A Message to our Community

April 4, 2020
A Message to our Community

We wrote, in our last email, how much we would miss the opportunity to connect with collectors and visitors at our previews. Among the myriad of kind and generous replies that we received in response, one gentleman wrote that he was sorry to hear that we would not be able to commune with our visitors, but reminded us that we should count ourselves lucky to be part of a community which, despite all sorts of improbabilities, comes together to share in the mutual adoration of such unique and exceptional art forms. 

The concepts of communing with, and the related community, reminded us that we are very much a social species, which is precisely why the COVID-19 situation has been so difficult. Our ways of gathering have been suddenly suspended. Our lament over postponing our previews is indicative of the human condition and our desire for connection and, at present, we are all suffering from a lack of opportunities to connect with others. 

It is difficult to get one’s head around the extent to which things have changed so quickly and so drastically. We are hopeful, however, that by acting intentionally we can sustain our connectedness and find, as well as provide, joy in our community. Some of our community members have been offering a little virtual joy and fulfillment, such as the Art Canada Institute, which offers fantastic, richly researched publications for free on their website, including e-publications on Pitseolak AshoonaNorval Morrisseau, and other Canadian Indigenous artists. Similarly, our friends at the Inuit Art Foundation continue to share thoughtful and comprehensive articles on Inuit art, including publications from their archives. One that we particularly enjoyed was Challenging Convention: The Expressive World of Karoo Ashevak by Leslie Boyd, which originally appeared in their Spring 2018 issue. VirtualMuseum.ca is one of the largest catalogues of digital exhibitions, including Holman: Forty Years of Graphic Art at the Winnipeg Art Gallery and The Story of the Masks, that teaches about culture and ceremonies of both the Native masks and the peoples of the Northwest Coast, offered by The U'mista Cultural Society. 

For our part, we at First Arts have been discussing ways in which we can contribute in a thoughtful way in order to assist in getting our community through this exceptional time. Like the above listed organizations, we too have the ability to convey ideas between people with our website, FirstArts.ca. We begin with our virtual exhibition, Parr: Works on Paper, which offers our comments and research on a selection of graphic works by the great Kinngait artist. We will continue to present to you articles, updates, musings, and our thoughts on past and upcoming highlights. We invite you to explore and, hopefully, find in them some enjoyment. We would love to receive your feedback if there are thoughts you would like to share with us.

At the close of his email, the above-mentioned gentleman signed off with, “until we’re all together again, stay safe and stay happy.” The word together comes from the Old English word tōgædere, which itself is a combination of the preposition to and a West Germanic word related to the word gather. Until such time as we are able to gather safely with our community, it is our pleasure to offer, as so many of our colleagues are already doing, a virtual place to gather while we must remain physically apart. 

Stay safe and stay happy.

Yours Sincerely,
Pat, Ingo, Mark, and Nadine

Comments

Thanks for sharing, First Arts!  The NGC has written an excellent post about their show Àbadakone: Continuous Fire here: https://www.gallery.ca/magazine/exhibitions/art-language-and-self-determination-in-abadakone

Leanne
4 April 2020

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