On the Avenue Art Gallery puts spotlight on northern artists during provincial art fair

Prince Albert gallery is one of 17 from across the province hosting online and in-person exhibits

Prince Albert’s On the Avenue Art Gallery is one of two new additions to the annual Art Now provincial fine art fair, and curator Jesse Campbell says it’s a great opportunity to showcase northern artists.

On the Avenue is one of 17 galleries showing exhibits during the annual art fair, which runs online until Sept. 26. Residents can also visit the gallery in person from Sept. 24-25 to see 38 pieces from 10 different artists, and go online to view panel discussions and artist talks hosted from around the province.

“It’s really exciting because it’s a great opportunity to work with a huge variety of artists and curators and writers and arts professionals,” Campbell said. “(It’s) not only (artists) from Saskatchewan, but arts professionals who have roots in Saskatchewan, but live further afield. There is a lot of opportunity to, I think, create some interesting experiences with art and look at a variety of topics in art being made on the prairies.”

Galleries across the province will showcase a wide variety of artists, but On the Avenue chose to focus on work from members of the Lac La Ronge Indian Band.

Campbell said art education takes a different form in the north, where families and communities pass techniques down to younger generations instead of universities or art schools. That’s created a unique artistic tradition that’s rarely showcased on the provincial stage.

“I think it really shows the way that a lot of people have lived traditionally in northern Saskatchewan,” Campbell explained. “There’s a lot of work that’s quite descriptive and narrative. It’s not terribly abstract, but you still do get distinct feelings and moods that come across in the work.”

The variety is what stood out most for Campbell. The exhibit showcases everything from paintings and sculptures to traditional Indigenous art forms like birch bark biting. A lot of the materials are traditional too, which exhibitors taking advantage of wood and antlers to create their pieces.

“It’s a really good look into what artists are doing north of us here in PA,” Campbell said. “I hope (viewers) get a little bit of an understanding of what artists in the north are focusing on, the kinds of materials they’re using, and how there’s a lot of tradition being passed down through the artwork.”

Art Now held their opening online reception on Sept. 16, where viewers got a glimpse of the more than 600 works of art on display across the province. In just three days, more than 3,000 visitors have logged on to view the exhibits.

Campbell also helped organize a series of artist talks and panels, which will continue throughout the week. That includes an artist talk with Molly R. Ratt on Sept. 21, which is presented by On the Avenue Art Gallery. Replays of previous talks are available on the SaskGalleries YouTube page.

In-person events are limited to only two days. Campbell said that’s an unfortunate side-effect of COVID-19, but she’s confident the online exhibits will impress art lovers from across the province.

To register for upcoming panels and artist talks, or to view those held previously, visit artnow.ca/online/events.

This is Art Now’s sixth year of operation. It celebrates the variety and quality of original fine art made in Saskatchewan. All shows are free to attend or view.

Upcoming online events for the Art Now Saskatchewan Art Fair

Sunday, Sept. 19

1 p.m. – Panel Session No. 4: Culture C(l)ash: can Indigenous artists make a living without selling out

Tuesday, Sept. 21

1:30 p.m. – Artist Talk: Sandra Knoss

4:30 p.m. – Artist Talk: Molly R. Ratt*

7 p.m. – Panel Session No. 5: Art as Life – the Creative Process

Wednesday, Sept. 22

Noon – Artist Talk: Edie Marshall

3 p.m. – Artist Talk: Shelley Hosaluk

Thursday, Sept. 23

1:30 p.m. – Artist Talk: Maia Stark

3 p.m. – Artist Talk: Michaela Hoppe

Sunday, Sept. 26

Noon – Artist Talk: Dave Gejdos

1:30 p.m. – Artist Talk: Arlette Seib

*Presented by On the Avenue Art Gallery

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