Posts tagged ‘art’

December 5, 2018

Kigali

Our final stop on our journey was Kigali where we decided to stay for two nights as we traveled back to Kampala from Bukavu. Because I had such a negative experience on the night bus on the way to Goma, we decided to take day buses and take the opportunity to enjoy the scenery. Early on Monday morning we left Bukavu by moto, crossed the border, and then took another moto to the bus station in Rwanda. We took a smaller bus called Omega Express. There are two possible routes to get to Kigali: one that goes through the Nyungwe Forest, a mountainous rainforest, or along Lake Kivu. Our bus went through the forest and the views were stunning. There was one moment I found stunning where we were passing tea plantations but approaching the forest. Another moment we were on a road that was high up on the mountain and there was a view down into the rainforest below that looked so incredibly deep.

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We spent two nights in Kagali: one at Yambi Guesthouse and another at Auberge Beausejour that was recommended by Mark and Karen. On our free day we had plans to meet up with Othy’s old school friend. On our way to meeting her we walked to the Convention Centre which was a building I wanted to check out. Again I was caught off guard by the cleanliness and orderly construction of roads, sidewalks and retaining walls. The convention centre’s dome could be seen from a distance. The landscaping around the building was nicely done. There is also a hotel beside it that has a playful facade that reminded me of basket weaving. A covered walkway offers relief from the sun and rain for people walking from the parking lot. This building is definitely not very approachable on foot from the street as we had to walk all the way around to the back to enter. We went inside the lobby areas but couldn’t find anyone to ask to show us the main auditorium. Overall it is a nicely designed building.

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Next we took motos and went to a restaurant called the Rotisserie where we were meeting up with the friend. We waited for half an hour and she did not arrive. Unfortunately we did not have data and the restaurant did not have wifi to communicate with her. We decided to walk to a cafe called Shokola that shares a building with the Kigali Public Library. It is also a nicely done building. The levels of the library are situated around a generous atrium. It looks like the roof used to be glass but then they boarded it up with wood because of the heat. The cafe is on the third floor and accessed by an exterior stair (I think it could have been nicer for it to have a closer physical or visual connection to the library). To our dismay the cafe did not have working wifi either and so we were unable to meet Othy’s friend. We stayed a while there and then decided to go back to the hotel. On our way back we stopped at an art gallery called Inema Arts Center. We saw some beautiful pieces by local artists, some that I have included below. We spent a lazy evening at the hotel watching a movie! The following morning we woke up early to catch a 6am bus to Kampala. It was so early the hotel couldn’t have breakfast for us and so they gave us some fruit, bread and eggs the night before. The driver we arranged for to take us to the station was late and so we took motos instead. It was a fun ride because the roads are so smooth and it was still dark. This marked the end of our honeymoon and it was time to try and get settled back into something of a routine in Kampala.

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May 22, 2018

Embroidery

Over the last few years I have begun experimenting with embroidery as an artistic medium.  I like how it reduces expression to lines and colour. The work is inspired by my Grandma who would often do embroidery on the cards she would give to friends and family on special occasions. The last time I did embroidery was for a set of Christmas cards. This time I made the two cards below as a gift for Philip and Rolf and they depict views from the 2 Fraser adaptive reuse project that I worked on for almost two years.

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July 11, 2016

The Hearn

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On a weekend in June I hosted a couch surfer from the UK named David. Hosting surfers always gives me a reason to go and discover the city. On the Sunday afternoon I took David to see some of the LuminaTO festival. This year the hub of the festival temporarily occupied “The Hearn“, a decommissioned generating station in Toronto’s Port Lands. We took the TTC as far as the distillery district and had beers and fish tacos at the Mill Street Brewery. We couldn’t find the shuttle bus that was supposed to come by there and so we ended up walking the rest of the way through what felt like no-mans land. Poor David had worn the wrong shoes and as we trudged along I secretly hoped that it would be worth our while.

It was! The space was amazing. The building was occupied by various temporary programs that complemented the various types of spaces that the building offers. Art installations occupied an area on the main floor that is enclosed by large concrete piers like a long, thick colonnade (that once supported large turbines); a series of prints occupied a long, airy mezzanine that extended the length of the enormous space (the building is a few football fields long and the prints were made directly on the brick walls). Off the mezzanine a restaurant occupied the small operations room that is full of knobs and switches. At the far end of the building an enormous disco ball hung and rotated from an existing overhead crane. The ball reflected dancing light across the space and could be discovered from up on the mezzanine and down below. A large full height space was home to a performance area and there was another space wrapped in black fabric that served as a theatre (unfortunately we did not get to see inside). Lastly there were smaller pavilions, some of which were made from shipping containers: A bar, a cafe, and a set of “situation rooms” that had a kind of virtual reality story-telling.

In general the building had an amazing depth and texture to it created by the layered structures, circuits and ducts that still hang in parts of the space. The only windows are on the two far sides that offer a hazy kind of light that only really touches the first layer of dense objects. We walked around, sat and enjoyed a beer, walked around some more when the building was more deserted, and then grabbed free coffee on our way out. This time we waited for the departure of the shuttle bus that was a classic yellow school bus (David was particular excited about this). It was cool because from our seat on the back of the school bus we saw the sun set over the city skyline. What a fun experience (or should I say very unique? ;)  )! Thanks goes to David for the last two photographs!

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July 10, 2015

RAW Canvas

RAW party

On June 25th I went to the RAW Canvas party. It was a party planned by RAW Design that was open to the design community. The party was held in an empty industrial building near the lake that served as a canvas for a multitude of murals that were painted throughout the afternoon and evening. There was a DJ,  drinks and delicious appetisers, and fabulous paintings and installations. It turned out to be quite the reunion as I saw many familiar faces from Waterloo Architecture! It was a memorable evening!

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June 26, 2015

Pulp Paper Art Party 2.0

Paper stalactites

Paper stalactites

You know you have lived in Toronto for a decent amount of time when you start attending events for the second or third time. I went to this years Pulp Paper Art Party mainly because my awesome sister was selected to create one of the paper installations in collaboration with one of her fellow makers Agnes! The party was great! This year it was held at the Jam Factory just east of the Don Valley. Jen and Agnes made an ornate cardboard fireplace, portraits with ornate frames, and an elk head. They also had an interactive piece that was a bear rug woven from folded paper cut from old encyclopaedias. Many people sat down and contributed throughout the evening. My other favourite piece was a cluster of paper stalactites that had a twisted accordion structure. It was possible to pull on a string and make some of them contract, but then because the bottom was weighted they would slowly expand again. There was also a performance piece that occurred a few times throughout the evening and the performers created beautiful, fanciful hats made of paper and gave them to spectators. The music was fantastic just like two years ago. This year featured the Box Car Boys and A Little Rambunctious, both that have an Eastern European gypsy jazz sound. A Little Rambunctious would ask for made-up song titles and then they would invent a song and lyrics on the spot! It was impressive! A highlight of the evening was when Chris requested the song title “Whales in Flight”, hoping to see if he could stump them. Nope. The music sounded like mythical whales were quite literally in flight.

The Smoking Room by Jen and Agnes

The Smoking Room by Jen and Agnes

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The bear rug

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June 22, 2015

Toronto Winter 2015

I’m publishing this a few months too late since it is a post about things I was up to this winter. I haven’t been as diligent with my blogging while in the final stretch of finishing my thesis. Even though I spent most days working away on my thesis, I still had some great times with friends that I want to remember.

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Parties!

To celebrate New Years I went to the annual Devos party. This time it was in Brantford at their new house. It was great to see friends from Maranatha again and to see Dave and Shirley’s new place. I counted it as the fourth Devos new years party I’ve been to! This year for the first time we didn’t follow the tradition of running to the stop sign and back in our bare feet.

Another party I went to was Andrea and Cameron’s engagement party in February. It was a chance to meet up with an interesting blend of architecture and highschool friends. I got a ride there with Emma and it was snowing like crazy. On the way home we had a little scare when we spun out on the road and were pushed lightly into a snowbank. We would have been stuck for hours if we had to call CAA, but miraculously there was a Tim Hortons a stones throw away where a guy and his buddy with a tow truck were chatting in the parking lot. They towed us out of the snow bank right then and there free of charge. Hooray for kind and generous human beings!

That same night I went to Wilson’s birthday party that was in a Condo event space in Liberty Village. It was great to meet new people both inside and outside of Grace Toronto church. The evening went by too fast. Nothing quite passes the time like a glass of wine, good conversation, a DJ, and dancing!

In March I went to a party celebrating spring at an architecture colleague’s apartment that they call the ‘Loft’. It was a musical talent showcase and social evening. There was some amazing music that included some Tabla drumming that originates from northern India and Mark’s musical talents on guitar.

Hotpots and other delicious meals!

On January 20th I went to Rachel’s place for a Hot Pot dinner with Rachel, Vikkie, and Jacky. It was a long time coming because we had talked about it since the four of us went hiking in the Adirondacks last August. When I told them that I had never had hot-pot before, they decided they would remedy that by having a gathering in the new year when I would be back from Africa. Hot pot is asian cuisine that involves a big pot of boiling broth in the middle of the table and then a bunch of raw meet, seafood, vegetables (mushrooms and greens),  and noodles to throw in. After they are ready then you fish them out and dip them in a dipping sauce that is a mix of all sorts of ingredients like soya sauce, garlic, raw egg, oyster sauce, peanut butter, and the list goes on. It is a fun way to share a meal! It reminds me of hot oil fondu. I guess this is the year of hot pots because a few weeks later I was invited last minute with John-Paul to another one at Joe’s place.

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For the Winterlicious festival in Toronto Vikkie, Petra, Joy, and I went to Czehoski on Queen West. The food was delicious and I liked the atmosphere. I didn’t know this at the time because it was winter, but apparently they have a cozy little rooftop patio.

I joined a small group at my church (a.k.a Grace Gathering or GG) when I moved to Toronto in January and we met every Wednesday evening and went through a study on the book of Mark that was following the Sunday sermons. We  always shared dinner together before jumping into the study. It was a great way to grow more relationships with people at my church who live mostly in my part of town. To celebrate Melissa’s birthday our GG went to the Real Jerk on College street for Jamaican food. Yum!

Events!

On January 22nd I went to Toronto’s Design Offsite festival (TO DO) opening party at a shop called Smash in the Junction. It was a really awesome space. I arrived too early (a common fault of mine in the architecture scene because early means arriving before midnight) but since people intrigue me I approached and spoke to a bunch of strangers. I met an interior designer and a guy who writes for a neo-noir webseries called Haphead. Finally some archi-folks arrived and it was nice to reconnect!

That following Sunday after church I went with a group of people from Grace to Come Up To My Room, an alternative art event at the Gladstone Hotel. This was the fourth time I had seen either this exhibition or their twin event Grow Op, and I was a bit disappointed by this year’s exhibits. One of my favourites was Fiber Optic by Lizz Aston, a layered hanging textile. Another one I liked was Lazer Harp by Menalon and The New Beat that allowed people to play notes by putting their hand across a set of laser strings. I did wish the piece was more spatially engaging though like the sculpture Andrea and I came across in Montreal. There was an exhibit called In A Space that I didn’t care for as a collection, but there were one or two pieces I liked such as big crumpled up squares of black paper that were then re-opened and exhibited like art pieces, and a scarf with perfect geometries that was hanging on two nails to distort the forms.

Fiber Optic

Bent geometries

On February 4th I went to an exhibition and panel discussion at the Urbanspace Gallery called Mapping Ground: Representing the Urban Imaginary. The lectures and discussion were very interesting and offered excellent precedents and new ways to think about my own work. The exhibition itself didn’t offer me much insight. To me the maps seemed curated as art pieces rather than as functional maps (I even noticed that the maps were colour-coordinated although each was created by a different contributor). I think the maps lost something by being separated from the original work that would have included associated legends, diagrams, and other information.

Sports!

I actually remained quite active over the winter. I joined a soccer team made up with a few people from Grace that I have played for in the past. This time it worked out really well because many of my teammates live in the east end and could give me rides to games. We remained undefeated until the playoffs! Unfortunately I injured my back and was unable to play in the playoff games.

I took advantage of the short winter by going skating quite a bit. Monarch park is close by and has a skating rink with unsupervised public skating every morning. I would often go at nine and start my work an hour later. There would usually be only one other person there. I would just dance around while listening to some tunes on my phone.

Vikkie and I went skating together twice. The first time we went to Greenwood Park where they have an ice rink with an ice path beside it. It’s a nice option because there is no barrier around it and so it’s possible to skate anytime. The second time we went to the rink at the Harbourfront Center. We met a quirky guy on the rink who spent hours and hours on the rink doing a bunch of crazy skating tricks on hockey skates and liked to skate circles around people. He was talented and so it was kind of fun to watch him though I think he got on some people’s nerves. Vikkie and I also picked up where we left off watching the TV show Once Upon a Time. This season the characters from the movie Frozen were thrown into the mix.

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On the first weekend of March I went skating on the Saturday with Tamar at Nathan Philip Square. It was crazy busy but there was a great energy and we had fun just skating around and chatting. The next day I went skating again, this time at Kew Gardens park at Beaches with Andrea and Cameron. It was so warm that we had to avoid a slushy patch of ice.

I had a few sporting firsts this winter. On a weekend in February I went cross-country skiing with Wilson, Esther and John-Paul up at the Mono Nordic Ski Club in Orangeville. I enjoyed it for the cardio and also the beautifully calm and scenic, snowy landscape. I’m glad I had the chance to cross-country ski since I didn’t have the opportunity to go down-hill skiing this winter.

Another first was playing ultimate frisbee. A team from my church asked me to play when they were short a female player. They knew that even though I couldn’t throw the frisbee well, I would at least be able to defend. I actually surprised myself when I dove for a frisbee in the end-zone and made an epic catch!

And that’s it for my 2015 winter fun!

August 8, 2013

Time Piece

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Myself and the other creators of this work of art are trying to sell this meaningful and beautiful piece. It is made up of drawn and painted layers and is a representation how we (humankind) build as if we are gods and yet our creations will ever be subject to time and nature. The work is approximately 4 inches deep, 7 feet long and 1-1/2 feet high. It would look great in a restaurant or large living space. Please let me know if you or anyone you know is interested!

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May 1, 2013

Grow Pulp Wolves

Don’t you know that these are all the rage?  If only there was such a thing as grow pulp wolves.  I was just trying to put the names together from my activities of this weekend.  Toronto is a city full of so many interesting sights and sounds.  I am always in awe of what the human creative mind can invent!

On Friday night I went to the Grow Op event that I advertised in an earlier post.  I was mistaken when I said that our Field Cushion project was going to be exhibited… rather strange, but they just used it for the promotional material and that was all.  It was false advertising I would venture to say.  The event was a lot of fun, but I must admit I was disappointed.  It wasn’t anything new really and it wasn’t about exploring landscape and place like I thought.  Nope, it was a plant version of Come Up To My Room.  Rather than questioning what landscape is and can be, it was a series of metaphorical artworks and objects that incorporated plants.  Blah.  In fact it was only the Waterloo team F_rm Lab that managed to try anything of the sort, but even then it still looked too much like a decoration to me and not a landscape.  It didn’t have any power over the space because the busy lobby of the Gladstone overpowered any effect it could have had.  My favourite piece of the evening was ‘Fluorescent’ by Jane Hutton and was exhibited in a darkened bathroom.  It was nothing but a black light shining on some sliced sections of branches.  I didn’t know this, but certain species of trees absort and emit different and subtle levels of light.  Even though these branches were simple objects, when they glowed they made the space feel surreal.  They in themselves created interesting landscapes of contrasting patterns of rings, spots, and lines, that if one did not see them sliced in two and exhibited in this way one would never know how much they actually differ.

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This ‘Babylon Light’ by Ryan Taylor is a neat idea.  I also liked the ‘Knitted Garden’ (of which I do not have a good photo) by Mehran Ataee and Dylan Uscher.

The second event of the weekend was on Saturday night when I went with a group of friends to a ‘Pulp Paper Art Party’ organized by Architecture for Humanity.  I was looking forward to seeing how paper could be used spatially in new ways and imagined being in a space surrounded by paper where a person could manipulate it by ripping it, folding it, and drawing on it.  I was also a little disappointed for this event as well (Sorry but I must be the architectural critic).  When they could have done sooo much with recycled paper and created a cool interactive landscape, all there was were little ‘stations’ so to speak.  The only paper item that actually carried through the space were these paper snowflake-remeniscent streamers hanging down randomly in the space.  Maybe there was fire code issues and they couldn’t take it that far?  In my opinion if it wasn’t for the music the event would’ve been a flop.  The live music was FANTASTIC and so was the space which was an old brick industrial building in the Junction neighbourhood.  A group called ‘Lemon Bucket‘ performed and they very appropriately describe themselves as a, quote, “balkan-klezmer-gypsy-party-punk-super band”.

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My favourite ‘paper decor’ of the evening were the scraps of paper stabbed onto the antlers of the gigantic stuffed deer head hanging off the center of the mezzanine.  The building was an amazing triple-height space.  Unfortunately we were limited to the ground floor, but got to enjoy the band playing on the mezzanine above us.  Jen & Danielle

Jen and her friend Danielle were visiting for the weekend and came along.  Not only do they look stunning in this picture, I am also particularly proud of how clear they are while there is nothing but movement behind them (hooray for steady hands!).  And it’s true, there were people dancing a mile a minute behind them!

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It was particularly cool, when near the end of their performance, the band came down and started playing right in the middle of the crowd.  There was even a point when they managed to calm everyone, got the crowd to sit down, and sang acapella.

We stayed at the event until the music performance had ended, and then headed back to my place.  For my friend Vikkie and I the night was not yet over.  We headed down to the Horseshoe Tavern at Queen and Spadina to see the Ketch Harbour Wolves play.  They introduced a new album with songs inspired by Toronto.  Even though I can never understand the lyrics, I really enjoy the music because it does indeed evoke feelings about places.

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April 30, 2013

African Art

I’m super excited because this week I finally… FINALLY got some of my artwork framed that I got in Uganda!  These three ladies are painted on fabric and have sat folded away for over a year.  I was looking into custom frames which are super expensive (especially in Toronto where there is no Michaels) when one day I came across two tall narrow frames at Value Village.  They were an ugly fake coloured wood, but I spray painted them black and now they are looking very smart!  I have added them to my narrow hallway baseboard radiator art shelf collection.  :D

The Ladies Baseboard Radiator Shelf

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