Unique voices find their place in the Cultural Center’s visual arts season

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The Aurora Cultural Center welcomed its first visitors to its temporary gallery space at City Hall last week in a return to some degree of normalcy.

It was a chance for patrons to see the work of up-and-coming artists as local Grade 12 students filled the space as part of the Mayor’s Youth Arts Celebration, which runs until March 21 , and that’s just the tip of the iceberg for the Aurora Cultural Center.

Last week, the Center announced its spring season, featuring a full lineup of visual arts programs. In addition to the Mayor’s Youth Arts Celebration, an artist collective will occupy the space from March 28 to April 22 for Upon Reflection – Portraits of Personal History, followed by Backstories: The Researching Artist as Traveler & Interviewer, featuring features the work of Andrew Cheddie Sookrah, which runs until July 18.

“There’s just a level of excitement that can’t be quantified in terms of planning for this season and getting ready,” says Stephanie Nicolo, the Cultural Center’s acting gallery director. “During the planning process, there was always talk of the public not being able to approach the work, but the hope was always there; now that there are good signs, we will offer visitors the opportunity to get closer, to see the dimensions, to feel the sense of the shape of the work and the scale of the work that is coming, c is very exciting time.

“If we had the opportunity to bring the public in, I wanted to bring in the work that allowed the visitor to have a different sense of the visual arts that pixels cannot accommodate. Of course, we still offer the exhibition in digital format for those who cannot come in person, there is always this element of our exhibitions, but when I choose the artists, I choose works that have a delicacy that is better represented in person.

Participating student artists have risen to the challenge in this regard, creating works that span almost the full range of themes and media. Topics explored by 12th graders through their art include Black Lives Matter, body dysmorphia, mental health, blood diamonds and even feelings of being isolated during a global pandemic.

“I would say there is a sense of isolation throughout the works, including the subject matter of how the artist felt creating in isolation or living through restrictions and being told to stay away. the house – that’s a very specific topic that came out of this exhibition and this year’s presentation,” says Ms. Nicolo.

When the youngsters move out, a variety of artists will move in for Upon Reflection – Portraits of Personal History, including photographers Eden Graham and Nicole Crozier, and Ebrin Bagheri who works in drawing and painting.

“The exhibition aims to investigate the concept of portraiture and how a portrait is presented and understood,” says Ms. Nicolo, noting that Bagheri’s work includes pieces made by unusual means, including the humble ballpoint pen , while Crozier takes an avant-garde approach. at his work.

“These are not necessarily personal stories, but commentaries on how individuals can create a personal story or showcase their personal story through clothing,” Nicolo explains. “Her work is directly related to fashion, so she created these collages of fabrics and clothes. You can’t really tell where the portrait is. You have a singular presentation in the image, but you’re not quite sure where the person is.”

Next, artist Andrew Cheddie Sookrah with his exhibition Backstories: The Researching Artist as Traveler and Interviewer.

“We are carrying out a whole reflection on its creation and its portfolio, specifies Ms. Nicolo. “We will do figurative works and landscapes as well as sculpture. His landscapes really comment on climate and climate change and the importance of paying attention to it, including some paintings of icebergs. Then he created sculptures through the porcelain of these icebergs. It will be a very interesting show that will really benefit visitors who come to see it in person.

“We have made incredible connections with wonderful opportunities from across Ontario, in all artist communities, and I rely on those relationships to continue to develop truly interesting, thought-provoking and multi-layered exhibitions. This is where I really want to continue providing the Aurora community.

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