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Register for Creative Workshops Sat. Nov. 18th, 2017

What is it?

The Corktown Community Creations Workshops are your opportunity to experiment with expressive arts therapy, basic jewelry composition, and fabric arts. Our intimate “hands on” art sessions are guided by our collaborative group of artists and designed for participants ages 8 and upwards. Each session is 2 hours long and consists of 3 – 40 minute workshops.

Who are the Collaborative Artists?

  • Georgia Fullerton- Full Fine Art
  • Erin Ademoglu – Twisted Metal In Motion
  • Sylvia Welsh – Collaboration Curators

What’s in it for you?

At completion of the 2 hour creative session each participants will take home:

  1. An expressive piece of personalized art on canvas paper or board. (40 minutes)
  2. A piece of convertible up-cycled jewelry. (40 minutes )
  3. An improvisational piece of fabric art . (40 minutes)

 How much does it cost?

Each session is $45.00 per participant, inclusive of all materials.

Cash payment accepted at the door.

When is it ?

Saturday, November,  18th, 2017

Session A: 11:00am – 1:00pm

Session B: 1:30pm – 3:30pm

Session C: 4:00pm – 6:00pm

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Application Submission Open until September , 2016

sewThe 2 Hands Create event curated market place is just  around the corner along with summer.

School is wrapping up and end of semester fashion shows, and exhibitions  are almost finished. So for all those procrastinators  and emerging artists we are thinking of you.

The application process will remain open  until September, 2016.

I know I won’t see any submissions for the energy harvesting dress that charges your phone , but  this is a great opportunity for all those emerging artists who are looking for inspiration and support to carry the them through the summer.

So all those emerging artists who are just wrapping up the school year, it’s your  chance to apply. We still have a few spaces to fill, so hurry.

There are three more weeks to get your shit together and apply.

Follow the link to apply 2 Hands Create !

Post Script: I attended Digifest at the Corus Queens Quay where I saw the prototype energy harvesting dress.

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Call For Artists Application Launch March 30th, 2016

The original business framework of Studio Visuals,  the gallery was based on renting the whole 700 square feet of space to a single artist. That type of buisness model is no longer sustainable in the era of the online store and this morphed economy. Regardless of technology, market research shows that people are still very much interested in  products which they can touch &  feel.  Inspired by other arts marketplaces in the downtown core  who boast of waiting list of artists, we feel there is capacity and a market  for artists to interact in a actual physical space in a  community.  Studio Visuals is  the brick  and mortar space where2 Hands Create.art market space  will be  held.The garage door will open again in the summer and fall of 2016 for  2 Hands Create.

The Collaboration Curators experience of last summer’s pop up shops at Studio Visuals were the catalysts for  2 Hands Create. experiment. Last  summer’s Pop Up Shops expectations of heavy foot trafficked escapades were dashed by the corporate and city planners of the Pan Am Games. While the Pan Am games sounded like a great foot traffic magnet, things did not work out as planned. The cement barriers and chain link fence materialized to keep the athletes from escaping  and  prevented city visitors from exploring Queen Street East between Sumach and River.  Corktown businesses, who had readied themselves for the dilluge of shoppers  were all foiled. It was lonely on our little strip of  Toronto.  All the foot traffic was  diverted into the Distillery District. By the time  the barriers were gone, a cold and windy Autumn was upon us. Not discouraged, the garage door opened for a one day event, the Autumn Light Creative Collective and low and behold the foot traffic appeared. The energy from the neighbourhood and artists was encouraging, supportive and an inspirational stepping stone to 2 Hands Create..  It is the next experiment, taking us on the path to  identifying  a sustainable arts business framework in this new economy.

2 Hands Create. will be looking for emerging and seasoned artists, makers creators and designers from Toronto who would like to submit applications to become a part of our curated market place. We will choose 8 -16 artists & designers to creatively merchandise  and sell Fashion , Fashion Accessories, Home Decor, New Media, Paintings and Drawings created  by your 2 Hands.

If you are an  artist, maker, designer or  creator, we invite you to come together to network, collaborate, encourage, inspire,  support each other &  interact with the community. Explore our call and  apply to participate in our seasonal bricks and mortar  curated arts market space.

The call for artists  will launch on the 2 Hands Create   website  on March 30th , 2016.

The garage door will open again.

 

 

 

Autumn

Autumn Light Creative Collective

It is the summer’s great last heat,
It is the fall’s first chill: They meet

-Sarah Morgan Bryan Piatt

Erin and Sandra had been brainstorming on how to create events in Toronto and unite and collaborate with artists long before I met Erin. Our universes separate yet parallel had grazed one another. My meeting with Erin was serendipitous. 

Sitting side by side as strangers participating in a parent school council meeting. The drone of voices took me to another zone. There I found myself admiring and drawing Erin’ earrings, thinking to myself “those would make a great pair of earrings”.

Art has the power to align like minded spirits, Erin noticed my drawings and initiated a conversation.  As a result Erin the effervescent maker of jewelry  partook in the Corktown Collective Pop Up  Shop with us this past summer.

My draft drawing of Erin’s earring’s long discarded, our universes united, Erin has led me to a new labrynth of ladies creative.

Take in the  beautiful fall collections of Erin’s jewelry designs, Twisted Metal In Motion, Sandra Iannucci’s  clothing design, Gypsy Circus, Daniellle and Szonja’s  Earth & Water Designs art jewelry and body products    & the unique creations of Groovy Drums. 

 Join us in the spirit of collaboration and the beauty of fall and let’s celebrate with the ladies as they present the Autumn Light Creative Collective.

From here on out, the temperatures begin to drop and  the garage door will not open again  before the summer solstice.

So do bundle up and join us at  Studio Visuals, 503 Queen St East, between 12 noon until 8pm on Sunday October 18th, 2015.

See you then

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Jamaican Artist Joshua Higgins

 

 

Joshua Higgins

 

Joshua has proved himself to be a Jamaican fine artist influenced, but not defined by his tropical origins. A 1978 graduate of the Jamaica School of Art, who continues to specialize in painting and drawing. As a graduate of the Jamaica School of Art, he understudied with Barrington Watson and Alex Cooper for several years after graduation.

In the early 70’s Joshua created agricultural literacy guides for JAMAL.  In the late 70’s he taught art at St Mary’s High School and Wolmer’s Boy’s School in St Mary’s Jamaica. In the early 80’s he lived in New York and worked advertising and model making. In then 90’s he led a mural project in south side of Kingston to bring literacy, training and peace to urban youth gangs.

Over the span of his nearly three decades in art;he consistently brings those influences to bear in processing his experiences through his paintings, which are characterized by passion, clarity, diversity and vigor. His current portfolio showcases a range of works that is as expansive as it is expressive, seemingly unhurried, yet never outpaced by the cosmopolitan global village in which he now operates. Joshua is vibrant, visionary, eloquent artist, who is rooted in the Jamaican community.

Joshua is currently using his experience to explore the assimilation his art with fabrics, laser and 3D technologies to further  his capabilities as a creator, which will  influence future generations of artists.

Joshua has been constantly promoting  change to the fabric of Jamaican society through the arts. Higgins’s art graces the halls of international institutions, organizations, banks and private collectors.

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Joshua is currently using his experience to explore the  assimilation his art with fabrics, laser and 3D technologies to further  his capabilities as a creator, which will  influence future generations of artists.

In February 2015 Joshua Higgins sponsored the premiere showing of “They Call Me Barrington”.The two-act documentary film is 50 minutes in length and is based on the life and works of Jamaica’s master painter Barrington Watson. The film  premiered on Sunday  February 1st at the Carib Cinema in Kingston Jamaica. The film is the second of Lennie Little-White’s trilogy on Jamaican icons in the arts. The first film was based on Rex Nettleford and the subsequent film will be based on Miss Lou.

Joshua Higgins Sponsors Film Showing

 

In 2013, Dr. Alafia Samuels & Former Jamaican Prime Minister P.J Patterson celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the University of West Indies, Cave Hill, Barbados by donating  Joshua Higgins painting “Enrapture”.

Dr. Alafia Samuels & Former Jamaican Prime Minister P.J Patterson celebrate the University of West Indies, Cave Hill Barbados 50th Anniversary by handing over Joshua Higgins painting "Enrapture".

 

Enjoying the exhibition

So here is what went down  in the Toronto African Canadian Art scene in 2007 .

Celebration ! opened in honour of Caribana’ s 40th year anniversary and is a milestone event for both the gallery and the artist. That year marked the fifth year Studio Visuals had been in business in Corktown and the first time that Joshua Higgins had exhibited his art in giclee format in Canada. The art was exquisitely framed by Farouk our ever supportive framer. The vibrant colours and characters jumped off the canvas. As one viewer put it “A refreshing yet spiritual portrayal of Jamaica”. The another artist wrote in the guest book “Your work represents the more vibrant side of life and abstracts it complexities”.  Joshua has painted on a full time basis for the past 30 years using Jamaica as his studio which he describes as “a violent , dynamic, creative place, which is his muse”. Art from Jamaica of this caliber has never been seen in Toronto before.

Ms Anne Marie Bonner the Jamaican Council General in Canada (pictured in the photo receiving a gift from Josh and the gallery ) opened the event with words of praise for Joshua and his art.

It was a smashing event with Mento Music in the air. Appleton Rum sponsored the opening event in part with smooth libations and the ever dependable Welsh sisters threw down some wicked platters of food, which were gobbled up by the attendees and washed down with Sunshine Shakes from Ms Joanne Anderson .

 

 

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Written by Michael Edwards for the Jamaican Gleaner September 2010

One of the highlights for Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on his recent visit to Jamaica was the presentation, by Prime Minister P.J. Patterson, of a large painting by one of Jamaica’s leading artists. The Prime Minister made the presentation during a reception at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Montego Bay. 

The piece, entitled “Unity”, was conceived and executed by painter Joshua Higgins, who said he used the opportunity of the commission to make a statement – in a positive manner – about issues of common interest to both countries.

“Whether you’re in Africa, Latin America or the Caribbean, in order to succeed in this globalized scenario, you need unity and co-operation. What I really tried to focus on with this work is what I visualize as the emerging class, in Jamaica, Venezuela or in any other developing country.That emerging class is seeking to achieve greater social mobility, to move up so to speak, through education and through increased economic activity. Basically, this painting speaks to a shared vision and consciousness and a belief in the possibility of a better life. I really feel that we as Jamaican artists need to first of all be more aware and then to reflect more of the socio-political realities that face us as people of the Americas in this day and age,”  Higgins  said. “Our neighbours in Latin America have been doing it and I think we need to do more in that regard.

The move to address social and geo-political concerns through art is one that the career artist hopes others will emulate.As cognizant as he is of the need to make such statements, Higgins also realizes the demands of the medium and the occasion.

Joshua noted that “It is important, in a circumstance like this, to be able to cut across linguistic barriers. In essence, the painting must have a language that is unique to it and yet a language that is universal, in the sense that the meaning can be clearly ascertained by any viewer regardless of background.

Reports are that the President was immediately taken with the canvas and that its message was indeed not lost on him.[/tab]

dancehall

While much of the attention at the recent launch of Dr Carolyn Cooper’s book Sound Clash was on the author, dancehall luminaries like Capelton and former opposition leader Edward Seaga, another Jamaican was making his mark on the proceedings as well as on the product.

In 2004, fine arts painter Joshua Higgins had the honour of having his work, entitled “The Dancehall”, chosen as the cover image for the book.

Higgins says the author was instrumental in having the image chosen and impressed on her publishers, New York-based Palgrave Macmillan, the appropriateness of the image for the work.

“She endorsed it from the beginning,” he says. “The publishers have their own art department and thousands of works that they could have chosen from or otherwise created on their own.”

Higgins further states that for his work to be chosen is an affirmation, not only of the ability of Jamaican art to stand up to the scrutiny of an international entity, but also that alternative avenues for promotion of the visual arts do exist and are fruitful with the right approach.

“The negotiation process was quite an intense one,” he says, “with several contacts between the publishers and myself. A professional approach on my part helped to sway the publishers to accepting the image.”

For her part, Dr Cooper said she readily put forward the image, which Higgins had given to her previously. “The publishers initially wanted to use some kind of computer-generated image, that wasn’t even showing full human figures,” she says.

“But I insisted that they use the image from Joshua instead and looking at it, they agreed.” She added that the publishers also agreed to the artist having his website address printed on the back cover.

“I think its important that our painters and writers go forward even as the music has gone forward and continues to do. Thus as the book succeeds then Joshua will succeed and we will have a model for other Jamaican artists and creative people to build their careers.

Dr Cooper’s previous work – the series Noises in the Blood also used Jamaican art works, particularly from Barrington Watson and Dawn Scott.

Josh Higgins & Professor Rex Nettleford take in Higgins's "Dance Hall" in 1990.

 

 

 

Empty-Space

A Grey Matter Project

The Corktown Collection of Creatives consists of a City Sky Memory Maker, an Urban Realist,  a Quintisential Quilter, an Errant Modest, a Visually Articulate Rebel, and a Purveyor of Pennies and Pearls. We are  sewn together through the fabric of life.

Sandra Sierra is the City Sky Memory Maker. A visual artist from Bogata Columbia, who focuses lately on the sky of the city where she was born. The theme of her work and painting has become a tool which allows her to maintain the connection with her memories. Sandra and I are some of the Mom costume creators behind our children’s school drama production of the Wizard of Oz. Sandra’s city themed abstracts will act as catalysts to trigger your memories.

Hollis Baptiste is an Urban Realist who perseveres as an Outsider. Hollis’  abstracts and surreal works illustrate a  subversive commentary with social and political messages. Hollis and I are Collaborators from the past. Hollis has explored masks, found objects and recycled materials for over 20 years.

Sau-Fann Lee is the a Quintisential Quilter and the evil genius behind the Handmade Hand-Me-Down Quilt Shoppe and empire.  Responding to the massive waste generated by everyday life (and growing children), Sau-Fann is trying to recycle and re-use as much as possible. Sau Fan subscription to the collection are beautiful up-cycled objects, that are functional as well as collectible. Sau Fan is my neighbour  in Corktown and  fellow children’s costume maker.

Yvonne Welsh is the Errant Modiste.  She is an Artist, Fashion & Costume Designer, Collaborator and the  Gypsy in search of the marvelous, to share with you. We are sisters creating products incorporating fashion and  design with the art from a small body of Joshua Higgins works. The Errant Modest is sharing her handcrafted accessories with you.

Joshua Higgins is the ever Visually Articulate Rebel artist, hailing from Jamaica. He is currently researching and developing his next major body of work using the mediums of digital photography, canvas and fabric. Joshua is my ardent supporter in all of my creative endeavors and contributes inspiration for this Grey Matter Project.

I am Sylvia Welsh, the Purveyor of Pennies and Pearls. I have been collecting beads and creating jewelry from my  travels for the past 25 years. I am offering  you an unusual combination of Sterling Silver, West African handcrafted beads, Pennies and Pearls.

I am also the Collaboration Curator and I offer you this Collection of Creatives.

Enjoy!!

 

 

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Corktown Collection of Creatives Pop Up Shop

In 2003  I opened Hollis Baptise’s exhibition, Masks, Faces and Profiles at Studio Visuals. In 2009, I held the last exhibition and closed the garage door.

I viewed it as a  success because I tried, but twelve years ago the Studiovisuals suffered from low foot traffic and the neigbourhood suffered the symptoms of sketchy. Sketchy as in a fine duo of constabulary officer’s foot chase ending with dude on my front window at gunpoint, folks enjoying a bit of crack and  a post robbery rummaged cash till in my doorway. The most classic element of sketchy was the night of Hollis Artist’s talk. I  had closed the  garage door because the  space was  jammed. My sister was late and had attempted to call from the pay phone at the corner of Queen and River.  She was approached by another  young lady who was under the threat of a pimp beat down if  she found out Sonia was working the corner. Un-benowst to Sonia, that was a “Working Ladies Corner”.

Twelve years later the corner of Queen & River is full of condos, a lovely Corktown Commons Park for Elly to play in with his friends and the Pan Am Athletes Village is just a stones throw away. Foot traffic is a problem no more, so what better  time to Pop Up the garage door once again for a hip cadre of art, jewelry and art inspired products.

So hold the dates and make your way down to 503 Queen Street  East in the extremely gentrified urban Corktown for  Collaboration Curator’s   Collection of Creatives Pop Up Shop.

We will be open only on the weekends of Pan and Para Pan Am Games.

Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays, 11:00 am to 4:00pm

July 10th – 26th  August 7th – 15th , 2015.

Opening Reception Friday July 10th,  7pm – 10pm.

Closing Reception Saturday August 22nd,  8pm – 11pm.

See you soon !

 

 

 

 

WeNeedtoTalk71

Arts and Culture in Saudi Arabia

In the 20th century, six thousand and six hundred and twenty nine miles away from home, all forms entertainment were banned including art galleries, movies, live theatres and  public gatherings. Artistic development outside of religion was not encouraged, representation of people and animals was not allowed. Geometric, floral, abstract works and calligraphy dominated the visual arts. Could you imagine a place in the world where contemporary art as we know it was not allowed to be expressed in public?

Post Gulf War Saudi Arabia, a strange and intriguing ancient world. The promise of jobs with tax-free lucrative salaries & free accommodations has lured female medical professionals for years. Our eyes focused on dollars, travel and men, but not necessarily in that order. We gave up our passports, dressed according to the code of orthodox Islam by wearing abayas and covered our faces when necessary. We followed the restriction on women in public. We sat separately in specially designated family sections of  restaurants. Our travel destinations within the kingdom restricted.

Artist Sarah Abu Abdallah is  pushing the boundaries of restriction and expressing sophisticated commentary on the various elements of her highly controlled life. In her video installation “Saudi Automobile”, Sarah toys wih the idea of becoming a self mobile individual. Sarah buys herself a car, albeit a wreck and paints it diligently with light pink paint. Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world which prohibits women from driving. Upon completion of her task, Sarah in her paint splattered abaya; retreats defeated to the passenger seat of her car. A true reflection of the fact that Sarah may never be able to drive in her country.

Our artistic expression consisted of sarcastic memoirs in a collective diary we kept on the kitchen table of our shared villa. Our lives were cocooned by housing  compounds. We traveled in packs and planned our shopping and social trips carefully around prayer time. We ran and hid from Mutawa, the Islamic religious police. They chastised us for exposed ankles and imprisoned us for other non-conforming behaviours. Socializing with men is illegal under religious law. We barely tolerated the religious social order. We created our own social order in gated communities. Ours was a suspended reality, quite different than the reality of  Saudi women around us.

Street Pulse

Street Pulse

The Edge of Arabia, a contemporary art and creative movement has changed the visual arts reality in Saudi. Ahmad Angawi,  a member of the movement relies on his architectural roots to create a spherical structure composed of hundreds of microphones. The interactive giant microphone was placed in various locations around the Kingdom. Participants recorded messages and used attached headphones to listen to messages left by other fellow Saudi’s. “It shows the various voices we have, all confined into one sphere. The idea behind it is, if we don’t speak up, if we remain silent, if we keep putting our feelings aside, one day we will explode,”Angawi said of the piece. “Street Pulse ” which augments the voice of the Saudi public was exhibited during Edge of Arabia’s aptly named art project “We Need Talk”. The show  appeared in cities around the world starting in  2008. In 2012, the exhibition was shown for the first time in Jeddah.

In the 21st century  female Saudi artists are silent no more. Manal al-Dowayan’s  publicly exams the Saudi woman’s social order in her works “Suspended Together” and “The Choice”. These works investigate female status and contemplate the restriction of movement, lack of freedom, and progression of women within the context of the Kingdom.

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Suspended Together

“Suspended Together” a flock of doves hanging from the ceiling appears to convey flight and movement. The paradox of the piece lies in the fact that the doves are adorned with travel documents of female scientists, educators, journalists, engineers, artists and leaders. Saudi women are not allowed to travel alone without travel permission documents signed by their male guardians. The black and white photos in “The Choice” gives the viewer the opportunity to meditate the idea of Saudi women driving, traveling, and voting. The suspended flock and surreal images exquisitely questions the adherence to customs of 1200 years ago.

In the new millennium the Kingdom has seen unparalleled  shifts to a world where challenges are articulated through greater public participation, freedom of expression and protest. During the Arab Spring in March 2011 minor protests broke out and led to the Male Monarchy announcing economic concessions and approval for women’ suffrage in the 2015 male only political municipal elections. Although the Arab Spring has amplified the free voice of the people, it has not eased the strife of Saudi artists to address subjects of political ideologies, criticism of the monarchy and women’s lack of equality.

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Saudi Arabian Art Exhibited in Al Arabia Outdoor

In 2015 the organizers of Al Arabia Outdoor have managed to pull off the ‘biggest art gallery” Saudi Arabia, using 3,400 advertising billboards to exhibit paintings by Saudi artists. I often wondered, how long could the Kingdom adhere to it’s tradition and culture with pride and devotion of the past? The desert kingdom has always been teeming with rich cultural visual art tradition of their nomadic tribes and religion, but new kinds of  expression have started an artistic evolution. Now, imagine a place in the world where contemporary art is just being allowed to be exhibited in public. Are you looking?