Alumni, faculty participate in exhibit honouring Atlantic Canada

January 31, 2023

Three NBCCD staff and 15 alumni participated in Atlantic Vernacular, a digital exhibition highlighting artists, craftspeople, and poets of the Atlantic provinces.

NBCCD instructor Gillian Dykeman is the curator of the exhibit which launched March 4, 2022, with a more recent artist talk on January 28, 2023, in Moncton, New Brunswick. Dykeman said the exhibit collected work that “interwove elements of the local environment into their practices.”

“Art of this region is diverse, and the voice of contemporary craft is very strong here. All of the work is grounded in both lived experience and a shared material inheritance which makes its way into all of the work represented.”

Atlantic Vernacular is a poet-craft collaboration created by Fatema Pagdiwala of CraftNB and renowned poet Sue Sinclaire. CraftNB hired Dykeman to curate the online exhibition of the region’s inspiring artists, craftspeople, and poets.

The artworks were selected and then poets were contacted and paired with the artwork of their choosing. Artists and poets were encouraged to spend time discussing their work together and then the poet wrote a paired poem to compliment the art. The poems are displayed with the paired artwork online.

In total, this year’s Atlantic Vernacular presents the work of 30 artists and 29 poets. Selected NBCCD instructors included Jacqueline Bourque, Tracy Austin, and Renata Britez. Alumni featured included Matt Cripps, Alanna Baird, Alison Murphy, Allison Green, Darren Emenau, Jacqueline Bourque, I-Chun Jenkins, Karen LeBlanc, Maja Padrov, Oakley Rain Wysote Gray, Peter Powning, Ralph Simpson, Renata Britez, Tomo Ingalls, and Tracy Austin.

The online exhibit runs until March 2023.

NBCCD Fashion Design instructor Tracy Austin was one of the featured speakers in the Atlantic Vernacular Artist Talk on January 28.

“The talent and work in the visual arts sector is phenomenal, full of depth, diverse in culture, rich with experiences,” said Austin, who submitted Empathy from her Weight of Power Series to the exhibition. It’s a miniature fashion sculpture with emphasis on the large skirt, comprised of over 250 petals.

These petals were made and submitted by more than 20 women artists, including fashion designers, textile artists, metalsmiths, and visual artists.

“Being included with this eclectic and talented group of artists and poets really rounded out what I wanted to do and say with Empathy. My piece was all about community and shared creation, which made this exhibit the perfect place to debut the piece,” said Austin.

Dykeman said the theme of this exhibit was to examine the artistic voices of the Maritimes.

“There is no singular voice—we are truly polyvocal and diverse,” said Dykeman, “our material culture is so much richer than the clichés that tend to stand in as representative of this region.

“I hope that people both see themselves represented in some sense—a piece of their own story, perhaps, and that they are animated and excited to see both artwork and hear poetry from outside of their own experience.”

View the complete collection of Atlantic Vernacular’s artist talks here.