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Bridges brings back U of L graduates home to Casa

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Lethbridge welcomes back several artists who studied together at the University of Lethbridge in the  early ’90s.

Bridge: A Group Exhibition features the work of Izmer Ahmad, George Ho, Yoko Takashima and Robert Bechtel. The opening reception is  7 p.m., Jan. 9. It runs until Feb. 26.
went their separate waYoko Takashima, George Ho and Robert Bechtel setting up Bridge at Casa. Photo by Richard Ameryys, until Hong Kong born, Victoria based artist George Ho contacted Lethbridge based painter Robert Bechtel about reuniting the old gang for an exhibit. The only artist unable to be here for the opening is Malaysia based Izmer Ahmad who is teaching at the University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.

 It’s something we’ve been working on for a while,” said Bechtel, crediting George Ho for  getting the  ball rolling.
“ They all  went to school together in at the U of L in the ealy ’90s, some moved to other locations and some stayed. This brings them back to where they started,” said Casa curator Darcy Logan.

“It brings people from diverse cultural backgrounds back to to our community,” he continued.

Japan born, Victoria based artist Yoko Takashima’s multi-media piece features mashups of  38 different people singing Simon and Garfunkel’s hit “ Bridge over Troubled Water,” in front of a background film of various images ranging from  serene oceanic scenes to atomic bomb explosions.


Southern Alberta Art Gallery features new exhibits about MK Ultra and rats

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The Southern Alberta Art Gallery features new exhibits over the holiday season.

Nicole Hembroff examines “Cellar” at SAAG. Photo by Richard Amery
The main gallery features Sarah Anne Johnson’s exhibit “Dancing With The Doctor”— which was inspired by her grandmother’s experiences in a CIA program called MK Ultra which operated from the 50s-70s which studies altered mental states and brain function.

 Johnson build a  circular white room featuring  video footage of the artist, wearing a mask of her grandmother's face, in a variety of frantic situations.
“ MK Ultra was about mind control,” said SAAG communications coordinator Nicole Hembroff.

“There were unethical. They were subjected to hallucinogenic drugs and sleep deprivation. And there was verbal and sexual abuse,” she continued, noting the centrepiece of the exhibit is deliberately disorientating. patrons can wander around the exhibit, or climb a set of stairs and look down at it.

“It’s a representation of part of that experiment. She’s created a life sized reproduction of the halls of the hospital which  has a feeling of purgatory,” Hembroff said.
Johnson has done  few other exhibits including “House  on Fire”,  which featured a dollhouse with a variety of different disturbing rooms including a model of the big room featured  featured in “Dancing With the Doctor”


Lethbridge artists’ Coutts Centre inspiration on display in En Plein Air

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The University of Lethbridge’s Coutts centre outside of Nanton is a pretty inspirational place for Lethbridge artists.

 So The University of Lethbridge  shows the fruits of some of this inspiration with the second annual En Plein Air exhibition at the Dr. Penny Foster building  downtown, Dec. 5-23.Jon Oxley examines some of the art in En Plein Air. Photo by Richard Amery
 While artists are welcome to visit the Coutts Centre any time, many of the 84 pieces in the exhibit from  34 different artists were created during four special weekends in October. The Coutts Centre is staffed seven days a week from May through October.

“We might get some artists during the winter as well,” said university of Lethbridge Art Gallery general manager Jon Oxley.
“A lot of the artists like to go together,” Oxley continued.


Jane Harris explores homelessness and poverty in Canada by examining family history

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On June 22, 2013 while the Old Man River was rising and the rain was pouring down, local author Jane Harris was embroiled in a storm of her own, fighting for her life as her second husband attempted to kill her.Jane Harris and her new book. Photo by Richard Amery
 But though Harris was rendered homeless for the second time in her life and suffering from severe brain injuries as a result of the attack, don’t call her a victim.
 Harris just released her book  “Finding Home In the Promised Land,” which not only chronicles her personal story of abuse at the hands of her second husband, but outlines her battles with the “poverty industry,” and explores how Canada handled the poor in the country’s formative years.

 “I hope this book will open up a discussion about homelessness and  poverty,” she said.
According to her media release “Finding Home in the Promised Land” is the result of Harris’s journey through the wilderness of social exile after a violent crime left her injured and tumbling down the social ladder toward homelessness — for the second time in her life — in 2013. Her Scottish great-great grandmother Barbara’s portrait opens the door into pre-Confederation Canada. Her own story lights our journey through 21st Century Canada.

“I think it’s the best thing I’ve ever written, though it really was a high price to pay,” she said.
Harris was at Chapters in Lethbridge, for a book signing, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015.
 Harris combines her own harrowing tale of homelessness and abuse at the hands of her ex husband, who had mental issues of his own to deal with while exploring how Canada has historically helped the poor in her new book “Finding Home in the Promised Land: A Personal History of Homelessness and Social Exile. On her journey, she also explores the life of her great great grandmother and her family immigrating to Canada from Scotland in pre-Confederation Canada.

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