Opening of new exhibitions at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery

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By Lethbridge Herald on February 17, 2022.

Herald photo by Dale Woodard Artist Emily Neufeld stands in front of her exhibit Prairie Invasions: A Hymn – that particular exhibit modeled after a house in Hay Lakes – at the Southern Alberta Art Gallery on Thursday morning.

Dale Woodard – Lethbridge Herald

Art lovers will have the chance not only to see new works, but also to meet the artists themselves as the Southern Alberta Art Gallery Maansiksiksikaitsitapiitsinikssin presents three new exhibitions from today until April 24.

The public is invited to attend tonight’s Opening Reception from 7-9pm.

The keynote will take place at 7:30 p.m. and guests will have the opportunity to view the exhibits and meet the artists.

On the bill, Prairie Invasions: A Hymn by Emily Neufeld, Excitation Station by Les Ramsay and Gifts by Nicholas Wade.

The landscapes of southern Alberta through the eyes of young people are also highlighted in Cultivating Community: Exploring Youth Perspectives Through Rural Photography.

In 2018, Neufeld traveled the Prairies to investigate abandoned farmhouses built by migrant settlers in the 19th century. Once there, she worked with natural and man-made materials she found in and around homes to create sculptures. Before leaving, she documented her actions in photographs.

“I’ve worked on different homes that are at the end of their life cycle for quite a long time,” Neufeld said. “So whether it’s a house slated for demolition in the Lower Mainland or abandoned farms on the Prairies. I’ve also done abandoned fishing shacks on the east coast.

“I go into these different buildings that are going to be demolished or that are falling down and I look for the stories that I can see or the lives of the people who lived there and I have a moment of pause and empathy for their lives before their homes were destroyed I believe that objects and homes are the repositories of our memories and certain smells and things will bring back vivid memories.

During her travels, Neufeld said she would talk with community members and farmers to get as many stories as possible about the history of the house.

“There is a change in the farming lifestyle and a lot of people are resisting the change and that makes sense but this land has gone through a lot of change before farming was a thing here too and it is interesting to think about the ways life comes and goes and how western colonizers here are also not part of the natural history of this place,” she said. “When we go back to the good old days, it there are many layers of good old times and it kind of depends on the person’s perspective of what good old days they’re yearning for, so I’m looking at introducing species and invasive species and I’m thinking of our farmers and to our colonizers who introduce species that arrive and find a way to live with what is already there. Or are we an invading species that totally takes over and wipes out the life that was here before us? That’s why I use a lot up things like brown-eyed Susans and prairie grasses as well as barn swallows.

Ramsay is a Vancouver-based Métis artist whose embroideries, paintings, and carvings begin with the oddities, trinkets, and scraps of local artisans and foreign artists.

In Excitation Station, his depictions of marine scenes, forest life, and trinkets mask a keen awareness of the material surplus that contributes to worsening climate catastrophes in Canada.

Wade is a retired art professor from the University of Lethbridge who continues his artistic practice while living part-time in Lethbridge. Wade’s installation reflects his many years of service as a teacher and creative practitioner, displaying gifts received from students, friends and fellow artists, accumulated over 40 years.

Cultivating Community: Exploring Youth Perspectives Through Rural Photography explores youth perspectives through rural photography, said Adam Whitford, acting curator of the Southern Alberta Art Gallery.

The initiative is in partnership with Family and Community Support Services Youth Initiative, Kaleidoscope Inclusive Youth Programming and the City of Taber – Arts, Culture, and Recreation Department.

“This exhibit is made by nine high school students from Taber,” Whitford said. “They brought in a photographer and worked with the students and once their photos were developed, I held a workshop with the students to explain how you organize an exhibition, what is organized and how you display your photos and tell a story. story through objects.”

Each student, aged 13 to 18, received a disposable camera.

“Some students took them on trips across borders and got a wide variety of photos,” Whitford said. “We had them printed in January and just a month ago I had my workshop with them and worked with them to choose what their best photos were.”

Whitford said the SAAG was approached because of the “South” in its name.

“We’re not just the art gallery of Lethbridge, we’re an art gallery for all of southern Alberta. I think that signals that we are open to some community initiatives and sometimes if people approach us with projects like this, we are happy to showcase emerging artists from southern Alberta.

Following its presentation at the gallery, the exhibition will travel through Taber’s MD, making stops in the town of Taber, Vauxhall Library and Barnwell Library, allowing the art to be more accessible to contributing photographers and communities. they live in.

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