We made it! But it is not the end yet. Even during a global pandemic, all of our amazing TOAF artists still manage to share art and love with us. Things may seem to have changed a lot, but the talents and creativity are always there inside every artist. In this special editorial, artists from TOAF59 are contemplative and proud, calling for reflections upon ourselves and making compelling statements that trigger our hearts and minds.
Kima Lenaghan, 'Ancestor,' Etching, 2019, 15.24 x 22.86 cm
Kima's works usually consist of narrative and symbolism. In this copperplate print, 'Ancestor' depicts the transformation from the wild boar to the domesticated pig, and their lasting affinities for truffles. The captivating narrative created by Kim leaves us with an unlimited fantasy about the worldview depicted in the work. Enticing ideas of the wild and domestic and focusing the works on animals, nature, and ancestry, Kima only alludes to the shadows of humans in the work's world. Is the mere absence of humans intentional, or is it all human symbolism? The primal drive of truffle is interestingly depicted not only by the symmetrical wild boar/domesticated pig reflection, but also an allegory of the earth's anatomy, which further resonates with the theme of life and nature.
Margaret Stawicki, 'The Passage 16', Oil on Canvas, 137 x 163 x 3.8 cm
Ever since the lockdown, everyone seems to be asking more existential questions. It's a time of uncertainty, but also a time for reflection. The void Margaret creates in 'The Passage' is abstract and symbolic. Her work reflects on personal experiences: the journey through life, international travel, emigration, starting a new life, making choices, choosing which road to follow and always leaving something behind. Viewing closely, the tiny shadow on the massive field looks almost like a traveller walking an endless path. Looking broadly, it may just be shapes and patches of colours, reminding us of solitude, emptiness and nostalgia. Very much empathizing with the time we are in right now, where do you see yourself in this passage?
My Own Colour
Lionel Labeau, 'WHEN THEY SEE US,' Acrylic on Canvas, 2019, 41 x 51 x 2 cm
Lionel commits to his very own colour palette and his version of "French Touch." Lionel is a French Caribbean. The theatrical contrast in his work with the bold use of rich colours is a statement to his identity. This is his vision. Each portraiture including this one impresses a moment of the subject. From the facial expression to the position of the figure, Lionel is immortalizing one of the many black icons he has painted. Here, the eyes are rather gratifying as the figure looks up to an angle, facing the bright side while in the dark. The arresting moment renders a mixed feeling of faith, fear, determination and tranquillity.
Reflecting on Growth
Andrea Currie, 'Divinely Feminine,' Micron Pen on Watercolour Paper, 2019, 58 x 43 x 2 cm
"Like trees, we build on these layers as cycles in our individual growth, making us fuller and wiser," Andrea perceives trees closely and symbolically related to us. She uses delicate lines to represent the process of life and growth. Details are what tie us together. That is why Andrea is fascinated by making extremely fine marks to depict the abundance of the tree. Taking life and abundance as a majestic feminine manifestation, not only does the shape of the drawing remind us of feminine symbols, the act of drawing is also inspired by a fierce female icon, Marilyn Monroe. Andrea quotes the icon, "I don't stop when I'm tired. I only stop when I'm done."
Salbhi Sumaiya, 'Maternal Instinct,' Oil on Canvas, 2020, 91.44 x 91.44 x 3.81 cm
As the wolf gazes out to the viewer, what's underneath her is a baby wolf. 'Maternal Instinct' signifies the unchanging nature of motherhood and the desire to protect the next generation in the mind of wolves, and of every creature on earth. The use of lines is what makes Salbhi's work captivating. From the fur to the unceasing waves of form that delineate the composition of the painting, viewers may have their eyes circulating the work over and over to dive further into the details. Beyond the intricacy, the colour palette adds an interesting quality as if the whole work was done on aged paper. Salbhi's unique style has brought us not only the beauty of wildlife but also the space for reflecting on human and nature relationships.
These works are available at TOAF59!
Get to know our 300+ participating artists, enjoy virtual events from July 2-12, and browse our curated collections! TOAF is proud to celebrate the 59th anniversary of Canada's longest-running contemporary art fair in a digital format this year.