The Great Northern Arts Festival
The Great Northern Arts Festival has been celebrating the talent and work of artists in Canada’s north since 1989. Every July, for ten days, artists and art lovers come to the North West Territories to take in the art and meet the artists behind it.
An inuit structure carved from marble. Photo by David Webb.
The festival is run by the Great Northern Arts Society, which works as a platform to help artists living in remote Northern communities. Due to their location, artists don’t have the same access to markets, supplies, and galleries, as do artists in the south. The Society helps even out the playing field by hosting professional development workshops, seminars, and the annual festival.
“The goal of the festival is to give Northern artists the same exposure and opportunity that southern artists have,” explains Sasha Webb, executive director of the festival.
The festival showcases about 4, 000 pieces, and upwards of 80 visuals artists and 40 performance artists each year. Everyone from painters, like Patricia Baker, sculptors and carvers, such as Jimmy Iqaluq, dancers, and even traditional inuit throat singers can be found at the festival.
Models showing aboriginal fashion at last year’s GNAF. Photo by Estelle Marcoux.
The culminating event is the Northern Fashion show, which shows off some traditional and modern aboriginal and arctic style.
“It [the fashion show] is by far our most attended event,” says Tony Devlin, former executive director and board member at the GNAF. “We have world class designers that wish to put some of their clothing into our fashion show, and we also feature different collections that are out there.”
Toronto Urban Film Festival - The ‘Underground’ Festival for Commuters
The Toronto Urban Film Festival (TUFF) kicks off tomorrow, bringing TTC Subway commuters a wide range of one minute short silent films on subway platforms across Toronto.
TUFF will screen 73 films from 18 countries on over 300 of the TTC’s Pattison Onestop subway platform screens. TUFF is also the only commuter film festival of its kind in North America.
zeeBigBang spoke with Sharon Switzer, TUFF Executive Director, about her inspiration behind founding this film festival six years ago and what this year’s festival has in store for Toronto commuters.
The Thoughts Behind Andy Field’s Motor Vehicle Sundown for Summerworks
Motor Vehicle Sundown is a live art experience that gives the concept of a car a new dimension. The series, taking place at the Summerworks Festival, gives two audience members an audio recording to listen to while sitting in a parked car by themselves on a busy city street.
The audio recording takes the two audience members on a journey through different constructed memories of experiences that are associated with being in a car.
"We’re so familiar with cars and they’re this incredibly mundane thing that we don’t even notice. In the US especially, the car is identified with this vision of freedom and independence and it’s all about the fact that you’re not constrained by your home anymore, you can go wherever you want," said Andy Field, the creator behind Motor Vehicle Sundown.
Anton Piatigorsky on Breath in Between for Summerworks
Breath in Between is a complex and multifaceted play. Written by Dora Mavor Moore award-winner Anton Piatigorsky and directed by Buddies in Bad Times’ Artistic Director Brendan Healy, it is about the intimacy between people and the wide spaces found between these relationships.
The play, which made its premier at the Summerworks Festival, features Paul Fauteux as Roger, who has placed an ad on Craigslist as a way to find someone to kill. Two people respond to his ad and the plot thickens when Roger falls in love with Amy, played by Amy Rutherford.
"I was really interested in exploring the idea of intimacy, both in a relationship between people and in the theatre, the kind of intimacy that’s experienced between actors and audiences," said Piatigorsky.
Summerworks brings Artistic Collaborations to Toronto
The Summerworks Theatre Festival kicks off next week and zeeBigBang will be there to bring you insider information from all of the different theatre, live art and music performances.
"The festival is about collaboration and inclusion and exploring the idea of what performance is," says Michael Rubenfeld, artistic producer of Summerworks.
This year, Summerworks is presenting four artistic collaborations that pair established music artists with artists working in other mediums.
Porch View Dances
zeeBigBang attended the opening of the Porch View Dances by Kaeja d’Dance in the Seaton Village, Toronto. This unique community dance festival is performed by Seaton Village residents in their front yards and porches. The audience was taken on guided community tour to several houses to watch the performances.
from left to right: “Crutch” and “Volaré” by Kaeja d’Dance
Artistic directors and choregoraphers, Karen and Allen Kaeja said, “It is the first time that such a performance has taken place in Toronto and worldwide.” They were pleased that their innovative production attracted a “unexpected” huge audience.
Karen Kaeja’s inspiration for choreographing the Porch View Dances came from looking out her window.
Exploring Love and Loss in (with)out for Toronto Fringe Festival
(with)out is a collaboration of music, dance and the exploration of love and loss by choreographer, Patricia Allison and musician, James Everett, for the Toronto Fringe Festival.
zeeBigBang spoke with Allison and Everett about the collaborative process that went into the show.
"We really wanted to try seeing what it was like having the movement inform the music and the music inform the movement simultaneously. The whole thing for us was about that process … giving inspiration in different ways and then inspiring each other as we went," said Everett.
Canadian history with a twist at the Toronto Fringe Festival
Toronto Fringe Tent Talks - How Indie is Going to Save Theatre
As part of the Toronto Fringe Theatre Festival, there are daily “Tent Talks” held at The Fringe Club at Honest Ed’s.
Yesterday, zeeBigBang attended a discussion led by Fringe Executive Director, Gideon Arthurs, about the indie theatre movement, while Julie Tepperman of Convergence Theatre and Michael Wheeler of Praxis Theatre shared their insight into what it’s like to work as an independent theatre artist.
First Ever Toronto Animation Arts Festival International
With over 60 film festivals happening in Toronto every year,the long overdue Toronto Animations Arts Festival International (TAAFI) is hitting the city this weekend for animation enthusiasts and industry professionals alike.
"There’s nothing quite of this nature in Toronto.There’s a massive [animation] audience here. We’ve got all this great infrastructure and there’s so much industry here." That’s what kicked off the idea for TAAFI according to Ben McEvoy, festival co-founder.