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Anna Taylor
Bodies in Translation at MSVU Art Gallery
October 11, 2017

Bodies In Translation: Age and Creativity at MSVU Art Gallery is an exhibition about aging, and all seven of the contributing artists identify as seniors. Their work addresses institutional barriers to space and information by labouring under the surface to break the stigma that art is for a select few who have the particular physical, sensory, and mental capacities to access it through traditional means.

Anna Torma, Red Fragments 1, 2017, Hungarian folk art, commercial and silkscreen prints, woman’s handwork, hand embroidery on North American quilt patterns

As you enter the gallery Onni Nordman's sculpture Scarecrow Among the Chancellors stands sentinel with open arms and a friendly, aged face. His body is made from the unlikely but extremely effective medium of dried yellow burs. Hundreds of the prickly Velcro spheres stick to one another, and, on an audio tour provided by the gallery, the artist’s voice urges you: "Go ahead. Touch him."

Touch is vital to the experience of Bodies In Translation as is audio description. The additional sensory information invites a deep and meaningful engagement. Another example of this is Anna Torma’s collaborative textile work – a call-and-answer piece created with the help of an aunt who made a series of cross-stitch works in the patterns she (and every woman in Hungary) would have been taught as a child. As the artist’s aunt ages (she has a stroke and eventually passes away), the patterns of the needlework fracture and peter out. They culminate in a mostly empty canvas with the still threaded needle left tucked in place. In contrast to traditional textiles, Torma has created a large, fractured and fraying tapestry that call to mind maps of both geographic and neurological displacement. All that remains is to navigate them.

Bodies In Translation: Age and Creativity continues until November 12.
MSVU Art Gallery:
The gallery is accessible.

Anna Taylor is an artist, crafter, and organizer sitting on the board of the Halifax Crafters Society. She is Akimblog’s Halifax correspondent and can be followed on Twitter @TaylorMadeGoods.



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