13 April 2015

SAQA is coming to Canada!

At SAQA's annual conference last year I had an opportunity as a regional representative to address the Board of Directors about concerns and ideas that affected our region. I chose to discuss the fact that a significant portion of the SAQA budget is directed to exhibitions yet none of those shows travel to Canada. We have to go to the United States or Europe to see the artwork in person and reap the rewards of our investment in the shows. My remarks were well-received and it seemed likely that arrangements would be made to ship an existing or future show to a venue in Canada.

I am delighted to report that something even more wonderful has occurred. In May 2016 two brand new SAQA shows will open at the Stratford Perth Museum in Stratford, Ontario. They will tour in tandem in Canada and one will also travel to venues in the United States and possibly Europe.

One of the two shows is open only to Canadian members of SAQA. It is called My Corner of the World: Canada. The text of the call for entry reads as follows:

You are invited, as a Canadian artist, to create a glimpse of the spirit of Canada; to convey through your art something true, meaningful and important about our beautiful country and its people. We are excited by the thought of galvanizing our creative community to express and share, through this exhibit, our vision of Canada. 

Few countries are as richly blessed as ours in geography, humanity, diversity, and artistic tradition. A vision of your corner of Canada might capture a vignette of everyday life or a unique landscape. Perhaps it is a reflection on the mosaic of Canadian peoples or draws on some iconic feature of Canadian history or ideals. Whether reverent, reflective, funny or whimsical, the story you tell should embody the Canadian experience from your unique corner of this land.

Daring to capture the ocean in a cup, you might look for inspiration to the great masters of Canadian artistic expression, visual artists, musicians and writers who have interpreted an essential feature of Canadian life with such perfection that it reflects something authentic about the whole country.

Your artwork can be representational or take an abstract approach. Let the cloth speak to the viewers. We are eager to see what the hearts, minds and skills of Canadian textile artists will craft as a woven love song to this unique and beautiful land.

You can find the complete prospectus on the SAQA Calls For Entry page (Scroll down to closing date of November 30, 2015). In brief, here's what you need to know: 
  • closing date: November 30, 2015 
  • size: 20-40 inches wide, 20-72 inches high
  • number: you may enter three pieces
  • cost: $40US for up to three pieces

What about the second show? It is called My Corner of the World (International) and is open to all SAQA members, including Canadians (yes, you can enter both shows). Here is the text from the call for entry for that show.

My Corner of the World invites you, the artist, to examine your world - the world, real or imagined, that represents what is important in your life.  It might be where you reside, work, or grew up. It might be a favorite place from any point in your life or the special space you take yourself to internally.

Where do you feel most yourself? What place makes you feel most grounded, inspired or at peace? My Corner of the World asks you to look at the big picture including, but not limited to your homeland, ancestry or culture.

The complete prospectus for this show is also on the SAQA Calls for Entry page. Most of the important details are the same as the all-Canada show. Note that you cannot enter the same piece in both shows. The prospectus contains an interesting reference to collaborative pieces - they are allowed so long as all of the contributors are SAQA members. 

The development of these shows is an exciting opportunity to share what we do with the people of Canada. I urge you to give some thought to ways in which you might interpret one or both of the themes.  Let's reward the Board of Directors and the Exhibition Committee for their attentiveness to our concerns with spectacular shows.

Chris Nielsen

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