A couple weeks ago, I checked out the Ottawa Art Gallery (OAG) as part of Swarm, a one-night gallery crawl where you can view the works on display at each of the different galleries in the Capital region.
Swarm was part of Northern Scene, a festival that the National Arts Centre (NAC) in Ottawa puts on every couple of years to highlight the work of different artists from across Canada. This time around Canada’s north (the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut) were being featured as part of Northern Scene.
One thing I found that was different with this Scene is that it featured many artists who are emerging, and whose work I think really resonates with a younger generation. It might be because the population up north is generally younger. But basically there is some really fresh stuff going on up north.
At OAG, I was very excited to see pieces by Joseph Tisiga, Sonja Ahlers and Rosemary Scanlon, the last two whose work I had been introduced to during my visit to Whitehorse a couple years ago for work. I had the chance to hear Sonja speak about her practice during a Pecha Kucha I organized at the MacBride Museum, and I purchased a print of one Rosemary’s pieces (above) at the first pop-up shop north of 60.
A highlight for me at OAG was Veronica Verkley’s “documentary”, The Working Cat’s Guide to the Klondike, which looks at the “nearly forgotten” practice of cat sledding in Dawson City. Lots of people kept asking is it real or not? Kittens in harnesseses? Judge for yourself.
Although Northern Scene has ended, many of the galleries are still showing the works of Northern artists.
For those of you in Ottawa, have you been able to check out any of the shows? What were highlights for you?