Canadian artists draw inspiration from crises

Canadian artists draw inspiration from crises

Celebrating the 75th anniversary of Greek-Canadian diplomatic relations, the Canadian Embassy in Athens has partnered with the Tinos Cultural Foundation for the exhibition “Open Horizons,” showing work by artists Ron Moppett, Allyson Glenn and Colleen Heslin through August 20.

According to the curator of the exhibition, Dr Caterina Pizanias, foreign artists have been showing a renewed interest in Greek history as the country “has been promoting its past,” and in the case of this show, many of the pieces are inspired by the economic crisis in Southern Europe.

“It is time to move our focus from antiquities to contemporary life, without creating an either/or dichotomy but rather by creating more enriching options in the ‘between spaces,’” explains the itinerant academic, independent curator, arts writer, teacher and active member of the arts communities in Canada and Greece.

“In-depth coverage of politics, which would allow a better understanding of events in Greece abroad, is minimal, resulting in superficial knowledge.”
The quest to achieve greater depth certainly applies to Moppett, who has drawn from the Greek mythology that forms a part of his educational background and from the current drama.

“This is my first visit to Greece,” says the Calgarian artist. “I’m concerned about the refugee crisis and very disappointed when people close their borders,” he adds in reference to the reaction of certain European nations to the influx of asylum seekers and migrants.

The notions of shelter and home are recurring motifs in his work, which is also inspired by the way that Greek history is incorporated in the work of the late Cy Twombly.

“For me, a painting is always a sculpture of another place, a home for the imagination,” Moppett says.

Though this is his first visit to Greece, Moppett has some knowledge of the local art scene and says he admires Jannis Kounellis. “My working-class background enjoys the poetry of his street art materials,” he says.

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