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New SAAG Exhibitions explore community and country

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 The Southern Alberta Art Gallery explores country and community with their four new exhibits, which opened, Feb.18.

 They run until April 24.


Emily Neufeld’s “Prairie Invasions: A Hymn is at SAAG until April 24. Photo by Richard Amery

“ All of these exhibits have a rural theme,” summarized interim curator Adam Whitford.


Emily Neufeld’s “ Prairie Invasions: A Hymn is in the main gallery.


 The North Vancouver based artist grew up on a farm near Red Deer.


“ It is about colonizers of Canada, when the government was giving away free land to get them to settle in the west,” Whitford said.


The exhibit includes  photography, sculpture and  360 light boxes of photography, reflecting the land, abandoned farmhouses, and what looks like reproductions of wallpaper on old rural houses and a wall made out of grass.


“We’re very proud to bring this exhibition to the SAAG,” Whitford said.


Neufeld will be speaking this afternoon, Saturday, Feb. 19 from 3-4 p.m about her exhibition.

Upstairs,  Vancouver born, Sunshine Coast artist Les Ramsay’s “ Excitation Station” takes a more lighthearted look at community through sculpture, needlepoint and embroidery.


 The exhibit features a variety of vividly coloured  items included painted driftwood which are inspired by decoy fish.


Local artists explore everything from graffiti to nature in new exhibits at Casa

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Seven art new exhibitions open at Casa this weekend, all featuring southern Alberta and Lethbridge based artists.

 While there will be an opening  reception at Casa from 7-9 p.m. for the new exhibits, due to covid, there won’t be food and drinks served.


Jason Trotter presents his new exhibit “The Existencilist” at Casa. Photo by Richard Amery

“ Lethbridge has such a strong art community, I’m just proud to be part of it,” said Jason Trotter, taking a break from setting up his exhibition “The Existencilist,” in the Casa main Gallery.


“ Lethbridge has got to be  the  biggest art community per capita in the province if not the country, he said, adding, he, like  many Lethbridge artists spent the pandemic creating.

He has been part of the local art community since 2011 when he was part of the Potemkin collective.


Trotter is a popular local  stencil artist, inspired by street artists like Banksy, who works in stencils on metal.


 His work is usually on display at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, often of local musicians Shaela Miller, Ryland Moranz and Owl Acoustic lounge owner Steven Foord.


Graffiti on rail cars inspired  “The Existencilist,” which features an array of Alberta historical  themes  and images stencilled on images of grain cars.

Subjects include everything from the Fort Macleod buffalo, an owl, which has a personal connection for Trotter, a hobo coin,  Edmonton rapper Cadence Weapon and Rocky and Bullwinkle villain Boris Badenov. 

“ He was always tying damsels to train tracks,” Trotter observed.


Local folk musician John Wort Hannam adorns another piece.

“Maybe he’ll be inspired to write a song,” Trotter said.


A couple of the pieces are a little meta as they feature images of spray painters, including one exploring a western theme with two spray painters dressed as cowboys in the midst of a pitched gunfight.

“Kudos to places like Casa and The Trianon and the Owl  for supporting local artists,” he said adding he hopes local artists will inspire younger artists.

Casa curator Darcy Logan is excited to open a new set of local exhibits.


Sixth Annual Festival of the Lights set to open at Nikka Yuko Japanese Centre

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The Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden are ready to light up those long winter nights with the sixth annual Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden Winter Lights Festival and simultaneously show off the new Bunka Centre set to open Nov. 26 with the festival.

The sixth annual Winter Lights Festival opens at Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens, Nov. 26. Photo by Richard Amery


The Sixth annual Winter Lights Festival opens at Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens, Nov. 26. Photo by Richard Amery

There are approximately 170,000 lights all over the Nikka Japanese Garden, reflecting the theme of Kamakura.


“It means igloo in Japanese,” said  Nikka Yuko Marketing and Events Manager Melanie Berdusco, noting there are five mini igloos that kids can crawl into. 


“Igloos bring people together,” Berdusco continued.


 Last year nearly 20,000 visitors  enjoyed the Winter lights festival in two months despite Covid 19 restrictions.




The Nikka  Yuko  just received a $90,000 grant from Travel Alberta to build an adult sized igloo featuring 360 projection system which will be  constructed by January.


Tourism Lethbridge commissions local artists to promote attractions with vintage posters

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Tourism Lethbridge has tapped into the talents of six Southern Alberta Artists to  promote six of Lethbridge’s  big tourist attractions.


“This is a celebration of our city, our attractions and our artists,” enthused Tourism Lethbridge Marketing  director  Stephen Braund.

Jarom Scott, Eric Dyck, Bryce Many Fingers-Singer,Elizabeth Porter and Leila Armstrong show off their posters at the Tourism Lethbridge centre, Nov.  23. Photo by Richard Amery


 Tourism Lethbridge  commissioned  Leila Armstrong, Elizabeth Porter, Jarom Scott, Nato’yi’kina’soyi (Holy Light That Shines Bright/ Hali) Heavy Shield, Bryce Many Fingers-Singer and Eric Dyck to design ’20s and ’30s vintage travel posters for Fort Whoop Up, the Helen Schuler Nature Centre, the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens, Southern Alberta Art Gallery, Galt Museum and City of Lethbridge respectively.

“We can do a second run of we need to,” Braund said, noting they make great Christmas gifts, so he hopes people will enjoy them.

“I would love to keep doing this each year, because there are a lot of artists and a lot of attractions in Lethbridge, he noted, adding Southern Alberta is  home to four UNESCO attractions ( Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump, Writing on Stone Provincial Park, Dinosaur Provincial Park and  Waterton Glacier International Peace Park) and a lot of other attractions as well.

Artist and curator Jarom Scott, noted the Southern Alberta Art Gallery provided  suggestions for artists.

“ I love the style of old travel posters,” Scott said

“We reached out to the SAAG because they are the contact for visual artists,” Scott said.

“Some of them were simple like  Elizabeth Porter, who already works for the Helen Schuler Nature Centre/ But we had a really short list of artists to choose from,” Scott said.

“The Southern Alberta Art Gallery was  invaluable,” he said.

“ We’d like to do this every year, but it depends on  the budget because we paid our artists and it depends on how successful this program is,” he said, noting the artists expressed themselves and their feelings about local attractions through different techniques and approaches.

“ Each artist employed their own aesthetic,” he said, adding some of the artists were more familiar  than others with the needs and styles of commercial art, but but their own stamp on their own designs.

Bryce Many-Fingers -Singer embraces his love of history, particularly First Nations history on his Galt museum poster.

“I’m a history geek,” he told a crowd a of media at the media release.


“Red Crow was from here and Crowfoot married into the Siksiika nation,” he observed, adding he wanted the focus to be  the treaty signing of 1877. He drew a lot of inspiration from the Blackfoot exhibit at the Glenbow Museum, in Calgary, where he was studying art.


“I went to art school in Calgary, which was really exciting. I basically lived at the Glenbow museum. It was really exciting,” he said, adding he hopes his poster will inspire young folks as well as elders.


Elizabeth Porter, who has her art online under the name snowbringer, was inspired by her hikes in the coulees by the Helen Schuler Nature for her Helen Schuler poster.


“It’s really wonderful down there.  And things change so quickly, I wondered, what Could I do that was different. Then I stumbled and the deer was just right there framed by the trees, right in front of this beautiful new building and the light captured it perfectly,” she enthused.

Cartoonist Eric Dyck, author of popular cartoon  Slaughterhouse Slough,  designed his City of Lethbridge poster the same way he creates his cartoon, by doodling while talking to people.

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