Discover more from The smARTcircle - Toronto - Visual Arts
#7 — FLASHBACK TO FRIDA
PLUS: Eric Guillemain & our smARTpicks!
As the vibrant city of Toronto awakens from its winter slumber, the art scene bursts into full bloom, offering a captivating array of events and exhibitions that are sure to leave you inspired. This week, we bring you a curated selection of the top art events happening in Toronto, showcasing the city's diverse artistic talent and the creative energy that permeates its streets. From captivating gallery openings to thought-provoking installations, there is something for every art enthusiast to explore. So, grab your calendar and prepare to immerse yourself in the dynamic world of Toronto's art scene. Get ready to embark on a journey of discovery as we uncover the must-see art events that will captivate your senses and ignite your imagination. Join us as we celebrate the beauty and ingenuity of Toronto's thriving art community in this week's smART Magazine Newsletter!
Looking Back on Frida
For those who attended Lighthouse Immersive’s Frida: Immersive Dream exhibit, they got a chance to glimpse the inspirations and challenges that shaped Frida Kahlo's incomparable life and creations. In Issue 9, smART Magazine spoke to Frida’s great grand niece, Mara De Anda, about her relentless efforts to preserve Frida Kahlo’s legacy.
Recalling the often intense struggle between various companies that want the rights to the Frida Kahlo name, de Andra joked that, “they just want to put her face on cookies,” rather than create art that engages and inspires new audiences. “Art always needs to be developing,” de Anda continues, “we can’t stay back. I'm very proud of the people making immersive art ... I think that new generations need new things. Yes, you can go to a museum, but it's extremely wonderful to see the colour in Frida’s painting on such a large scale in real life.”
Lighthouse’s current exhibit, Disney Animation: Immersive Experience, has worked equally as hard to bring the magic of Disney to life in a way that will inspire art and movie lovers of all ages. Don’t miss out!
ON THE ROAD | Eric Guillemain
In Issue 11, internationally acclaimed photographer Eric Guillemain joined smART Magazine for our inaugural Studio Sessions series. Born in Morocco and raised in Paris, his multicultural upbringing has greatly influenced the tapestry of his creative perspective. Despite having captured some of the most famous faces in the world, when it comes to fame, Guillemain is dismissive: “I have no interest in capturing any of it.”
His approach to photography is a return to the basics, placing an emphasis on drawing out a relatable vulnerability from his subjects. This commitment to authenticity is borne of a worldly view that bloomed out of strong local flavours:
sM | You were raised in Paris, but have travelled as wide as the highways and deserts of the American landscape. How does this penchant for exploration inspire your inner eye for shot selection?
EG ── I grew up near Paris, but actually spent my early childhood by the ocean in Morocco. I was born in Rabat and started to develop quite a taste for meditation there at the very feet of the old Kasbah of the Oudayas. Western Sahara also extends 600 miles from the city, and everyone can feel the slow burn of its breath at times, the infernal Chergui wind. I believe it’s still blowing in the background of my Au Désert series of pictures. And I recall the ocean waves in the valley of Moab, the meanders of the tide on each and every rock I chose to photograph. Then there is my series The Road: the railroad tracks, American cars, and signs in the dust, all converging towards the horizon. These are elements of bare contemplation that I dreamt of so often as a teenage boy in the luminous prose of Jack Kerouac─The Dharma Bums and Desolation Angels were some of my essential readings.
I had plenty to meditate upon where I lived, in Picardie, which is a concentrate of French history and gothic art with church bells counting the hours in every village, massive forests all around, and many castles in the rain. But I was longing for beatitude at a faster pace back then. I was longing for less tradition and more improvisation, like in a jazz solo. This is the way I like to photograph, aiming at the perfection in imperfection, real calmness in activity, and with spirituality in my mind. But don’t expect me to sit in the desert for hours waiting for the perfect picture. No matter how nomadic and solitary one tends to be, they’re also bound for home in the end. So I always keep a gentle forest and a French church in my heart. Just as Kerouac used to say: “I’m not a Beatnik. I’m a Catholic”!
smARTpicks | TOP EXHIBITS AND EVENTS HAPPENING NEAR YOU
Immerse yourself in an unforgettable evening at the Mapping Our Stories Multimedia Art Party, where narratives and journeys come alive through captivating maps. Inspired by the HAMAPAH exhibition at FENTSTER window gallery, this one-night event unveils pop-up projects and interactive installations. Discover the fusion of personal stories, memory, migration, and place as artists intertwine dance, sound, and visual art to map individual experiences. Experience incredible pieces by Naomi Daryn Boyd, Meichen Waxer, Adam W. McKinney, Daniel Banks, Zahra Harriet Badua, and more! Delve into a vibrant world of storytelling, where surprises await around every corner. | MAY 23
2) COLLECTIVE H'ARTS
Join Collective H'arts for an extraordinary evening at The Drake Hotel Toronto, where the worlds of arts and healthcare converge in celebration. This year, Collective H'arts partners with Watsi, a health-tech nonprofit, to directly fund life-changing surgeries for people worldwide through their medical partner, African Mission Healthcare. Proceeds from the event will support healthcare initiatives, and the show will feature artwork created by talented healthcare professionals from African Mission Hospitals. | MAY 25
3) NORDIC ART PARTY
This Nordic Art Party is where Estonia's love for celebration and art collide. Experience KUNSTIPIDU, an Estonian term meaning "art party," featuring immersive art installations, interactive experiments, regional cuisine, and even a mobile sauna! This unique event showcases a diverse lineup of artists from Sweden, the USA, Canada, and Estonia. The historic St. Anne's Parish Hall sets the stage for genre-bending music, interactive exhibits exploring identity and heritage, and live performances by talented musicians such as Mari Kalkun and Ansambel Triskele. Dance to the beats of renowned DJs, including Kara-Lis Coverdale, Maria Minerva, Liis Ring, Erik Laar, and DJ McHI. Indulge in the Nordic high life and witness the magic of northern lights right here in Toronto. | MAY 26
4) AGO FRIDAY NIGHTS
Experience the excitement of AGO Friday Nights as they unveil their latest exhibitions and talented artists. This week will feature Feels Like Home, an image-based showcase celebrating Toronto's own visual storytellers. Join curator Sophie Hackett for a tour of the newly opened exhibition Wolfgang Tillmans: to look without fear, and revisit the groundbreaking 1984 exhibition Responding to Photography with AGO Founding Curator of Photography, Maia-Mari Sutnik. Immerse yourself in an evening of art and culture, accompanied by a cash bar and DJ, creating the perfect atmosphere for mingling and artgazing. | MAY 26
5) AKIN COLLECTIVE
Narcissus is a captivating production that takes you on a mesmerising journey through ancient myth by blending movement, music, and stunning visuals. Experience the power of inclusivity through an interactive photo mosaic celebrating diverse bodies at the gallery. Witness the beauty of non-conforming bodies, embracing wrinkles, muscle, skin tone, and gender nonconformity in a brilliant united image. Capture your own contribution by taking photos with your phone and utilising the gallery's printer to become a part of this inspiring and inclusive artistic journey. MAY 25 - JUNE 10