this (the residency) exist in Oshawa where I can spend time with the process and still be close to home,” Code said.

Join us on Friday, December 1 for our next First Fridays at RMG Heavy Hitters at 7 p.m.