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August 31, 2009

Although they’re rare, those unplanned moments become the most memorable in our lives. And what better way to experience spontaneity than to simply get in the car and drive? This is what I did last weekend. I packed my tent, sleeping bag, Coleman stove, cans of Puritan beef stew and hit the road in true nomad-style. The wind blew me north, and I landed lakeside somewhere outside of Bon Echo Provincial Park. The loons and coyotes were already there and called out in the warm night air (these recollections get us through the winters in Canada). When I woke the next day, it was as though I felt some sort of “Great Canadian” homing device awaken in me—Ottawa. I couldn’t ignore this call and set off for the nation’s capital.

The first stop was the National Gallery, where a fittingly titled show Nomads was on. The exhibition touched on themes of exploration, wanderlust and perambulations. One of the highlights in this show was Althea Thauberger’s video set in a remote village in the Dolomites, in the north of Italy. The artist had hired local villagers to act out a folk legend in their mother tongue. I heard Ladin spoken for the first time; a rare, ancient language spoken in this mountainous region to this day. Later that night, a free light-and-sound show was scheduled on Parliament Hill. As the skies darkened, a massive campfire flame projected on the Peace Tower. In full surround-sound the recorded calls of loons and coyotes echoed through the heart of the capital.

The night lights of Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Ontario Canada.

The night lights of Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Ontario Canada.

August 14, 2009

I wondered what happened on this day a year ago. I opened my 2008 day planner to August 14. In pencil, I had scribbled “meet with mihau m. (?)” This is how I was introduced to the emerging artist by Sarah Felgemacher, our summer student at the time. She was adamant that I meet her pal “Mihau”—Sarah’s tender nickname for Michal Majewski—a promising local musician and graphic artist. It seemed only fitting that an artist like Michal get involved with Station Gallery–he was an early-career talent based in the region interested in printmaking. And on that sunny August afternoon last year he came to the gallery to check out our permanent collection. Our holdings were of particular interest to Michal, since most of the works are prints, which was the young artist’s specialty (I remember how he was particularly impressed by the graphic and whimsical works of Rudolph Bikkers). I asked if he’d be interested in showcasing some of his own prints and posters in the Yourspace Community Gallery. He was modest about his talents and said that he would follow-up one day with a disc of his images. That day never came.

Shwa-ltz 2009, event poster by late artist Michal Majewski.

Shwa-ltz 2009, event poster by late artist Michal Majewski.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earlier this summer Michal met his untimely death in an accident out in BC. He was only 28. He left behind a prolific body of work. Posters, prints, pictures with a distinctly energetic and graphic style; this was the unmistakable visual hallmark of Michal’s work. Everyone in the local music scene recognized his posters advertising bands in the area.  Maybe Michal never had a chance to “follow-up” but the Yourspace will be his from September 12 to October 25. Michal’s work will be featured in a posthumous show, guest curated by Sarah F., the person who first introduced me to Michal Majewski.

Summer Solstice poster by late artist Michal Majewski.

Summer Solstice poster by late artist Michal Majewski.