Articles Tagged ‘Shenkman Arts Centre’

ARTFUL BLOGGER: Photographs reveal tragic history of Japanese-Canadians


Tashme Internment Camp, Sunshine Valley, B.C. (2013), photograph by Leslie Hossack, part of Registered, an exhibit at Shenkman Centre

Tashme Internment Camp, Sunshine Valley, B.C. (2013), photograph by Leslie Hossack, part of Registered, an exhibit at Shenkman Centre until Sept. 23

Shortly after the Japanese air force bombed the American port of Pearl Harbor Dec. 7, 1941, Vancouver City Council passed a resolution demanding that all Japanese-Canadians, even the ones born here, should be removed from the Pacific Coast.

The federal government agreed and ordered all 22,000 Japanese-Canadians on the West Coast to be moved inland, some to internment camps in the British Columbia interior and some to labour camps on sugar beet farms on the Prairies. Homes, cars, businesses, farms, and fishing boats belonging to Japanese-Canadians were seized, never to be returned.

Ottawa photo-artist, Leslie Hossack, has created an eerie photographic history of that shameful time in Canada’s past. Her body of work – “interpretive photographs,” Hossack calls them — reveals some of the key buildings involved in the “power and persecution” of Japanese-Canadians.

There’s Vancouver City Hall, an RCMP barracks, a huge rural barn turned into apartments for the internees, a Japanese language school, Japanese-Canadian-owned businesses and, perhaps most shockingly, the back of the Livestock Building in Vancouver’s Hastings Park.

Concerning the latter — about 3,100 Japanese-Canadian women and children were housed in animal stalls, still stinking of manure, in this rambling building in 1942, before being shipped eastward. The back of that building is shown in a seven-foot-long photograph in Hossack’s new exhibition, Registered, in the Trinity Art Gallery at the Shenkman Arts Centre in Orleans.

For Hossack, history is not just found in books. It is also found in buildings. And the buildings depicted in Registered contain the DNA of an entire generation of Japanese-Canadians.

“Buildings are an accessible part of our history – we can touch the handrails, climb the stairwells, wander the hallways,” says Hossack.

City Hall, West 12th Ave. and Cambie Str., Vancouver, B.C. (2013), photograph by Leslie Hossack, part of Registered, an exhibit at Shenkman Centre until Sept 23

City Hall, West 12th Ave. and Cambie Str., Vancouver, B.C. (2013), photograph by Leslie Hossack

Hossack specializes in photographs of architecture. Previous bodies of impressive work include Stalinist architecture in Moscow and Nazi architecture in Berlin. Her photographs of the buildings are manipulated to create idealized images as unsettling as an Alex Colville painting. There’s a sense of the hyper-real, hauntingly bathed in a soft light.

“I am drawn to buildings associated with major events of the 20th century,” Hossack says in an artist’s statement. “In fact, my entire body of work is held together by my fascination with monumental architectural structures built to convey status and wield power. I take great interest in researching the history of the locations and the events that I explore, and the written descriptions that I compose form an integral part of my artistic practice.

“My photographs are interpretive, not documentary. I am captivated by what an architect creates when putting pencil to paper. My intention is to fashion an image that reveals what I imagine the architect originally designed, minus the chaos and clutter of contemporary life. I feel compelled to deconstruct historic buildings – to take them back to the drawing board.”

Along with the photographs, Registered includes framed copies of Japanese-Canadian registration cards, which internees were forced to carry until 1949, four years after the war’s end. As well, Hossack has framed collections of newspaper clippings from those days about the Japanese-Canadian situation.

Next year, the exhibition will resurface, at dates yet to be set, at the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Association in Burnaby, B.C.

Registered continues at the Trinity Gallery in the Shenkman Arts Centre until Sept. 23. 





THE ARTFUL BLOGGER: Jonathan Hobin is being eyed by Time Magazine — and debuts his latest exhibit at the Shenkman Arts Centre

By Paul Gessell

"The Ring" has never been displayed in Ottawa. Photo by Jonathan Hobin.

I have to admit that Orleans is not my favourite destination, especially when road crews are repairing a car-swallowing sinkhole on Highway 174 and motorists are sent on perplexing detours badly in need of proper signage.

But enough about my problems. Despite the detours and despite the fact Orleans is not a frequent destination for art lovers, there is a good reason to head east to the Shenkman Centre and see the latest exhibition by Ottawa’s photo-artist extraordinaire, Jonathan Hobin.

The Hobin exhibition, Attic Urchins, at the Shenkman Centre is in the gallery run by the Ottawa School of Art. There you will find about a dozen of Hobin’s craftily staged photos.

Some of these images will be familiar to Hobin’s fans. Some are from his Mother Goose series in which costumed children acted out various nursery rhymes. Some of these rhymes veer into the dark side. In Jack and Jill, young Jill seems to have had a very bad fall, indeed. Her knees are skinned and she appears to be crying tears of blood.

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THE WEEKENDER: Vagina Monologues, Ikebana, Richard Scarry, and five more ways to enjoy the final days of February

Poignant and humourous, the Vagina Monologues is based on playwright Eve Ensler’s interviews with over 200 women. The piece celebrates women’s sexuality and strength, and spurred the global action campaign, V-Day, to end violence against women. This year’s Ottawa community production is hosted by the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Ottawa (SASC) and the Minwaashin Lodge Aboriginal Women’s Support Centre. Tickets are $20 in advance at Venus Envy (320 Lisgar St.), Mother Tongue Books (1067 Bank St.) or $25 at the door. Sponsor tickets are available for $100. Friday, Feb. 24 and Saturday, Feb. 25. 8 p.m. Bronson Centre, 211 Bronson Ave.



Lyle Richardson uses bold water colours in Drawings of Everyday Life. He teams up with photographer Tony Fouhse for a show at La Petite Mort on Friday night.

Appreciate daily struggles from the different perspectives of two old friends in their combined art show. Lyle Richardson uses bold water colours in “Drawings of Everyday Life,” while Tony Fouhse photographs the recovery of Stephanie, a heroin addict, in “Live Through This.” The two artists are friends with a long history in Ottawa. Meet them on Friday, Feb. 24 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Their works are on display for the following 24 hours as part of the gallery’s One Night Stand series. La Petite Mort Gallery, 306 Cumberland St.

This unique class uses freestyle dance and percussion to explore rhythm. A playful path to discovery, awakening, and transformation — no dance or music experience required! The event is held at Mouvement, a yoga and dance studio that offers a friendly, comfortable, and intimate atmosphere. Friday, Feb. 24. 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. $20, $17 students, seniors, and unemployed. Pre-registration required. Mouvement, 69 Eddy St., Gatineau.

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Preternatural sightings, Twelfth Night revelry, Freedom of Expression humour, and three more gigs to get 2012 started right

It’s a little slow in the wake of the holidays, but we’ve dug around to discover a few fine events to keep you busy in the opening days of 2012.

Avantika Bawa will create an installation at St. Brigid's using the same yellow vinyl shown here.

Preternatural is an awesome three-venue contemporary art exhibition on the themes of nature, wonder, and spirituality. And, happily for the good people of Ottawa, it continues into the New Year with the openings of two new installations this weekend. First up, Korean artist Shin Il Kim launches the video triptych Invisible Masterpiece on Thursday, Jan. 4 with a vernissage at 6 p.m. at Patrick Mikhail Gallery on Friday, Jan. 6 (2401 Bank St.). Invisible Masterpiece is made from 708 individual pressed line drawings which Kim has animated at 30 frames per second. 

On Saturday, Jan. 7, a site specific installation by Avantika Bawa opens at 4 p.m. at St. Brigid’s Centre for the Arts (302 St. Patrick St.). Bawa’s minimal installation will create a synthetic and surreal environment within St. Brigid’s, overlaying bright “Indian yellow” vinyl over the architecture while filling the space with bass sounds from the key of E. Sounds dreamy… For full details on what’s up with Preternatural, visit

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THE WEEKENDER: Christmas crafts, holiday shopping, The Nutcracker, plus Hackfest and poetry for the first weekend of December

Soloist Gabriella Yudenich performs in The Nutcracker. Photo by Alexander Iziliaev

The Pennsylvania Ballet is coming to the National Arts Centre for the first time to perform the George Balanchine version of The Nutcracker. This interpretation, one that is not often performed by major touring ballet companies, features children in the lead roles and has a large ensemble cast of young dancers. Dec. 1 – 4, 7 p.m., Dec 2 – 3, 1:30 p.m. $12 –$92.50. National Arts Centre, 53 Elgin Street.

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THE WEEKENDER: Ornaments launch, Crazzy Dave, Sneezy Waters, plus Capital Slam and more

This local rock n’ roll trio, which features hard-hitting drums and loud guitar riffs alongside powerful vocals, launches its first full-length album, Blood Vessels. It’s a night of local listens, as fellow Ottawa artists The Ticket, Glenn Nuotio and The Superlatives hit the stage before the main men of Ornaments. Don’t forget to check out the new tunes, now available on the band website (in hard copy on Nov. 22). Nov. 19, 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance at Vertigo Records (193 Rideau st.), Compact Music (190 Bank st. or 785 ½ Bank st.), or at the Elmdale. $12 at the door. Elmdale House Tavern, 1084 Wellington st. W.

Crazzy Dave. Photo by Jean Boulay.


Not your typical poet and artist, Crazzy Dave resides on the streets of Ottawa, writing his words on cardboard boxes and creating works of art with stray objects. But don’t let the nickname fool you. Despite his homelessness he keeps his creativity alive by showing passersby his skill and way with words. A published author, Crazzy Dave’s words can be found in Mindlessly Adrift/My Streets, My Ottawa, a collaboration with Ottawa photographer Jean Boulay. Meet the artist and see his work in a One Night Stand at LPM. Nov. 18, 7 p.m – 10 p.m. $2 creativity fee. 306 Cumberland St.

Capital Slam, the second longest running slam series in Canada, brings National Slam Champions Brandon Wint to the stage. Listen to experienced slammers and even gather the courage to stand up and do your own thing. Also on the line-up: Loh El and Rusty Priske. Nov. 19, 6:30 p.m. $8, free for performers. Mercury Lounge, 56 Byward Market.

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Grilling, Glebe art, and Muslims?! Plus three more great weekend gigs


Remember Bewitched? Well, the Classic Theatre Festival in Perth is opening its season with the play that is said to have inspired the television series (and, ultimately, the 2005 remake with Will Ferrell and Nicole Kidman, for those of you who don’t remember!). First produced in 1951, the romantic comedy Bell, Book, and Candle by John van Druten continues to captivate audience with its mysterious female lead and witty quips. July 8 to 31. Wednesday to Saturday, 8 p.m.; Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday 2 p.m. $30, youth under 30 $21. Mason Theatre, 13 Victoria St., Perth.

Mombasa, Boxer, PhD Candidate by Asif Rehman. Click on the image for a gallery of other images from the show.

Ottawa photographer Asif Rehman has photographed Canadian Muslims in ordinary and extraordinary acts in order  to break down stereotypes held by both Muslims and non-Muslims about what it means to be a Canadian Muslim. By juxtaposing the various labels that any one person might take on — mother, athlete, scientist, artist, etc. — the exhibition illustrates that any label can only define a small part of a person’s identity. “I feel that by communicating the diversity and varied passions of Muslim individuals, we can learn how much we all have in common,” says Rehman, whose work has been shown in New York, Toronto, and Ottawa. June 30 to July 26, vernissage July 10, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Gallery open  9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Trinity Art Gallery, Salon A. Shenkman Arts Centre, 245 Centrum Blvd.

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THE WEEKENDER: Music, mollusks, and five more ways to enjoy the first weekend of summer

All the way from TO, self-described percussion-dance-orchestra Drumhand perform music from their recent release Moving Still at the Merc as part of the Ottawa International Jazz Fest. Think drums, energized jazz horns, and a high-energy performance that encourages dancing. Ottawa’s own Rattling Tro Tro warms up the room at 9:30 p.m. Doors open at 9 p.m. Friday, June 24. $12. Mercury Lounge, 56 Byward Market Sq.,

In advance of this Montreal singer/songwriter’s debut LP Calendar (which comes out July 5), he’s making the rounds at stages in Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa. His style is perfect coffee house music — straddling the line between sweet and melancholy, folk and pop — which has earned him supporting sets for names such as Julie Doiron, The Dears, and Sean Lennon. Saturday, June 25, 9:30 p.m. $7. Raw Sugar Café, 692 Somerset St. W.,  613-216-2850.

It’s a stylin’ clothing boutique so you know the five-year anniversary party will be stylin’ too. Victoire Boutique celebrates with sales at both store locations and lots of free entertainment. An all-day sale at both stores (40 percent off from 10 a.m. to noon, 30 percent off from noon to 4 p.m., and 20 percent off from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.) is followed by an evening party at the Dalhousie Street location (6p.m. to 9 p.m.) with tarot card readings, a Ouija cake by Auntie Loo, and lots of discounts and giveaways. Saturday, June 25. 246 Dalhousie St., 613-321-1590, and 1282 Unit B. Wellington St. W.

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THE WEEKENDER: Abstracars, monster trucks, and six more events to take in this weekend

Abstract art can be confusing to the savviest of art critics. René Price injects some much-needed humour into the medium with Abstracars. Combining his love of cars with his disdain for ambiguous art, Price has created a fun exhibit that presents a variety of colourful, deformed, and slightly absurd small-scale and full-scale ‘art cars.’ Thursday, April 14 to May 27. Vernissage 8 p.m. Shenkman Arts Centre, 245 Centrum Boule, 613-580-2787.

Photo by Emily Jewer. Courtesy

Lauchie’s humdrum miner’s life is turned upside down when the vivacious Liza dances into it. What looks like a story heading for happy-ever-after is rudely interrupted by Lauchie’s daredevil twin brother, Rory. Supporting characters, including a wry spinster, a sonorous priest, a reformed party girl, and a cantankerous Cape Breton matriarch, bring the town to life in this heartwarming comedy of misguided loyalty and unspoken emotion. Until April 16. Tickets start at $22. National Arts Centre, 53 Elgin St.

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THE WEEKENDER: Salsa, slamming, and four more ways to fill the last weekend in March

Local boy Daniel Bolshoy smolders (and plays classical guitar) at the Mayfair Theatre

You know what they say: if it’s not Baroque, don’t fix it. Ottawa native, Daniel Bolshoy specializes in this style of music, and has toured the world with his classical guitar. He returns to us with the works of Agustin Barrios, Sergio Assad, Saintz De la Maza, and more. Hugely popular in the 18th century, Bolshoy is bringing back the classical guitar with dedication and fury. As a teacher at Concordia University in Montreal, as well as the new director of the Vancouver Symphony’s guitar program, Daniel only has time for the one show — don’t miss this rare opportunity. Sunday, March 27. 3:30 p.m. $25 at the door or at Ottawa Folklore Centre, 1111 Bank St.; show takes place across the street at Mayfair Theatre, 1074 Bank St.,

Spring is here, now let’s see it in your step! Put on your dancing shoes and cha-cha-cha your way to the Ottawa Arts Court where you can sharpen your skills (or learn the moves for the first time — beginners are welcome). With some of the best music to inspire you, you can “suelta” (dance solo) or grab a partner and enjoy this reemerging dance phenomenon. Saturday, March 26. 5 p.m. $5. Ottawa Arts Court, 2nd Floor, 2 Daly Ave.,

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