The goal of our Diversity in Art Celebration is to promote inclusivity and diversity in art, as demonstrated and defined by the participants themselves. Artists across the breadth of Canada’s rich, diverse cultural continuum were invited to submit work for this competition, and we received nearly 70 entries.
Here are the Top 12 Submissions:
The Long Pause by Alvaro Arce
The Long Pause refers to the apparent pause that the world and the human race find themselves in right now. Is it a pause from our everyday hectic and crazy life? Is it a necessary and needed pause? Things look strange and beyond real. Feelings that in some way have infiltrated my art practice as I find myself adding dream-like effects on my artwork, making things that seem to be real, but in reality they don't belong to our modern world.
Soul by Kyle Smith
Based on the afro-centric diaspora that resides within the western world. We as a people lost our ancestral home, family, culture and were stripped of identity. Though lost in translation, our core remains, forcing us to acclimate and create a new individuality through new practices. This piece honors the music of afro-centric music born from a new and evolving identity.
Black is Beautiful by Ola Bolarinwa
This drawing portrays a beautiful black girl smiling with water dripping down her face. In this piece, we can see her great smile, big eyes, lips and her melanin is radiating. These are all attributes that we have been taught to subjugate. I hope that everyone who views this piece appreciates all of their natural "black" features in its glory.
Entwined by Raneece Buddan
In seeking to describe the human experience of forming one’s identity from experienced oral tradition versus learned written tradition, this piece is a translation of this prompt through the use of different materials. The ceramic component, the head, which was done with wood firing is added to a more contemporary interpretation of traditional Indian and Ghanian clay pots she is learning to make through the use of books.
Foresight by Keita Kankam
The act of power of foreseeing, looking behold the future is a special gift given to very few people in the world. This abstract painting depicts abstract figures in an abstracted way about delivering what will happen in future to the world.
Interconnection by Diana Ohiozebau
This painting explores our connection and relationship with our environment and its influences on our identity and existence. It is characterized by lines, contrast, texture, African fabrics, and colors. These elements reference my strides between two worlds - Canada and my African roots and culture.
Metamorphosis by Svetlana Okovacki
The artwork Metamorphosis embodies the themes of interconnectedness and transformation. As humans, we are all interconnected and a part of the same ever-changing planet. Within the painting, nature is personified and interwoven with the human spirit. The painting was further inspired in-part by this year’s Mother’s Day. All minerals and elements that compose our bodies are derived from nature, therefore all humans around the world are part of a much larger living organism.
Double Time by Breanna Barrington
When my Baba and Gido found out what my parents decided to call me, they scrunched their noses and said “what kind of a name is that?? It doesn’t sound very Ukrainian!”. To make up for that misstep, my Mother had me enrolled in Troyanda Ukrainian Dance in Grande Prairie at the age of 5, and I didn’t take a break for the next 17 years. Being a 2nd /3rd generation “Canadian”, I have no doubt that my experiences with storytelling through dance are to blame for the strong connection I feel.
Essence by Mackenzie Brown
My pieces have movement and are meant to feel alive, just like the spirit animal reflected in each painting. I like to work with vibrant colors, symbolizing cîpiyak nîmehitowak- the northern lights (spirits dancing in the sky). With my art, I hope to bring back the stories and language of my people that have been forgotten. Every animal tells a story and when I paint them, their stories come alive again. Recently, I started including other mediums in my work, including beading on canvas.
Social Justice Warrior by Josh Harnack
Social Justice Warrior was inspired by my sister. She is a social worker and a shining advocate for social justice in all its forms. While discussing art one day she proposed a piece that encompasses a wide range of topics like smashing the patriarchy, BLM, women's rights, body positivity, and indigenous lives matter.
Oriental Visage by Fren Mah
Oriental Visage examines the labels that humans invent to understand each other. Although these simple labels liberate by creating a common language, they also limit by putting up boundaries and facilitating stereotypes. These stereotypes grossly oversimplify a person’s identity, which is distorted by the perceptions and past experiences of the viewer.
One summer night By Chloe Heeseok Oh
This is Edmonton's ordinary and special mid-summer night, and I wanted to express how cordially communication and sharing with warm neighbors console our hearts. In an age of unexpected pandemics, it's beautiful how much it's missed and precious.
Edmonton Gallery District Presents
Diversity In Art Celebration Top 12 Artists
1. Alvaro Arce
2. Kyle Smith
3. Ola Bolarinwa
4. Raneece Buddan
5. Keita Kankam
6. Diana Ohiozebau
7. Svetlana Okovacki
8. Breanna Barrington
9. Mackenzie Brown
10. Josh Harnack
11. Fren Mah
12. Hesseok Oh
The submissions were judged and selected on:
Clarity in Artistic Voice/Intent
Authenticity + Imagination
Professional Quality of the work
The artists were also judged on the basis of their relevance to the Diversity in Art intention. We sought to encourage diversity in art and to help emerging artists be seen and celebrated, who have had little opportunity and exposure to the art market. Thank you to all the artists who submitted their work.