Janaya McCallum was surprised to win the People’s Choice award at the 45th Annual Kyla Art Group Show and Sale at Mont St. Joseph Home on Saturday because she is new to visual arts.
McCallum, who grew up on a farm northeast of Prince Albert, was one of 15 artists who had work on display, and one of several guest artists invited to take part in the show. Her piece ‘A Night on the Land’ was chosen as best in show.
McCallum said she was shocked, but grateful, for the recognition.
“I was not expecting that at all,” she said. “I’m really new to painting. I have been a musician my whole life, so I’ve been involved in the arts community in Prince Albert, but not fine arts, mostly performing arts, so I’m super excited and just honoured.”
Patrons who attended the exhibit voted on the Best in Show winner. McCallum’s piece was one of 11 she had on display.
“I worked really hard to try and make as many as I could,” she said. “I’m a new mom. I have a one year old at home, so it’s hard to find time.”
McCallum said she makes time because she loves to paint and because it’s something she can do with her child.
“(The child is) usually hanging on to my leg and kind of playing at my feet, so it’s good bonding time for us,” she said.
McCallum’s chosen medium for her work is acrylic paint, which she finds suits her needs.
“I just like how fast it dries and how vibrant you can make it,” she explained. “I love how quickly I can finish a piece. I love layering things. The quick dry time allows me to do that, and it’s just what I had around. I used what I had and it stuck.”
“A Night on the Land” took her about three days to complete on the easel.
The piece itself is also special to her because of the symbolism of the imagery. The painting displays two teepees that are illuminated from the inside by fires with the Northern Lights overhead during winter.
“That scene is so peaceful to me and speaks of our province especially,” McCallum said. “I lived in the Arctic last year, my husband and I and every yard had a teepee or two in it, and it’s just so nostalgic and meaningful to me. It’s special. I’m glad that it won.”
The Kyla Arts Show and Sale featured a Gala presentation on Saturday evening along with an afternoon showing for the residents of Mont St. Joseph. The Gala had valet parking and piano entertainment.
According to the Kyla Group, guest artists are asked to join after their first show. McCallum was thankful for the art group’s support.
“Thank you to the Kyla Group. It’s such an honour because I’m so new to it, and I just really hope to be doing this for a long time, so it’s very encouraging to receive this,” she said.