The eighth annual A Handmade Assembly, hosted by the Owens Art Gallery and Struts Gallery & Faucet Media Arts Centre with support from the Fine Arts Department at Mount Allison University, featured workshops, talks, and projects by Carrie Allison, Hassaan Ashraf, Chris Boyne, Paige Gratland, Robyn Love, Kristie MacDonald & Ella Tetrault, Kristin Nelson, Graeme Patterson, Sarah Quinton, Lisa Schroeder, and Negar Tajgardan.
Carrie Allison is an Indigenous mixed-race visual artist born and raised in unceded and unsurrendered Coast Salish Territory (Vancouver, BC). Situated in K’jipuktuk since 2010, Allison’s practice responds to her maternal Cree and Metis ancestry, thinking through intergenerational cultural loss and acts of resilience, resistance, and activism, while also thinking through notions of allyship, kinship and visiting. Allison’s practice is rooted in research and pedagogical discourses. Her work seeks to reclaim, remember, recreate and celebrate her ancestry through visual discourses. Allison looks to Indigenous, mixed-race, antiracist, feminist and environmental theorists to critically examine the world around her.
Allison holds a Masters in Fine Art, a Bachelor in Fine Art and a Bachelor in Art History from NSCAD University.
Paige Gratland is an artist whose work moves outside the gallery system in sync with people's daily lives and in dialogue with social history and design. In 2013, she traveled to New Mexico to learn traditional boot making techniques from third generation master Deana McGuffin. This experience introduced her to a new art form with deep folk traditions and inspired Gratland and her collaborator, Sam McWilliams, to make a short documentary about their mentor titled BOOTWMN. Since then, Gratland has been developing a line of boots that grapple with the cowboy boot as symbol of colonialism and settler culture. The premise is to create a pair of boots for individuals who subvert what country culture is about, exposing some of The West's more complicated histories and investigating the possibilities and limitations of reclamation strategies.
Born in Ajax Ontario, Kristin Nelson received a BFA in Visual Arts at Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design (2003) and MFA at Concordia University (2014). Kristin ennobles everyday utilitarian objects. Through a process of examination and re-contextualization, she transforms mundane subjects into larger social concerns. Kristin completed a Riding Mountain Artist Residency (2017), a Canada Council International Residency (2015) and a residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts (2008). She has exhibited work in Canada at Musée Regional de Rimouski, Parisian Laundry and Skol, and at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, La maison des artistes visuels francophone, Plug In ICA, Actual, RAW Gallery and at the Sidney Community Centre. Her work has shown internationally at Museo Textil de Oaxaca, México and in Austin, Texas. Kristin has been a mentor for women identified artists at MAWA and is on the board of Arts AccessAbility Network Manitoba. Work is available through Lisa Kehler Art + Projects and is in private and public collections including Boralex, BMO, the Province of Manitoba and the Winnipeg Art Gallery.
Lisa Schroeder is a visual artist based in Southern Manitoba. After graduating from the University of Manitoba with her BFA (hons.), Lisa began her artistic practice under the name L&R studio, making both functional and non-functional art objects.
Lisa is interested in concepts of domesticity, traditional craft, as well as personal approaches to self-protection and comfort. Lisa executes her work using a variety of methods including hand building in clay, drawing, and paper making, but most predominantly, rug braiding, whose tactile properties can carry a familiarity and lend themselves to metaphors of care and hiding.
The process of rug braiding is laborious and time consuming. Textile pieces are hand braided out of fabric remnants then pieced and hand sewn together. It is a repetitive, contemplative process that invites reflection.
Hassaan Ashraf is a multi-disciplinary artist who moved to Winnipeg in 2012 to pursue a Master’s degree in Fine Arts. His work reflects on his journey as a displaced artist, dealing with themes of cross-cultural experience, diaspora, homesickness, culture shock, global culture, post-colonialism, politics and the west’s discomfort with alien cultures. To express these ideas, Ashraf draws on his own experience as a Lahori who had never been a part of a diaspora, had never lived as a minority, and had never even been to a foreign country before coming to Winnipeg, Canada. His work re-examines everyday experiences he had during his life in Lahore, including customary modes of transportation, pastimes like kite flying, the Urdu language, and everyday life with the convenience of live-in servants. These practices, which were a part of a daily routine, ended when he came to Manitoba.
Robyn Love is an artist who lives and works in Newfoundland, Canada. She received a BFA from Cooper Union in New York City in 1988. Love has exhibited at galleries and museums internationally. She participated in the prestigious Artist in the Marketplace program at The Bronx Museum of the Arts and she has received numerous project grants to create new work from foundations and public agencies.
Her site-specific projects include a New York City Percent for Art commission for the High School for Law Enforcement and Public Safety in Jamaica, Queens, NY, a five kilometer-long handmade installation in Cheongju, South Korea, and a large-scale, multimedia installation titled The House Museum in Newfoundland. Love received a Canada Council Project Grant in 2009. She has presented her participatory performance piece, SpinCycle, at The Brooklyn Museum in New York City, Northern University in Abderdeen, South Dakota, and at the ICCA in Inverness, Nova Scotia. In 2017, she is launching a video series titled Small Things Brought Together and, in 2018, a CSA program for sharing art directly with people worldwide.
Graeme Patterson (born in 1980, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan) graduated from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in 2002 and now lives in Sackville, New Brunswick. Initially self-taught in his development of stop-action animation using mostly miniature ﬁgures, in recent years he has focussed on the construction of large installations that integrate animation, video, sculptural models, robotics, sound, music, interactive elements, and performance. Graeme’s inspiration comes from a desire to develop an alternate reality that stimulates reﬂective engagement with universal themes of longing, loss and recovery. His work has been exhibited and screened internationally, including national solo tours of Woodrow(2007–2009) and Secret Citadel (2014–2016) and shows at the National Gallery of Canada, MASS MoCA, the Art Gallery of Hamilton, the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, and Galerie de l’UQAM. His recent accomplishments include the 2012 Canada Council for the Arts Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award (media arts), ﬁnalist for the 2010 Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Masterworks Arts Award, and Atlantic ﬁnalist for the 2014 and 2009 Sobey Art Award. Graeme Patterson is represented in Canada by Galerie 3.
Negar Tajgardan is a visual artist with a special interest in sculpture, installation art, and photography. Tajgarden's work is based on her memories of coming to Canada from Iran and broader concepts of immigration and displacement. She is currently completing an MFA degree at the University of Saskatchewan. She has participated in several shows in Iran and Canada.
She is interested in the memories of absent spaces, whether they are missed as a result of growing up, moving or even death, and how these reflect the changes in people's lives. Tajgarden has chosen paper and dissolvable fabric for their qualities of fragility to speak to the vulnerability in life. She began with her own experience as someone of Middle Eastern background studying in Canada, representing memories of her safe place and the connection she is making with a new safe place here in Canada.
Chris Boyne (b. 1984. Halifax, Nova Scotia) is a photo-based artist who uses found ideas, memory and fiction to create work with manifold complexities. His work has been shown across Canada and in the United States. Recent exhibitions include stepside, Harbourfront Centre (Toronto) and one stack, three stacks, VU Photo (Québec City). In 2015, he participated in the 33rd Symposium International d’art contemporain de Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec and was one of the inaugural artists for the Twenty-Three Days at Sea Traveling Artist Residency through Access Gallery, Vancouver. In 2016, he was part of the Le Chant des pistes residency event through Admare (Îles de la Madeleine) and in 2017 he was Artist in Residence at the Domaine Forget in Sainte-Irène, Québec. He holds a BFA from Ryerson University and an MFA from Concordia University and lives and works in Montreal and Halifax.
Kristie MacDonald lives and works in Toronto, Canada. Her art practice engages notions of the archive and the collection, as well as their roles in the evolving meanings and contextual histories of images and artifacts. MacDonald is a recipient of awards from the Toronto Arts Council, Ontario Arts Council, Canada Council for the arts and the Toronto Friends of the Visual Arts. Her work has recently been exhibited at the Art Gallery of Mississauga, the MacLaren Art Centre (Barrie ON), BABEL Visingsrom for Kunst (Trodheim NO), Reed College (Portland OR), The International Print Center (New York NY), Open Studio Contemporary Printmaking Centre (Toronto ON), and Gallery 44 (Toronto ON). She has been invited to work as an artist in residence at the Finnish Artists' Studio Foundation (Helsinki, FI), Shaftfell Center for Visual Art (Seyðisfjörður, IS), and Lademoen
Kunstnerverksteder (Trondheim, NO).
MacDonald holds an MFA in Visual Art from York University (2016) and an MI in Archival Studies (2011) from the University of Toronto. She is currently a PhD candidate in the department of Visual Art at York University, and an Instructor in the Department of Visual Studies at the University of Toronto.
Sarah Quinton is the Curatorial Director at the Textile Museum of Canada. She has worked in Toronto’s visual arts community for 25 years as a cultural administrator, curator, educator and artist. She has curated over 30 national and international exhibitions, with cultural inclusivity, social awareness and accessibility through education and community outreach at the forefront. Her curatorial practice includes benchmark projects that have come to define a discourse that focuses on complex intersections between art, craft and design. On the strength of this interdisciplinary arc, she is often called upon as a speaker, advisor, mentor and advocate in Canada and abroad.
Quinton has taught and lectured at museums, galleries, universities and colleges in Canada, and regularly participates as a juror and advisor at universities, colleges, galleries, museums and non-profit arts organizations throughout Canada, the United States and internationally. She is widely sought for her expertise as a juror for international and national art exhibitions, national, provincial, regional and local arts councils, and has sat on numerous volunteer boards and advisory committees.
Ella Tetrault (*1983) is a Canadian artist recently returned from Berlin. She holds an MFA in Public Art and New Artistic Strategies from the Bauhaus University (2011-2013) and a BA in International Development from the University of Toronto (2003-2008). She shares a collaborative practice with Bethany Riodran Butterworth - together, they curate the Fuller Terrace Lecture Series, a community lecture series and online platform in Halifax and Berlin. Tetrault is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Visual Art at York University, and a guest lecturer at the University of Cologne at the Institute for Art and Art Theory alongside Stefanie Busch.