From Guest Blogger and Art Curator Sofia :
Behind the Scenes of the Museum
How did I decide to make an exhibition on Emily Carr and Irene Hoffar Reid? The idea didn’t come to me in a eureka moment, or in a dream, or on a long walk in the forest, or anything romantic and interesting like that. Instead this exhibition is the result of years of studying, first Gender studies then English literature and now Curatorial studies and Art History. What came out of all those years of reading, writing and discussing was the idea of a show that would deal with the production of (Art) History - why, who and how we remember. I have asked myself the questions; why are certain artists included in the ‘official’ Art History and others not? What are the criteria for being included? And finally, the artists that we do remember, what role do we ascribe to them?
These questions have been floating around in my head for years now and when I started doing research on Emily Carr and Irene Hoffar Reid I realised they could help me answer them! Here we have two artists, one is a BC superstar and the other quite unknown – why? How did Emily Carr become an icon for our region? How come so few people know about Irene Hoffar Reid? To answer my own questions I’ve looked at a number of things: the norms surrounding art and artists in the early twentieth century, the importance of geographical location, the socio-economical situation of Vancouver in the 1930’s and the significance of gender in the writing of histories.
However, I’m afraid I don’t have any answers to my questions. I have ideas and suggestions but memory, history and the act of remembering is more complex than we might think. These things are also not static, they change, expand and contract depending on a number of things. So instead of trying to map out and understand how a certain History has been formed we can look at it closely and see how it is made up of many different stories – some which have been heard more than others.
In the end I hope that the combination of the art by these two artist and archival material (the tale of my scavenger hunt through the local archives needs a blog of its own!) will make the audience ask their own questions and maybe question their own ideas of history.
Sofia's next exhibition is called Shifting Margins: Emily Carr and Irene Hoffar Reid. This project will include works by Carr and Hoffar Reid made in the 1930’s as well as archival material on these artists. The exhibition will take place at the Burnaby Art Gallery, opening on the 30th of May 2013.
Need outfit inspiration? Check out this adorable and easy to wear look- perfect for a dinner date or patio sunset that will sure impress.
Josi is wearing the Spring 13 Bloom Top in Atomic Orange (OSP13-1002-2)
All Photos by: www.noelfox.com
A few days in busy Bangkok...
Noel and I landed in Thailand with absolutely no itinerary, all we knew was that we had a hotel reservation for 3 nights in Bangkok. It turned out that the hotel we had quickly booked online prior to flying was way more out of town than the description suggested. Luckily, just like Vancouver, Bangkok as a terrific sky train system that brings you pretty much everywhere you want to go. If the sky train doesn't make it exactly to your destination, there is always a tuk-tuk around the corner that will give you a ride for dirt cheap. For those who are not familiar with what a tuk-tuk is, it's a three wheel motorcycle type covered taxi, usually very colourful and pretty fast as it zips around cars avoiding traffic.
Excited to be in a new country, we hurried out of our hotel room to check out the weekend market on the other end of town. Jam-packed with stuff is how I would describe this market. They claim it to be the biggest street market in the world and it's big and busy. Rows and rows of little kiosks crammed one to another as far as the eye can see. You can pretty much find everything here from household items, decorations, art, clothes, shoes, jewellery, food and even massages. I was surprised to see that even though many of the merchants were selling the same stuff, there was still quite a bit of variety to keep one entertain for several hours. Be ready though, it's crowded, hot and sticky in there. We tried some of the street food which was surprisingly tasty and as a treat to ourself we got a nice foot and neck massage as well. After a while in this new environment with very little sleep from the night before, I started having a killer migraine which degenerated and next thing I knew I was laying down in the first aid room at one of the sky train stations. The next few days where spent exploring around Bangkok as opposed to flying to the Southern beaches of Thailand as we figured that we would spend more time exploring Vietnam rather than Thailand on this trip. In a way, it was nice as it made us discover Bangkok, a city where as a tourist, you would most likely skip as it is so busy and crowded.
Josi is wearing Spring 13 Boulevard Top in Heather Blue Azure (OSP13-1003-1)
We ended up visiting Wat Phra Kaew, Temple of the Emerald Buddha which was absolutely stunning. Customs are that you must wear sleeves that cover your shoulders as well as long pants or skirt to cover your legs. Luckily they are used to tourists showing up in inappropriate clothing so they gladly lend you pants, sarongs and blouses for free. It was hilarious to see Noel in baggy cotton pants and a lilac button shirt. Once you pass the gate, you enter this kingdom of amazing ornate buildings and temples that are each more beautiful than the one before. It's incredible to see the craftsmanship that went into building this beautiful place. The entire place is surrounded by huge walls and all along the inside of theses walls there is an amazingly detailed Thai mural that depicts the epic story of Ramayana. The entire mural is about 2 kilometres long!
Although very touristy, it is also nice to check out the view from the Baiyoke Tower II. From the rotating passerelle of the 82nd floor, you can enjoy the view of one of the most crowded cities I've ever seen. Apparently at night time, the view is even better as the city lights up. If you like shopping, you can walk from the Baiyoke Tower to Siam centre through a street full of merchants, similar to the weekend market. Siam Centre is the best mall I have ever been to. It offers super cool interactive art exhibits, trendy shops and a delicious food court. You won't hear me rave about food courts very often, but this one is great! You need to get a cash card first from the cashier and with your card loaded, you can then buy from the different food stations allowing you to tailor your meal to your tastes. I fell in love with their pad thai wrapped in a paper thin omelette as well as their young papaya salad, each meal costing about CDN$2.50.
Overall, we had a good time in Bangkok and the highlight of my stay was definitely the tuk-tuk rides through the city. The friendliness of the drivers makes up for the amount of carbon monoxide you breathe to get to your destination. Fast and slightly dangerous, it also gave us the opportunity to discover the hidden streets of dirty Bangkok and snap a few "stolen moment" photos on the way.
Meet Our Newest Guest Blogger: Sofia Stalner!
Finish this sentence: Journey is… life essential
Finish this sentence: I love to travel because…I love visiting foreign grocery stores.
How did you become interested in curating? I’ve always been interested in art and as I have no inclination becoming an artist myself, being a curator is an opportunity for me to work closely with something that I love.
What projects are you currently working on? I’m working on a show which will take place at the Burnaby Art Gallery, opening on May 30th. It’s called Shifting Margins: Emily Carr and Irene Hoffar Reid and is about the creation of art history and memory.
Do you have a favorite Canadian painter? Well, I’ll have to say Irene Hoffar Reid and Emily Carr of course. The time period I’m most interested in is 1920-1940 and there are a lot of interesting Canadian artists from that era.
How do you express your creativity? Right now through my academic work. Coming up with ideas and doing research might seem dry and boring but I find it very stimulating.
Where did you grow up? A small town in Sweden.
Where do you find your inspiration? Inspiration for my academic work I usually get by reading and seeing what others have done before me, especially when I don’t agree with them!
Your chosen super-power? Being able to relax completely in an instant. Right now my brain is always working.
What’s your favorite phrase in a foreign language? Älskling jag har köpt kakor (Darling I’ve bought you cookies - in Swedish)
What is the key to a good adventure? Forget the plans you made before you went.
Airplane seat – isle, centre or window? Window. I don’t like flying and being able to look outside makes me less nervous, strangely enough.
What are your 3 travel essentials that you have to bring with you? Earplugs, sleep mask and a good book.
How do you like to stay current in fashion and travel? I read Vogue, both the American and British version. It’s the only magazine I need.
What are your favourite blogs? I’m currently obsessed with the English make up artist Lisa Eldridge’s blog. She does really useful videos about make up and skin care. I discovered her blog a week ago and I’ve already learned lots!
What is your favourite way to spend a Sunday? Reading. In doors or outdoors, depending on the weather.
What’s next on your bucket list? I’d like to see more of B.C. The Okanagan is high on the list.
What is your favourite travel destination? For a city vacation: London, I’ve lived there and have a lot of favorite places that I always visit. For sun: Mallorca. The food, the swimming, the landscape – it’s just amazing!
What is your favourite food? Do chocolate cookies count as food? If not, fish tacos.
What is your favourite form of exercise? Yoga and swimming (preferably in the ocean)
How do you like to de-stress from a busy day? Mint tea and an episode of some English costume drama. Any Jane Austen adaptation will do the trick!
Orb the racehorse that is :) won the 139th running of the Kentucky Derby this past weekend. With wet muddy conditions and stiff competition, Orb managed a 2.5 length victory!
Check out the pictures and video here:
Josi is wearing the Spring 13 Gypsy Rose Tank in Casablanca Print (OSP13-1068-1)
All Photos by: www.noelfox.com
As soon as we decided to go to Africa, I knew that one thing we had to do was to go on a safari. I couldn't imagine going to Africa without seeing wild African animals, especially the little baby ones as they are so cute. After doing a bunch of research we chose to go to Madikwe game reserve for our safari. One of the main reasons we chose Madikwe is that it's Malaria free, which eliminated a big worry of mine. Also Madikwe is the fourth largest game reserve in South Africa and is home to the Big Five, which means that it has Lions, Elephants, Buffalo, Leopards and Rhinos. There are lots of camps that you can stay in at the park ranging from upscale to more rustic and somewhat affordable. We chose Mosethla Bush Camp & Eco Lodge (http://www.thebushcamp.com) because it ranked number 3 on Trip Advisor and it was a third of the price of the rest of the lodges. Other pluses include it being located right in the middle of the park, it's a family run business, and they have been in business since the park was opened. Their many years of experience living with all of these wild animals sure made for some incredible stories at dinner time.
For me the beauty of this Bush Camp is that it's raw, no electricity or running water, and at the same time very charming and upscale in it's service and overall experience. For about $350 a night Noel and I got a really cute little open air cabin, 3 great meals and two 3 hour game drives each day (one in the morning and one in the evening). Oh and I forgot to mention that except for a really high electric fence to keep out the elephants, the whole camp is totally open allowing all of the wild animals to roam freely through the camp! For peace of mind they fenced the toilet and shower area, which made me feel way safer when I heard a lion roar when I was in the shower one evening. Most nights you could hear animals wandering around outside your cabin and I often wondered why the front of the cabin was open with only a 3 foot cloth door to keep the lions out.
Josi is wearing the Spring 13 Patti Tank in Deco Diamond Print (OSP13-1061A-2)
Josi is wearing the Spring 13 R&R Hoody in Cherry Stripe (OSP13-1152-1)
On our first drive alone, we saw elephants, giraffes, impalas, wildebeests, kudus, cheetahs and as a real treat, right before getting back to the lodge, we even saw a leopard drinking out of a nearby water hole. After our drive we had dinner, chatted a bunch with our new friends from the camp and went to bed. Noel fell asleep within a few minutes and I was so wired and attentive to all of the wild and new sounds going on outside that I could barely sleep all night. As I laid on my bed my head was full of images of the wild animals that we had seen that afternoon. Our open aired cabin with no real door, in combination with the leopard that we had seen close by only a few short hours ago made my imagination work overtime. Poor Noel, I kept waking him up to tell him that there were animals outside. I guess I should have expected that considering that we are smack in the middle of a game reserve.
Wake up call comes early in Madikwe and every morning we got up at 5:30am. We basically had time to throw on our safari gear, grab a quick coffee and a rusk and jump into the 4x4 for the first game drive of the day. The whole experience was incredible and the best part in my opinion was to see the wild dogs of Africa. They are one of the most endangered species in Africa and are just a fascinating creature to watch. One day we saw 2 separate packs, one of about 8 skinny dogs running around on the hunt for something to eat, and second was a pack of 22 dogs, adults and puppies. This pack was hanging out by a drinking hole with their bellies so fat from a recent kill that they could barely move. Only a few of the younger ones were wrestling and playing around. I could have watched them for hours.
It was also great to be there at a time of the year when babies were just born. We saw tons of baby lions, elephants, impalas and wildebeests. It was so funny to hear all of us ladies in truck every time we approached a little one, you could hear an "awe" sound resonate through the jungle. The babies are so playful and especially the elephants who seemed to be experimenting with their trumpet like calls and you can see them sucking on their trunks. Through these experiences we met some amazing people, and for me it was a great bonding experience especially when we were only a couple of meters from a pride of huge lions, it seemed like we all got a bit closer. Although, viewing the animals was incredible, I have to say that coming back to the camp at night was one of my favourite things because the staff lights up the entire area using oil lanterns. They are scattered all over the camp, in the rooms and around the dinner table making for a most romantic and exotic setting.
This was truly the experience of a lifetime and I can't wait to return.
Josi is wearing the Spring 13 Gypsy Rose Tank in Heather Cherry Bomb (OSP13-1068-1)
Colour is like magic – it has this incredible ability to transform and it seems as vital to our well-being as fresh air and exercise; It sparks our imagination, reflects our emotions, calms us, excites us, makes us hungry, makes us faster… but is it possible that there is a colour that represents who you are – the real you? A colour that could make you feel more connected to yourself, give you confidence, ground you or inspire you? And if there was such a colour what would it be?
Take a guess…sky blue? Deep crimson? Blossom pink? Sap green? Citus orange?
I stumbled across a ‘Colorstrology’ site recently created by renowned astrologer Michele Bernhardt, where every day of the year has been assigned a colour that is supposed to “reflect the very essence of your specific birth date.” Bernhardt claims that “Just as being born on a particular day under a particular sun sign offers insight into your personality and nature, there is also a personal colour that corresponds to the real you.”
I was, as you can imagine, and as I merrily clicked away I was blown away by how accurate it was concerning my personality and also how the colour seemed to make perfect sense. My personal birthdate colour is Pantone’s Artisans Gold which has a gorgeous apricot tone that I happen to love and although my skin tone makes this a hard colour for me to wear, I’m already planning on how I can incorporate it into my home!
Whether you are an astrology fan or don’t believe in all that ‘new age mumbo jumbo rubbish’ (although people who dismiss it usually enjoy reading it anyway, don’t you find!?), this fun site is definitely worth a look!
Colour has undeniable power and if you could find a colour that reflected who you really are, or that could help you connect to yourself in some way, wouldn’t that be worth knowing?
Josi is wearing the Spring 13 Superstition Top in Cherry Stripe (OSP13-501A-2)
All Photos by: www.noelfox.com
Cape Town: South Africa's first stop
I boarded the plane for South Africa anxious and excited to discover a new country and also to finally set foot on a continent that I had yet had the chance to visit. South Africa is the only country that we are visiting on this portion of the trip and we made Cape Town our first stop. Friends of ours generously provided us with lists of things to do and places to see while in the Cape Area. Right then, we knew that it would be necessary to narrow it down as we only had just over a week in the area. We booked a room in a B&B that was affordable and turned out to be a great place to stay as it was close to the beautiful Camps Bay area and down town, and the staff made us feel like at home. When we arrived, we were surprised to see our spacious bedroom with its gorgeous French doors and little outdoor patio. The best part is that they had decorated the bedroom with petal flowers and had left some sparkling wine and chocolates for us to enjoy as they knew we were on our honeymoon. So sweet!
The beaches alone are a reason to come to Cape Town and could justify a week of lounging and relaxing holiday. The beaches with their blue and turquoise water are so tropical looking that you would never imagine that the water is absolutely freezing! Spoiled with all the tropical destinations we visited so far and all the upcoming tropical stops coming soon, we decided to skip the swimming and instead explored the city and surrounding areas.
One of our first activities in Cape Town was visiting Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for several years. I am glad we went on the tour at the beginning of our trip because it provided us with good dose of local history which made it easier to understand what South Africa went through over the last 50 years. Wanting to understand the poor living conditions of majority of the people here, we decided to hire a guide and to walk through the oldest township in Cape Town. A township is basically like a shanty town, where many people still live in shacks with no electricity or running water. It was eye opening, a bit heavy at times and also inspiring. We met some super cool people who are passionate about making a difference by putting in place art programs like music classes, pottery, jewellery making that are now providing people with the necessary skills to earn money and work towards making a living that will sustain their family. We even got to learn a few Xhosa words which is one of the many native languages spoken here in South Africa. It involves a series of clicking sounds that I have yet to master.
On a lighter note, we enjoyed the shopping in the centre of Cape Town and especially on Long Street where you can shop until you drop and enjoy some great little cafes. The Waterfront area is also great for shopping even though it is more of a mall setting. I would still highly recommend visiting the Waterfront area as it is super cute and offers so many terraces where you can enjoy some delicious sushi with a glass of wine while watching the boats come in and out of the harbour.
Josi is wearing the Spring 13 Gypsy Rose Tank in Heather Cherry Bomb (OSP13-1068-1)
Renting a car is definitely a must while in Cape Town as there are so many little towns along the coast all the way to the Southern Cape. Driving down, we found this super cool sand dune where two houses are now almost totally covered with sand. We pulled over to snap a few photos and enjoyed the stunning and intriguing backdrop. If you drive through Hout Bay during a weekend, make sure that you stop by the Bay Harbour Market. The market feature arts and craft, clothes, jewellery and the most delicious food prepared by the numerous vendors. The food was for most part organic, high quality and mouth watering flavourful. It made for a perfect stop on our way to the Southern Cape where we visited two nature reserves. In the same day, we saw hundreds of penguins, about 50 baboons and 4 four zebras, not bad for an afternoon drive.
Before leaving Cape Town, make sure to climb Table Mountain. If possible, pick a sunny day with not too much wind. The ascent is steep and reminded me of the stair master machine at the gym, leaving me out of breath on several occasions. The reward is huge though! An unobstructed 360 degree view of Cape Town with all it's magnificence. Make sure you have a bit of money on you as you might want to cheat on the way down and use the cable car instead of hiking down ;)
Travel Inspiration: This week we are inspired by Bora Bora in Tahiti!
Known for its spectacular lagoons, barrier reefs, luxury resorts, beaches, and ancient volcanoes, Bora Bora is one of the most popular islands to visit in the French Polynesia. This week we are inspired and dreaming of an adventurous snorkel in Coral Gardens and visit to Mount Otemanu followed by watching the sunset at Matira Beach :)
Who wants to join!?
What is your Meditation?
In a world that doesn’t seem to ever slow down, it can be difficult to connect with yourself. There’s always something to watch, to do, or to experience. The world is literally at our fingertips and is moving faster than ever.
Sometimes stopping to “smell the roses” can make you feel guilty, like you’re missing out on something great. But the truth of the matter is that by not slowing down you’re missing out on some of the great experiences and opportunities that you might be too busy to notice.
Meditation is an increasingly popular way to slow down and connect to yourself. Even just 5 minutes in the morning and at night will help you feel more grounded and in tune with what’s best for you.
If meditation isn’t your thing or is a bit intimidating, do whatever puts you in the “zone”. It could be going for a run, dancing around when no one is watching (my personal favorite), taking a bike ride, or listening to some good music. The basic goal is to let go of your worries and just be. No expectations and judgment. What’s your meditation?