This one time, at the Gallery

Last week I went to the National Gallery to check out the Szilasi exhibit (which totally rocked my world), and I found ANOTHER exhibit which I loved EVEN MORE!

The exhibit is called David Hoffos: Scenes from the House Dream, and it’s open at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa until February 14th.

It’s a series of beautiful dioramas that indulge your senses on a way I never thought possible by installations. For a sneak peak, check out some of the videos on his website.

Here are a few snapshots from my outing! (Please excuse the quality – my iPhone and I haven’t quite mastered the art of photography yet)

National Gallery of Canada

Before visiting the exhibits, the NGC wows you with its stunning architecture

National Gallery of Canada - Parliament buildings in the background

With a beautiful view of the Parliament buildings in the background

The Garden Court

Szilasi Exhibit at the National Gallery of Canada

Elephants playing dead on huge screens at the National Gallery

Douglas Gordon. Play Dead: Real Time

Walking out of the building, stumbled upon this gem

If you haven’t been recently, I STRONGLY encourage you to take a visit. I don’t think I’m qualified to be an “art enthusiast”, but I always love going to the Gallery.

*Bonus: On Thursdays after 5pm, it’s free!

*Bonus#2: Makes a lovely (and inexpensive) date.


Preparing the Class of 2025 for the Job Market: Is Education a Waste of Money or a Wise Investment?

The Canadian Museum of Nature and the Canada Science and Technology Museum hold monthly Café scientifique discussions from September to May.

Here’s the info I found on the What’s On calendar at

Our Café scientifiques provides a forum where adults can explore current issues relating to science, technology and the environment. These stimulating discussions take place in a relaxed atmosphere where all opinions are welcome. Guest experts are on hand to get the discussion rolling.

Tuesday, January 26: 6:00 p.m.

Location: Fox and Feather Pub, 283 Elgin Street, Ottawa.

With the ever rapid emergence of new technologies, is it possible to fully prepare students for the constantly changing job market of the future? Are universities serving their students well by focusing on ‘liberal education,’ or will future workers lack the specific skills and knowledge that the global economy demands? In a highly competitive job market, is the pursuit of higher education a matter of principle or paycheque? Is higher education a waste of time and money, or an investment in a brighter future?

Invited guests:
Azmina Somani, Technical lead in Research and Development at JDS Uniphase
Erin Mills, Senior Research Analyst at the Canadian Council on Learning

The Eloquence of the Everyday: Gabor Szilasi

Gabor Szilasi's Motorcyclists at Lake Balaton (1954)

Gabor Szilasi's Motorcyclists at Lake Balaton (1954)

“When people ask me how I began to take photographs, unlike many artists, photographers, painters and actors, I do not have a nice story to tell. No archangel appeared to me in my dreams and said,

‘Gabor Szilasi, go by a leica and you will become a great photographer.’

It was nothing like that. I simply felt the need to take photographs, to put what I saw on film. And so I began to film.”

– Gabor Szilasi, 1980

I know what I’m doing after work today.  It’s not watching Oprah, or hitting the gym, or grocery shopping. I’m going to the Gallery to immerse myself in some gorgeous Hungarian/Quebecois photography.

I stumbled across this exhibit today.  Organized by Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography and the Musée d’art de Joliette, Gabor Szilasi’s The Eloquence of the Everyday is on display at the National Gallery for only ten more days, until January 17th. Luckily, Thursdays are the only day of the week that the National Gallery of Canada is open until 8pm (usually their opening hours are 10-5pm), and on Thursdays after 5pm, admission is FREE!

I could go on and on about how breathtakingly beautiful his photography is, but I’ll leave it up to you to go visit the exhibit (or at least check out the video below).

Gabor Szilasi: The Eloquence of the Everyday

Gabor Szilasi: The Eloquence of the Everyday

And if you can’t go to the Gallery, take a look at the book!

240 pages of everyday eloquence, as shot by Szilasi himself.

Simply. Beautiful….

Wow. (note: this is what I should have asked for this Christmas. Maybe next year…)

KickstArt 2010

I’ll admit – I’ve recently become a Vancouver 2010 junkie. I went for a trip to Vancouver/Whistler about a month ago, and since then I’ve been caught up in all things Olympics. The torch relay, the completition, the tourism proponents and opponents, and the fuzzy red mittens have all captured my attention more than I thought they could.

In reading about Vancouver (and remembering my trip), I found out about KickstArt, which is:

Based in Vancouver, Canada, Kickstart (formerly the Society for Disability Arts and Culture) presents and produces works by artists with disabilities and promotes artistic excellence among artists with disabilities working in a  variety of disciplines.
One of their big events this year is the Cultural Olympiad – a 60 day series of cultural showcases and events in and around Vancouver and other parts of BC. The series runs from January 22nd to March 21st, 2010 and promises to showcase some amazing talent.

I couldn’t find much information about the individual events for the Cultural Olympiad, but here is the blurb I found at  It showcases only some of the events for KickstArt’s Cultural Olympiad (note: these events are focused on the hearing-impaired and are all ASL interpreted).

KickstArt, UBC, Ryerson University and the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad present Out From Under: Disability History and Things to Remember at UBC Robson Square, 800 Robson St., March 9-21, 8:00 am-10:00 pm daily. Curated by Kathryn Church, Catherine Frazee and Melanie Panitch, this show premiered in summer 2008 at the Royal Ontario Museum. It is a groundbreaking and artful exhibit that pays tribute to the resilience, creativity, and the civic and cultural contributions of Canadians with disabilities. Recipient of the 2008 Access Award for Disability Issues, and jury-selected for Design at Work 2008. Free.

KickstArt and the Pendulum Gallery present Heroes at the Pendulum Gallery, HSBC Bldg, 885 W. Georgia, March 8 – 27. Co-curated by Elizabeth Shefrin and Bernadine Fox, 20 participating artists from across the country have been asked to engage with notions of The Heroic, as it applies to the disability community. It’s hoped the exhibition will invite visual meditation or commentary within the context of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Mon-Wed 9:00 am – 6:00 pm, Thurs/Fri 9:00 am – 9:00 pm, Sat 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. Free.

KickstArt and UBC present She Laughed! She Cried! at Telus Studio Theatre at the UBC Chan Centre For the Performing Arts, 6265 Cresent Rd, UBC, March 12. A double-header, beginning with Sara Marreiros, a Victoria-based fado artist, with her band. Funny in the Head is the rollicking story of a bipolar comedian’s fight to stay funny, written and performed by Jan Derbyshire. Tickets $22/$16 at, 604-280-3311.

KickstArt, Vancouver International Dance Festival and the Vancouver 2010 Cultural Olympiad present Configurations at the Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre, March 20 and 21, 8:00 pm. Geometry of the Circle, performed by Alison Denham and Mark Brose, is a remount of the critically acclaimed duet choreographed by Canadian modern dance legend Peggy Baker. Bill Shannon, influenced by house and hip hop dance forms, silent film acting and skateboard culture, performs Spatial Theory, a multi-media show in four acts integrating Shannon’s unique hybrid movement on crutches. Tickets $25-35 on March 20; $75 on March 21. Gala also includes Peggy Baker performing Earthling. Tickets at

Pretty cool, eh? Definitely makes me want to go back to Vancouver…

Building the Canal – a Virtual Exhibit from the Bytown Museum

One of the scenes from the 3D tour of the building of the locks on the rideau canal

A 3D tour of the Rideau Canal locks system

I was perusing the Virtual Museum of Canada today and came across a really nice gallery of images from the Bytown Museum.

This virtual exhibit chronicles the building of the Rideau Canal and the key players who made it happen. At first glance, I thought the silent animation on the homepage was the entire project. Then I went to “The Animation” page, and I found a series of downloadable movie files that explains why the locks were built, how they work, and the general history of early settlement in Ottawa.

It also showcases an early tour of the bytown museum, the commissariat originally built for the locks project.

The tour takes 10 minutes, so you need some time to watch it, but it’s a pretty interesting 3D tour of the Bytown Museum before it was the museum.

If you’re interested in the actual 3D project itself, check out the “About the Project” page, and you can see how hard everyone worked on getting the exhibit finished for the VMC.

The strike is over! (but maybe you knew that)

Just in case you haven’t heard, the strike at the Canadian War Museum and Canadian Museum of Civilization are over!

On December 16th, after 86 days of striking, staff from both museums went back to work.

I won’t pretend to know the ins and outs of the strike, why it started and how it finished, all I can say is:

Welcome back! Canada’s cultural heritage needs you! 🙂

Alas, there is still some confusion… Are these museums open this week or not? Their homepages both say they both are open, but hours schedules say they’re closed from January 4th-8th for their annual maintenance. After too much time spent going through their tedious automated phone systems, I’ve learned that they are, in fact, closed until the 8th inclusively. (They will be open January 9th from 9:30-5pm if you’re interested.)

Big congratulations to all members involved in this issue for getting it resolved, and I hope everyone will take some time to enjoy these extraordinary museums in the near future.

Winter Solstice at the Canadian Museum of Science & Technology

Winter Solstice is is commonly known as the shortest day and the sun‘s daily maximum position in the sky is the lowest in the Northern Hemisphere.

Coincidentally, 2009 is also the International Year of Astronomy.

So, if you’re in Ottawa this evening, why not celebrate the days getting longer with the Canadian Museum of Science & Technology’s Winter Solstice celebration?

With indoor and outdoor activities that the whole family will enjoy at the Canada Science and Technology Museum.

(Sorry there aren’t more details, but it looks like fun!)

Winter Solstice at Canada Museum of Science & Technology in Ottawa Ontario

Winter Solstice at Canada Museum of Science & Technology in Ottawa Ontario