Dialogue with the Arts:
Sunday, Nov. 27 at 7PM the Salt Spring Arts Council will host Sandra Semchuk, photo-based artist from Emily Carr University, at Mahon Hall. All are invited.
DwtA is a new speaker series designed to stimulate discussion in and about the arts and their relevance to us in contemporary society. Each speaker is invited to interact with our island community by presenting their views on a subject close to them and engaging with participants in an in-depth discussion on the topic. to further this discussion, each session is allotted up to two hours - far longer than average artist talks. The ultimate goal of the series is to stimulate active engagement in the arts and for all of us to walk away from the evening wanting to know more, to engage further, to think deeper about art and its relationship to our every-day existence.
This Attendance is free (though donations to the program are always welcome). She will be talking to us on the topic of: Resilience and Conciliation
Sandra - only our third speaker in this series - has, I believe, a great deal to say to us about the social context of contemporary art. But then I’m biased. As one of her graduate students at Emily Carr University, I learned a great deal from her in terms of the formal aspects of art, methodology, context, structure etc., but I learned far more about personal investment, about the personal costs involved in pursuing art and the social impact and relevance that our art can have. CAN have. All too often we tend to see art as backdrop, as pretty pictures on the wall and not - as I think we should - as an integral part of who we are and what we do in this life, as individuals and, collectively, as societies. It is a sense of this investment, this dedication to ideas, ideals and our fellow beings that Sandra brings to her art and to her interaction with those around her. It is this sense of the importance of art in our lives that I want her to share with us this Sunday.
Sandra was born in 1948 in Saskatchewan. She has a BFA from the University of Saskatchewan and a Masters in Photography from the University of New Mexico. She has deep ties with the Ukrainian community as seen in her recent work. Sandra was awarded a grant from 2008-2015 from the Canada First World War Internment Fund to complete her book on Ukrainian's in Canada "The Stories Were Not Told: Stories and Photographs from Canada's First Internment Camps, 1914-1920”. Sandra Semchuk is a storyteller, photographer and video artist who often works collaboratively using the familial, autobiography, and dialogue across generations, cultures and species. She worked collaboratively with her late husband, James Nicholas, Cree actor and orator, to consider potential conciliations within the self and between the indigenous and non-indigenous. Their dialogue was grounded in experience in the primary knowledges of place land, flora and fauna and weather and in human stories. The more-than- human was always the larger context. In her most recent stereographic video poems she collaborates with songscape composer and singer, Jerry DesVoignes to resuscitate familial connections with the more-than-human---the tree and the forest. She wishes to immerse the audience in the reciprocity between tree, sound and self; the conversation is one of presence, sound vibrations and awareness. Sandra teaches at Emily Carr University.
Sandra is the only person I know personally with her own Wikipedia entry. Greg Klassen