Tompalski opens at the Gage Gallery Feb 23 2017

Tompalski’s Afghan Boxers at Gage Gallery Victoria  Canada, 2017.

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Efren Quiroz’s YouTube and Website exhibit-V, provides an extensive monthly calendar of openings in Victoria B.C. Canada. He covers the Boxers and Beauties show with interviews of Sherry Tompalski and Arden Rose at Gage gallery Arts Collective.

On Tuesdays through Saturdays between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. the show continues to Mar 11, 2017.

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See a 360 degree panorama of the show provided by photographer Barry Herring. Click to view interactively and then play with the buttons. CLICK http://360.io/XJP7w2 . The gallery is Located in Oak Bay Village, the Gage is close to the corner of Oak Bay and Foul Bay avenues.

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Tompalski’s new work is based on and inspired by pictures of the Afghan women who train in the basement of the Kabul stadium where the Taliban used to publicly execute women accused of adultery.

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Sadaf Rahimi, a female boxer from Afghanistan who made history by being the first Afghan female boxer to be invited to the Olympics recounts, “In Afghanistan, there is so much violence and prejudice towards women. Because of that, when I come here and box, I feel freedom. Here we are all girls, and we talk with each other and practice. Here is freedom for me and for every girl.” The Boxers & Beauties Show was covered by Christine van Reeuwyk of the OakBay News.

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Boxers debut with Beauties at Gage Gallery

Oak Bay artist Sherry Tompalski prepares to unveil her boxers, inspired by Afghan female athletes, during her first show as a Gage Gallery artist collective member. — image credit: Christine van Reeuwyk/Oak Bay News

A series of boxers enjoy time in the spotlight this month after waiting three years for a chance in the ring. Boxers, created by Oak Bay artist Sherry Tompalski, were inspired by the Female Afghan Boxing Club in Kabul. “I’ve never exhibited the boxers,” said the new Oak Bay resident. “I’m looking froward to seeing how people respond to them.” Tompalski returned west from Ottawa last June after a dual career as an artist and psychiatrist. Decades ago, after medical school in Vancouver she and her husband Graham Thompson moved to Ottawa for practicum. “We went for one year and ended up being there or 30,” she said. Upon their return, they opted for Victoria, which reminded them of Vancouver as it was three decades ago. Tompalski’s new work is based on and inspired by pictures of the Afghan women who train in the basement of the Kabul stadium where the Taliban used to publicly execute women accused of adultery. She learned of the women after a boxer made history as the first Afghan female boxer invited to the Olympics. “If was shocked, it just sounded almost surreal,” she said.

“This work began as large graphite drawings that are torn up and reassembled with fragments of musical scores, portraying the process of coming undone, reforming and coming together. The Boxers incorporate a fragmented, difficult history which hopefully with healing and strength becomes music.” Beauties by Arden Rose balance the boxers in a shared exhibition at Gage Gallery.
“We got together and I liked her immediately,” said Tompalski. “She’s also a figurative painter so that’s great.” They crafted Boxers and Beauties for the shared show at Gage from Feb. 21 to March 11. “We were thrown together in this and we’re both fairly new to the Gage Gallery,” said Rose, a Victoria resident. “I have been working on these kind of abstract portraits. I’ve been drawn to doing that lately.” She was inspired by an in-depth workshop last fall. “Two of the days we had live nude models. We did a lot of drawing and short sketches of nudes. But the models were all tiny and young. I added flesh to them because it just seemed more realistic. That started the inspiration with the nudes,” she said. “Then I thought I’ll try just the face.” We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story’s topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.

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Artist Sherry Tompalski’s new show at the Gage Gallery opens on Feb 23, (5-8pm) featuring her Female Boxers.”This work began as large graphite drawings that are torn up and reassembled with fragments of musical scores, portraying the process of coming undone, reforming and coming together. The Boxers incorporate a fragmented, difficult history which hopefully with healing and strength becomes music.” Tompalski’s Boxers are accompanied by Artist Arden Rose’s Beauties at the Gage Gallery from February 21 to March 11, 2017.

The Feb 23 Vernissage

Vernissage has its roots in the old practice of setting aside a day before an exhibition’s opening for artists to varnish and put finishing touches to their paintings-a tradition that reportedly dates to at least 1809, when it was instituted by England’s Royal Academy of Arts. (One famous member of the Academy, Joseph Mallord William Turner, was notorious for making major changes to his paintings on this day.) English speakers originally referred to this day of finishing touches simply as “varnishing day,” but sometime around 1912 we also began using the French term vernissage (literally, “varnishing”). Today, however, you are more likely to encounter sparkling water and truffles than varnish at a vernissage, which is how Tompalski’s February 23 opening unfolded. See pictures below.

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Arden Rose and Parents in front of Tompalski’s Afghan Women’s Boxing Club

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Tompalski in Traditional Afghan Dress

In the show, Tompalski also exhibited Bahara of Kabul #1, #2 & #3, along with Hawa of Guinea West Africa. See below

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The show also featured videos of Bahara of Kabul and Hawa of Guinea. See below.

Tompalski Featured as March 2017 Artist of the Month at Exhibit-V

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SEE: http://exhibit-v.blogspot.ca/2017/03/sherry-tompalski-march-2017-artist-of.html

CONTACT SHERRY TOMPALSKI
quitecontrarysherry@gmail.com

GAGE GALLERY INFO,
open Tues-Sat 11 am – 5 pm, Sun 1 PM – 4 PM
2031 Oak Bay Avenue,
Victoria, BC, V8R 1E5
250-592-2760

WEB SITES
http://gagegallery.ca/
http://sherrypaints.info/
http://ardenroseart.com/

Guerilla Mag Ottawa, Voicing Refugee Identity

Ottawa’s Guerilla Magazine reviews Voices of Refugees Installation at the Parliament of Canada, June 2009.

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Ottawa’s Guerilla Magazine reviewed the Voices of Refugees Installation at the Parliament of Canada in a piece call Voicing the Refugee Identity by Tony Martins in May 2009.

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Tompalski and Thompson’s Voices of Refugees Installation featured portraits and videos of refugees from Afghanistan, Iran, Guinea, Congo, Darfur, El Salvador and Guatemala. The show was presented at the Parliament of Canada, June 15, 2009 during World Refugee Week. The presentation also featured speeches by the Honourable Jason Kenney, P.C., M.P. Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism and Abraham ABRAHAM, the senior representative of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) Canada. The event included a live presentation by Guatemalan singer/song writer Tito Medina. Special thanks goes to Ontario Arts Council, City of Ottawa, Canada Council, Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

Guerilla Magazine Review Segment

The show was cover by Guerilla Magazine’s g-Gallery on June 22, 2009, and ran as follows …..One of the cool things about Canada: perhaps more than anywhere else, everyone gets a voice. Consider, for example, how the latest incarnation of the Talking Portraits project by husband-and-wife team Sherry Tompalski and Graham Thompson articulates the stories of some new Canadians who need it most: refugees. The newest portraits—each featuring mixed media and video components—took centre stage on Tuesday, June 16 at a Parliament Hill reception in recognition of World Refugee Day (Saturday, June 20). Key speakers at the event were the Honourable Jason Kenny, Minister for Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, and Abraham Abraham, Canada’s representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees..

Minister Kenney Launches Refugee Voices

Voices of Refugees Installation launched by Immigration  and Citizenship’s Minister Jason Kenney, June 2009.

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The Voices of Refugees Multimedia Installation was officially launched by Citizenship and Immigration Canada Minister Jason Kenney on June 16 2009.  SEE www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/photos/2009/

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Minister Kenney Launches “Voices of Refugees”

OTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – June 16, 2009) – In recognition of World Refugee Day, “Voices of Refugees,” a new multi-media presentation combining portraits with videos of refugees telling their stories, was unveiled today by Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney and Mr. Abraham ABRAHAM, Representative in Canada of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

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“Voices of Refugees enables refugees to share their stories with all Canadians, to show that there are real people in real danger,” said Minister Kenney. “Refugees are sometimes forgotten as a faceless group stranded in a far away land. We need to heed these voices and listen to their stories.”

This project came from two ordinary Canadians – Graham Thompson and Sherry Tompalski – doing extraordinary things. The partnership between these two Canadians and the refugee artists featured in the multi-media presentation is the kind of initiative that will help bridge communities and build a more inclusive and cohesive Canada for all.

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“These works of art speak for themselves and help us understand that refugees are not faceless statistics, but real people with talents and with real needs like you and me. Ask them and you will know that every refugee has a moving story to tell,” said Mr. Abraham.

Every year Canada’s refugee programs provide protection to more than 30,000 people. We have a fair and generous domestic refugee protection system that is well regarded internationally. Through our resettlement program, we provide protection to 1 in 10 refugees who are resettled globally. In fact, since World War II, Canadians have provided refuge to over 1 million refugees.

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Even so, the Government of Canada is exploring ways to improve the refugee status determination system and our resettlement approach in order to better help refugees. Canada must focus our resources where they can do the most good. Working with its many partners including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organization for Migration, private sponsors and service providers, Canada is helping refugees begin their lives anew.

Voices of Refugees is a testament to those who have already come to Canada and of the thousands still in need of protection. This presentation highlights the remarkable bravery of these individuals and the important contributions they are making to Canadian society.

CBC All In A Day, Alan Neal Forced Migrations

CBC’s All In A Day covers Tompalski’s Forced Migrations: Portraits of Refugees from Africa, Central America and Central Asia at La Petite Mort Gallery.__01-consuelo-1500x1200

Alan Neal of CBC Ottawa Radio’s All In A Day program interviewed Sherry Tompalski regarding her show Forced Migrations: Portraits of Refugees from Africa, Central America and Central Asia at La Petite Mort Gallery in October 2009.

About the Show

All in a Day is music, news, current affairs, culture, theatre, movies, politics, history, humour and conversation, all wrapped up in an engaging and entertaining package. Airing weekdays from 3 to 6 p.m. in the greater Ottawa, West Quebec and Kingston areas, All in a Day helps you wind down from a hectic day and get ready for the evening.

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Regular features include D Is For Dinner, a mouth-watering recipe prepared live on the radio to tantalize you on the drive home. The Political Panel gives an insider’s take on Parliament Hill, while the Book Panel presents the high and the low brow of the latest in literature. And on Thursdays, Robert Fontaine’s film reviews are always entertaining, even if the movie isn’t. All in a Day’s dynamic, up-to-the-minute pace ensures that if you miss a minute, you’ll miss a lot!

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About the Host – Alan Neal

Alan Neal is host of Ottawa’s favourite drive home show All in a Day, on CBC Radio One, 91.5 FM. Alan is known to CBC Radio One listeners in Ottawa as the former host of Bandwidth and Ontario Today on CBC Radio One. During his stint on the noon show, he traded thoughts and quips with musicians including Blue Rodeo, Barenaked Ladies, The Arcade Fire, Feist, Hawksley Workman, Sarah Harmer, K’Naan, Sarah Slean, Metric, Emm Gryner, Most Serene Republic, Divine Brown and many more. (He actually feels a twinge of guilt making lists because he panics that people will feel left out. Then he remembers nobody reads these things. Which then makes him wonder why he’s typing this. And talking about himself in the third person. But anyway.)

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He’s been at CBC for 10 years now, massive amounts of that being as a casual associate producer and syndicated columnist (his TRENDS column was syndicated across the country), filling in as host of shows including THE ROUNDUP, OTTAWA MORNING and ALL IN A DAY, and launching a national summer show THE OTHER STORY. While his own musical career has not extended beyond singing songs about Canadian Idol and Dallas on the radio, he has had some success as a playwright, something he hopes to get back to once he figures out these shows.

Podgorica Indie Film Festival, Talking Portraits

Talking Portraits video exhibited at Podgorica Independent Film Festival, Montenegro, Nov 5-10, 2008.

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The “Talking Portraits” video by Sherry Tompalski (painter) and Graham Thompson (videographer) was exhibited at the Podgorica Independent Film Festival in Podgorica Montenegro. The Nov 5-10, 2008 program was curated by Nena Toth.

The Talking Portrait Video

The Talking Portrait Video provides an overview of the Talking Portrait series  The film features portraits painted from a live model. The audio portion of the film is edited from the comments, questions and reflections made by the model during the sitting. And  as well, time-lapse photography records the development of the portrait.

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The Talking Portrait Video provides an inside look at the creation of painted portrait – a psychological interplay of colour and personalty of the process. Where Tompalski’s painting style of brightly coloured patches shows  identity formation as a dialectical process of breaking-up and coming-together of personal and communal experiences. Although the faces are tightly cropped to foreground the individual subject, what is left of the background is filled in, in some paintings with words picked up from the video and in others with multiple photographs of the sitter.  Bright patches of paint, repeated photo-images, words and musical scores vie for attention in Tompalski’s portrait paintings.

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Tompalski describes her Talking Portrait series as follows: “To understand ourselves we look at others for clues as to what we are experiencing. The human face conveys a rich complexity of personal history, which I feel in an inexplicable way as an impression or an intuition. Consequently, I value painting from a live model. Most importantly, this allows for a reciprocal mutual influence that is interactive, bi-directional and largely unconscious. Thus the finished painting is a visual coalescence of this process, the process of co-construction.” (Co-construction is the theory that people uniquely contribute and influence the experience that develops between them and others, that is, our experience of ourselves varies greatly depending on the people around us.)

About The Podgorica Independent Film Festival

The film festival took  place in Podgorica, the capital city of Montenegro, at the  Cultural/ Information center “Budo Tomovic”. The festival was organized by Nena Toth,  a graduate from Prague’s renowned FAMU University’s film school, where she earned a Master’s degree in Cinematography. The purpose of the Festival is to entertain film lovers, to raise awareness of filmmaking with artistic value and to promote international collaboration, European coproduction and understanding between cultures.

About Nena Toth the Curator, Teacher & Film Maker

Toth has taught at the Faculty of Dramatic Arts Belgrade (FDU),  the Academy of Film and Television and Art Muses (FAMU) Prague, the University of Southern California (USC) Los Angeles, the University of Toronto, and the Lomonosov Moscow State University. Toth has been the Director of Photography in over one hundred short films and videos, as well as in four feature films. Toth has worked a curator for the XX International Ethnological Festival of Belgrade, the Film Femina of Ottawa, the  Contemporary Canadian Short Film Festival of Podgorica, the International TV Festival Bar  Montenegro, EUROPRESS International Travel Fest of Subotica and Art Link of Belgrade.

Museum of Civilization, Trudeau’s Talking Portrait

Canadian Museum of Civilization exhibits Face to Face: Pierre Trudeau’s Talking Portrait Canada Day in Quebec, 2008.

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The Canadian Museum of Civilization exhibited Sherry Tompalski’s and Graham Thompson’s multimedia installation Face to Face: Pierre Trudeau’s Talking Portrait in  Gatineau Quebec on July 1, 2008.

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The installation was part of a ongoing virtual exhibition entitled Face to Face  which presents outstanding Canadians – men and women whose ideas and contributions have transformed this country.

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Grouped under five key themes, 27 individuals have been selected from thousands of potential candidates. Some are well known, others are not, but they have all helped shape Canada. This virtual exhibition reflects the information presented in the former Canadian Personalities Hall of the Canadian Museum of History.

Historic Canadian Personalities that Tompalski has Painted

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Lotta Hitschmanova was an early icon of Canadian international humanitarianism. She was born in Prague, in what is now the Czech Republic, and came to Canada as a refugee in 1942. Grieving for the death of her parents in wartime Europe, she channelled her hope for the future into relief work. To help the world’s helpless – especially children – she founded the Canadian branch of an aid agency, the Unitarian Service Committee. For 36 years, she worked relentlessly – speaking, writing, travelling and raising funds for the needy. The work of USC Canada continues today. It is when I think of those youngsters that truly I feel I am the mother of 2,000 children. Lotta Hitschmanova, 1949

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Pierre Trudeau appeared suddenly on the political horizon, blowing in with
the exuberant spirit of the 1960s. Not everyone liked this brilliant, enigmatic man,
but no one was indifferent. Winning his first election as Prime Minister in 1968,
he set out to remake Canada. Though generally failing in the economic arena, he had a strong and coherent social vision.

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He fought for a powerful, centralized state, equality of French and English as official languages, multiculturalism and social tolerance. His legacy is crowned by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, enacted in 1982: the same year that Canada repatriated the Constitution under his leadership. The past is to be respected and acknowledged, but not to be worshipped. It is our future in which we will find our greatness. Pierre Elliott Trudeau, 1970.

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Trudeau Timeline – 1919 Born on October 18 to a wealthy, bicultural family in Montreal. 1940–1948 Studies political science, economy and philosophy at the universities of Montreal and London, at Harvard and at the Sorbonne in Paris, and returns to Montreal to practice law. 1965 Is elected to Parliament as the Member for Mount Royal, Montreal. 1967 Is appointed Minister of Justice and reforms the Criminal Code, decriminalizing  homosexuality and abortion. 1968–1979 Serves as Prime Minister in three successive governments. 1970 Invokes the War Measures Act in response to political violence in Quebec. 1971 Marries Margaret Sinclair, with whom he has three sons. Some years after his divorce in 1984, he has a daughter with lawyer Deborah Coyne. 1979–1980 Serves as Leader of the Opposition. 1980–1984 Returns to power as Prime Minister for a fourth term. Implements major constitutional reforms. 2000 Dies on September 28 in Montreal.

Global Voices 2012 Catalogue Launch

Global Voices 2012 Catalogue launched at Research In Art, 2013. 

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The Global Voices 2012 Catalogue was launched at the Research In Art Artist Project Room  May 11, 2013. During the event, Sherry Tompalski spoke about her paintings from the Global Voices Project during the period 2008 – 2012.

Artists Graham Thompson (media) and Sherry Tompalski (painting), create videos and portraits that draw attention to human rights issues and organize multimedia events that celebrate diverse communities in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas. Their last event was held in the auditorium of the National Gallery of Canada in December 2012. See the Global Voices Board at Pinterest and at the Global Voices Page on Facebook.

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A catalogue was produced for this occasion with an essay by Petra Halkes, “Shaping Identities in a Turbulent World.” Although Tompalski’s paintings were featured in Thompson’s videos, this will be the first time the painted, collaged and drawn portraits will be shown, on the walls of the RIA Artist Project Room.

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Sherry Tompalski writes: Talking Portraits is a series of videos and portraits of people whose lives have been derailed by and engulfed in trauma. These deeply personal narratives were recorded while their portraits were being painted. Narratives bravely spoken aloud that beg to be mirrored back, so that what was once in pieces, often hidden and dreamily disorganized can become known, experienced and integrated…so that the unburdening can begin. The reassembling of the fragmented self experience becomes the foundation of the portrait and the culture they reassemble in symbolized as pieces of sheet music, helping to hold together, patch and harmonize the sharp edges as they knit together.

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I wanted to bring to life with humanity the different adaptations to trauma and deprivation. I hope the participants feel the work is a honest reflection of their experience and furthers their own healing. Moreover I hope it is a catalyst for further inquiry and dialogue about trauma and recovery. I have had two career paths. I started in Fine Arts in Saskatoon in the 70’s only to segway into medicine and psychiatry in Vancouver in the 80’s, and then continue with both of them in Ottawa over the past 18 years. Each has informed, enriched and given voice and meaning to the other. In both I strive to be helpful, emphasize beauty and facilitate the mystery of healing. Sherry Tompalski.

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Shaping Identities in a Turbulent World – An Essay by Petra Halkes

In one way, Graham Thompson and Sherry Tompalski’s ongoing collaborative project Global Voices holds a mirror to personal lives lived in a tumultuous globalized world of interconnection and dispersion. The project includes painting, drawing, collage, video and organized events with invited speakers, dancers and musicians: it presents a fusion of sounds, images and voices. Bright patches of paint, repeated photo-images, words and musical scores vie for attention in Tompalski’s portrait paintings, while Thompson’s videos cover a myriad of film formats, from quiet, straight monologues with abrupt beginnings and endings, to kaleidoscopic montages, jump cuts and tracking shots against a range of background music; Global Voices reflect the world we live in.

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In another, more pertinent way, Global Voices goes beyond representation, and demonstrates how people build personal identities within a frantic world. Thompson’s videos were recorded in Tompalski’s studio during the portrait sittings. Their process of listening to and looking at the sitters and consequently recognizing and validating the storytellers’ experiences through representation in video and painting, illustrates in a concrete and artful way how identities are constructed in everyday life. As the renowned cultural theorist, Stuart Hall wrote:  “Perhaps instead of thinking of identity as an already accomplished fact, which the new cultural practices then represent, we should think, instead, of identity as a ‘production,’ which is never complete, always in process, and always constituted within, not outside, representation.” [i]

Global Voices includes videos and paintings of people from a wide range of backgrounds, but the majority of participants have had to overcome traumatic experiences brought on by forced migration from strife-torn countries, or, in the case of First Nations people, internal displacement.  The importance of telling stories has long been recognized as a personal way of healing, and as a way to re-build a communal identity, augment official history with deeply personal stories, and prompt socio-political action.[ii] Thompson and Tompalski’s focus is not on political systems and histories of who did what to whom; what comes through in their unstructured recordings and in the paintings is the effect that ideologies and state institutions have on the personal lives of individuals. This is felt most intensely in politically troubled areas of the world, but also in post-colonial countries such as Canada.

Global Voices provides a site for ordinary people to speak about the personal horrors inflicted on them by impersonal powers. Hawa Kaba, an artist from the Republic of Guinea, landed in jail through an activity as innocuous as applying for a passport; it changed her life forever. Fatima Parween from Afghanistan tells us, through translation, that she has “really bad memories from the time of the Russians and the Taliban,” and she flatly lists the names of the young men in her family who were killed.  In Canada, a cold political decision to assimilate aboriginal people, made in nineteenth-century colonial times, continues to reverberate in the personal lives of many to the very present. For Maggie Jefferies of James Bay, the governmental policy caused the loss of a brother. For Irene Lindsay from One Arrow, Batoche, Saskatchewan, it led to a troubling estrangement from her father.

As a former psychiatrist who has worked with refugees and soldiers, artists, couples and families, Tompalski is deeply aware of the power of such stories. Silence condemns victims to an unbearable, inhuman loneliness that precludes healing. Speaking out can facilitate a process of re-building a life of normalcy, transforming the horror of the past into the creation of a new strong identity. “Basically,” she writes, “I’m trying to understand the processing of loss and the tendrils of hope that allow us to survive.” [iii]Building on her professional experience of immersing herself in the lives of others, Tompalski became a prolific portrait painter. Her painting style of brightly coloured patches shows identity formation as a dialectical process of breaking-up and coming-together of personal and communal experiences. Although the faces are tightly cropped to foreground the individual subject, what is left of the background is filled in, in some paintings with words picked up from the video and in others with multiple photographs of the sitter. The portraits themselves are often multiples: the young Bahara Parween is painted eight times, Tito Medina, a musician from Guatemala, appears several times. Identity is not a singular truth; the paintings suggest that an ongoing multiplicity of events and choices shape and reshape our identity.

The past, and the places where the sitters came from, are signified in the culture-specific symbols and patterns that make up snippets of their clothing: a collar here, a bit of a shirt there. The paintings (and videos) do not deny that cultural heritage forms a vital part of people’s identity, but the exotic lure that such heritage could have provided for the viewers is denied. In some portraits, the artist adds scraps of paper that came from her own place, from her own collection of sheet music and paper cuttings: a gift to be taken into the mix of cultural influences that become part and parcel of building an identity. To the degree that we all live with such a mix, we are brought face to face here with people like us, people in our neighbourhood, and we get to know them just a bit better.

Identities are formed in a process of loss and renewal, but the personal control we have over this process depends to a great extent on the happenstance of the place and time of our birth. For over one hundred years, aboriginal children of Canada were taken away from their parents to attend boarding schools that were often overcrowded, underfunded and unhealthy. The children were not allowed to speak their native languages and sometimes did not see their family for up to a year. “For Canada,” Justice Murray Sinclair, the Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada writes, “this is a shameful story.”[iv] Much of this shameful story is still coming to light, thanks to the work of people such as Irene Lindsay, who is featured in Global Voices. A grandmother of nine, she runs a Residential School Outreach Program in the seniors building she lives in. Among the stories she tells is one of her own eight years in residential school. She talks of becoming so estranged from her father that she couldn’t grieve for him when he died. Only years later, when a friend’s father was dying and she witnessed the warmth and care of the family that surrounded him, was she able to shed tears. It is not just the physical and sexual abuse, and the high death rate that turned the residential schools into such a disastrous failure. It is, as Lindsay says, “the other things, in between,” such as languages and traditions that can only slowly be relearned, and bonds between parents and children that can never be recuperated.

Lindsay is one of the heroes in the story of the Residential Schools in Canada, heroes who “continue to do the heavy labour of sharing their stories, and, by so doing, educating their children, their communities, and their country.”[v] At the events organized by Thompson and Tompalski, Lindsay shares a virtual stage with heroes like her, who have arrived in this country from elsewhere fleeing from other disasters. The people in Global Voices talk not only about what has happened to them in the past, but how they shaped their personal history of responses and choices and create an identity that continues to evolve. They show that self-identity is constituted, as Hall writes, “not outside, but within representation.”[vi]

Global Voices shows a world that continues to spin around us, influencing our thoughts and our feelings, never stopping to let us “find ourselves,” never providing a static identity. Through their videos and paintings Thompson and Tompalski have acknowledged and validated the life stories of others, and have provided a site for viewers to do the same. They have shown us a process of representation and recognition through which the past can be transformed and tentative new identities can emerge.

Petra Halkes, November 2012

[i] Stuart Hall: “Cultural Identity and Diaspora.” In Jonathan Rutherford, ed.: Identity: Community, Culture, Difference.  (London: Lawrence & Wishart 1990) pp 223 – 37 (p.222)

[ii] The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum maintains a database of oral history testimonies: http://www.ushmm.org/research/collections/oralhistory/search/

Oral histories have played an important part in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in South Africa 1995 – 2006, and in the TRC commissions that followed in many countries, including Canada.

[iii]  Sherry Tompalski, exhibition proposal 2011, unpublished.

[iv] Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: They came for the children: Canada, Aboriginal peoples, and residential schools. (Winnipeg: Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, 2012) p. 1  Electronic resource: http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2012/cvrc-trcc/IR4-4-2012-eng.pdf

[v] Ibid p.86

[vi] Stuart Hall, ibid p. 236

Canadian Centre for International Justice

Voices of Refugees Posters exhibited at 2008 formal launch of Canadian Centre of International Justice, Speakers included Maher Arar, Lloyd Axworthy, and Ellen Gabriel.

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Posters from the Voices of Refugees Installation were exhibited at the June 2008 formal launch of the Canadian Centre of International Justice in Ottawa Canada. Speakers included Maher Arar, Lloyd Axworthy, and Ellen Gabriel.

Maher Arar, Lloyd Axworthy, and Ellen Gabriel

Maher Arar is a Canadian citizen who was forcibly sent to Syria in 2002 as part of the United States’ “extraordinary rendition” program. He was imprisoned in Syria for 10 months and tortured. In 2004, after his release, Maher filed a lawsuit in the United States against several individual U.S. officials for their role in his detention and torture. In November 2009, a U.S. Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s dismissal of the suit. CCIJ, along with other Canadian human rights organizations and scholars, filed an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief in support of Maher’s petition to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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On June 14, 2010, the high court refused to hear the case, effectively eliminating Maher’s final hope for justice in the U.S. judicial system. Maher’s attempt to hold the governments of Syria and Jordan accountable in Canadian courts was also denied when those countries were given immunity under Canada’s State Immunity Act.

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Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, former Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, had a distinguished political career spanning 30 years. The founding Director of the Liu Institute for Global Issues at the University of British Columbia, Dr. Axworthy is now President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Winnipeg. He has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize and is an Officer of the Order of Canada.

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Ellen Gabriel (born 1959), also known as Katsi’tsakwas, is an Mohawk activist and artist from Kanehsatà:ke Nation – Turtle Clan, known for her involvement as the official spokesperson, chosen by the People of the Longhouse, during the Oka Crisis. In March 1990, she joined in the movement against the expansion of a golf course in Oka, Quebec. That event eventually escalated into the Oka Crisis. In order to raise awareness of the crisis, she traveled internationally, including visits to The Hague, Strasbourg and Japan. During this time, in May 1990, she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Concordia University. In 1993, the documentary Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance was released; she was a prominent part of the film. The next decade after the crisis had been settled, she worked as an Art Teacher for the Mohawk Immersion School. In 2004, she was elected president of the Quebec Native Woman’s Association. She held the position until December 2010. During this time she brought changes to the Indian Act in the form of Bill C-31. On 19 May 2009, she gave a speech to the eighth session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. Between 11–15 July 2011, she gave a speech to the fourth session of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In the Summer of 2012, she ran for National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. She passed to the second round of votes and was eliminated in the second round due to misinformation on the floor which rumored she had withdrawn and given her votes to Shawn Atleo. On 7 May 2013, in regards to Bill S-2, she gave a speech to the 41st Parliament, 1st Session at the Standing Committee on the Status of Women.

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Canadian Centre for International Justice’s mission is to:

  1. Seek recognition, support, and compensation as redress for survivors of genocide, torture, and other atrocities with strong connections to Canada, as well as for loved ones of people who have either died as a result of human rights violations or who are unable to contact us themselves;
  2. Ensure that those in Canada accused of serious human rights violations are held accountable and brought to justice;
  3. Contribute to the success of the international justice system as a whole.

To carry out this mission, CCIJ works in cooperation with affected communities and individuals in Canada and abroad and in collaboration with a variety of domestic and international organizations and experts.

Canadian Centre for International Justice five primary objectives

  1. Provide information, assistance, and direction to survivors of human rights abuses and the loved ones of victims; carry out and/or facilitate research and investigations of their cases; compile cases to be brought to the attention of the Canadian government or other authorities;
  2. Support government initiatives leading to the prosecution in Canada of torturers, war criminals, and perpetrators of severe human rights abuses, and support other appropriate remedies;
  3. Educate & train legal professionals, civil society groups, and the general public in Canada about impunity as a critical human rights issue;
  4. Serve as a resource for anti-impunity initiatives across Canada, including access to Canadian and international jurisprudence and information regarding Canadian law, policy, and practice;
  5. Support ongoing efforts to reform law in order to strengthen the legal remedies available in Canada for survivors and victims of serious human rights abuses.

Ottawa Arts Review features Shifting Strains

Ottawa Arts Review of University of Ottawa features Shifting Strains on its Spring/Summer 2007 Cover.

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The Ottawa Arts Review of the University of Ottawa featured Tompalski’s Shifting Strains (painting) on its cover in its Spring/Summer issue of June 2007.

Ottawa Arts Review (OAR) is the official English-language literary and visual arts journal of the University of Ottawa. It is a not-for-profit publication, established, managed and produced by student and alumni volunteers who wish to promote and encourage the appreciation of both literary and visual art in Ottawa. Ottawa Arts Review gives an equal voice to local, Canadian, and international artists, cultivating a vibrant and positive setting that facilitates creative exchange between emerging and established artists alike. Ottawa Arts Review features original works of literary prose, poetry, drama, visual art, and photography, as well as reviews and interviews that relate to literary and visual arts.

Regensburg Short Film Week, Bavaria Germany

Regensburg Short Film Week of Bavaria features Annick & Tony – A Talking Portrait Story in their 2007 Short Film Market.

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The Short Film Market of the Regensburg Short Film Week of Bavaria Germany featured the  Annick & Tony – A Talking Portrait Story video in 2007.

Annick & Tony – A Talking Portrait Story

Annick & Tony – A Talking Portrait Story is part of the Talking Portrait Series. The series was featured on CTV’s Tech Now program 6/11/2006. CTV’s coverage ran as follows: An art show is a chance to escape the multi-media world we live in and quietly view artwork– not anymore. Innovative Ottawa artists are adding audio and video as part of their art, called “Talking Portraits” Sherry Tompalski is stepping into new territory with the help of her husband Graham Thompson… Both are artists learning to deal with a new medium, wiring an art gallery for video and sound… this exhibit is about more than the finished portraits. While hanging the art is still an important step the canvas only tells part of the story… each work will be shown with video of the portrait sitting and audio clips of the conversation between subject and artist… Graham Thompson shot and edited the video AND he`s also created a sound track for each portrait with individual cd-players… the sound track is the artist and the portrait subject talking about the work while the painting was taking place. The next step is taking this beyond the walls of the gallery to a wider audience, and that`s the plan with Serry Tompalski`s website, you can watch the talking portraits… A recent showing in Ottawa was one night only, but the show goes international this fall with an exhibit in Chicago and it`s streaming live 24-7 on the web.

Regensburg Short Film Week of Bavaria Germany

There’s no such thing as THE short film. Yet the short film is there. It manifests itself in most wonderful multiplicity and vitality. It is a many splendoured thing, touching on all genres and techniques. It plays with abstract forms, tells stories, gives testimony and dares to experiment. It needs a shorter or longer time. It is made in kitchens, in studios, with analogue equipment or on the computer only. It is brought to life all over the world by film students who revel in their medium for the first time, by well-known film giants, and obsessive doers of handicrafts. It promises a lot and seldom lets us down; however, it is barely visible.

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Our competition selection

Each year we receive round about 6.500 entries in total and it is our responsibility to select the best of them as the International Short Film Week Regensburg aims to present an adequate and representative selection of the enormous diversity of the worldwide short film making in the international competition. For German films there is the German Competition and regional productions can be seen in the “Window To Bavaria” and “Window To The Region”. All competition claim to be up to date: the shown films are not older than two years.

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The special programs

Beside our competitions we curate special programmes and provide a platform for guest curators and specfic projects. Well known for several years are Cinema mi Vida, a retrospective on a short film artist, and Cinema mi Amor wich shows the influence of other short films on the curator’s work. Since our cooperation with the Goethe-Institut our special focus on a country has become much more political weight.

The Short Film Week Regensburg was founded in 1994 by the Arbeitskreis Film e.V. and takes place since then in an annual cycle. In the first year it was just a small experiment with one festival cinema. Today with up to four festival cinemas the International Short Film Week Regensburg is not just a firm institution in the cultural life of Regensburg but has become an inconceivable part of the international short film circuit.