NSCAD University students open new show in Halifax

Students spent five days learning about themselves and exploring the history and mythology of Kejimkujik and the Fortress of Louisbourg

NSCAD students prepare to open their art exhibit in Halifax.
NSCAD students prepare to open their art exhibit in Halifax.   Steve Large

Photographs of empty but lived-in tents, glow-in-the-dark ceramics and a towering charcoal drawing are some of the exhibits on display at the Anna Leonowens Gallery in Halifax.

From Dec. 1 to Dec. 6, more than 20 Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD) University students are presenting their works inspired by trips to Kejimkujik National Park and the Fortress of Louisbourg. The works explore themes of history, memory, and their relationships to people.

The show is called ghosts, a play-on-words where students explored the collective history, memory, and mythology of the parks to inspire their art.

NSCAD instructor anna sprague, who asked her name be spelled without capital letters, led the trips and said the project gave a sense of agency back to the artists.

“It’s about realizing you don’t need a big, fancy studio,” she said. “We’ve proven we can just go into the woods and be pretty resourceful. I think this idea of communing with the past and learning those skills was really important.”

This is the fourth year NSCAD and Parks Canada have partnered on similar projects.

Kate Grey, a fourth-year student who went to Kejimkujik for the project and has a piece in the gallery, said the gallery explores the relationship between people and memory.

“Everyone’s way of remembering is so different,” she said. “We’re in this information generation where we need to remember everything and need to know everything. I think [of the gallery] as a reminder that memory is very fleeting and that it’s okay to forget.”  

A visitor to the ghosts exhibit at the Anna Leonowens Gallery in Halifax.
A visitor to the ghosts exhibit at the Anna Leonowens Gallery in Halifax.   Steve Large

For Grey, the project was more than a chance to create art. She said it was an opportunity that changed her.

“I’ve made stronger connections through camping and Keji than I have even in my own work environment,” she said. “It [was] really comforting because everyone was on the same playing field and we just comforted each other through that mysterious place we were all in.”

Jordan Baraniecki, a fourth-year fine arts major specializing in drawing, created a 16-foot-high charcoal drawing on display at the gallery.

“With all the different artists, it’s just an amazing experience to work with,” he said. “Everyone was really motivated and very into the process. They weren’t selfish and into their own works.”  

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