War, Media, and The New World Order poster by David Tomas (1950 - 2019) for the fax and photocopy exhibition at The Centre International d’Art Contemporain de Montréal (CIAC), 1991. Image Courtesy of the Estate of David Tomas.
This poster is from an anti-war exhibition held in Montréal in 1991, which David Tomas and Jamelie Hassan organized together with scholars Jody Berland and Will Straw in response to the the first Gulf War - Operation Desert Storm. Dave was a Montreal-based artist and had strong connections with London artists including Kim Moodie, Jamelie Hassan and Ron Benner throughout the 1980's and early 1990's. He also was included in the international project Travelling Theory co-curated by Fern Bayer and Jamelie Hassan, which was held at the Jordan National Gallery of Fine Arts in Amman, Jordan and the McIntosh Gallery at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada in 1991.
David Tomas’ poster was inspired by the iconic painting, “The Scream” by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, 1893.
Response from the ECH community:
Thanks for sharing this image. I remember that exhibit so well. There was a lot of political mobilization in Montréal in 1990-1991. The siege of Kanesatake happened in summer 1990. Caravans of activists traveled to Oka daily to support the Mohawk resistance. Dave had done a video piece that addressed “the Oka crisis.” Less than a year later, protests against Operation Desert Storm filled Boulevard René-Lévesque in Montréal in Spring 1991. The post-cold war era began with those acts of state violence. The conditions set in motion in those years have continued over the last 30 years, with what seems to be ever-increasing death and destruction.
For more information on David Tomas' life and work, please visit his website here.
For more information on the book, please click here.
ECH Advisory Circle member, Samer Abdelnour, Professor at the University of Edinburgh Business School, speaks out against the Liquor Control Board of Ontario's recent erasure of the words "Of Palestine" on the original label of Taybeh Winery.
This statement by Samer, and his comments on CBC are a powerful reminder of the ongoing violence and occupation occurring in Palestine. In the article, he highlights the reason for the fraught relationship between Canada and Palestine:
"It really reflects a deep settler-colonial insecurity when even mentioning Palestine is deemed a threat."
To read more about this issue, and the response from the LCBO and CIFA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency), please read the full CBC article by Sara Jabakhanji.
We are delighted to share the work of London artist, Sheri Cowan, who has painted an image of the original Embassy Hotel marquee. The Embassy Cultural House was located in the Embassy Hotel between 1983 and 1990. The original photo print is by Jane Bradley which Sheri has hand-embellished with acrylic paint on archival paper.
This artwork is part of a series that depicts local storefronts, signage and vintage objects. Alongside the Embassy Hotel, Sheri has painted the facades of many other London cultural landmarks, including Call the Office and Prince Albert's Diner (both closed as of 2021).
Beginning her career with 15 years as a graphic designer, Sheri Cowan has been a practicing artist for over 25 years. Thank you Sheri for this tribute to the legendary Embassy Hotel, a London east landmark and an image of a bygone but not forgotten era.
To buy this mixed media work, please visit Museum London or shop online, here.
Juno award-winning performer and ECH Advisory Circle Member Lorraine Klaasen has returned to in-person, live performances! We are happy to share news of her upcoming concert Sounds of the Township with Alliance Française Toronto.
The event will be presented in partnership with Batuki Music Society and will take place on April 23 at 9:00 PM at the Spadina Theatre in Toronto.
For more information about the event, please visit this link: https://www.alliance-francaise.ca/en/art/2021-2022-season/events/concertsen2021/sounds-of-the-township-featuring-lorraine-klaasen-en
As the pandemic continues into a third year, in the midst of multiple global, political and social crises, the Embassy Cultural House recognizes the deep importance of mental health and wellness at this time. In collaboration with Euan Tait, a candidate in MA Counselling Psychology at Western University, our local international ECH community are encouraged to write to Euan for advice:
The advice offered in this column is intended for informational purposes only. Use of this column not intended to replace or substitute for any professional, financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice. If you have specific concerns or a situation in which you require professional, psychological or medical help, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified specialist. The opinions or views expressed in this column are not intended to treat or diagnose; nor are they meant to replace the treatment and care that you may be receiving from a licensed professional, physician or mental health professional. This column, its author, the newspaper and publisher are not responsible for the outcome or results of following any advice in any given situation. You, and only you, are completely responsible for your actions.
If you require mental health and wellness support, Euan recommends the resources below:
Reach Out, 519-433-2023 or 1-866-933-2023, or web chat at http://reachout247.ca/ with a mental health and addictions professional who can provide information, resources and crisis support (London, Middlesex, Oxford and Elgin counties)
Good 2 Talk (1.866.925.5454)
Post-Secondary Student Helpline—free, professional and anonymous support for students in Ontario—24/7/365
For other areas in Ontario, use https://www.connexontario.ca/en-ca/
Or use https://togetherall.com/en-ca/ an Online Mental Health Peer Support Community
The Embassy Cultural House team expresses our profound grief and anger, joining others in the arts and culture community, in condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin's aggression and war against Ukraine and the Ukrainian people. Putin's invasion and occupation are a denial of the legitimacy of Ukraine's existence as a sovereign state. Our hearts go out to the families of all, Ukrainians and Russians, who have already been killed, injured or displaced. The United Nations has estimated that approximately 2.5 million people have been uprooted from their homes and fled into neighbouring countries. The calls for a ceasefire and a stop to Putin's war are reverberating around the world.
Larry Towell, an ECH contributor, recently reminded us in an email (received March 10, 2022) that, Florence Nightingale in 1854 travelled to Scutari Hospital in Istanbul, Turkey, the base for the British military “due to the news reports of the suffering of wounded and sick soldiers who had no clean bandages, pain killers, nor sanitation… which started the Red Cross. The Crimean War was the first war ever reported on by independent journalism."
We encourage our community to consider a contribution to the international humanitarian response by donating to Doctors Without Borders (MSF) or the Canadian Red Cross’ Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal. Canadians have already matched the Government of Canada $30 million pledge as of March 4, 2022.
Please visit the following links for more information:
Statement by CARFAC
Art Canada Institute's recent focus on Canadian artists of Ukrainian background
Nahlah Ayed, CBC Report, With Russia pressing on and Ukraine digging in, how will Putin's war actually end? March 9, 2022
Photo Credit: Larry Towell, Maidan Uprising, February 2014, Kiev, Ukraine
Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge named 2022 Governor General's Award Winners in Visual and Media Arts
The Embassy Cultural House extends our sincere congratulations to Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge, recipients of the 2022 Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts. Since 2020, Carole and Karl have generously contributed to the Embassy Cultural House's projects which have inspired discussions and continue to enrich our community. This 2022 GG Arts Award recognizes their decades of cultural work and activism, and is well-deserved as they continue to create provocative and collaborative work.
At the core of their artistic practice is a steadfast commitment to represent and give voice to a diversity of class, race, gender, community and labour perspectives. - Nominator Dot Tuer: writer, curator and professor, OCAD University
Carole’s Garden, 2021, Carole Condé and Karl Beveridge's contribution to ECH's Pandemic Gardens. The creation of this recent work is featured in the GG Arts Portrait Video.
The Embassy Cultural House is saddened to share the news of the passing of Tony Urquhart. We celebrate his life and work through a thoughtful contribution by ECH Advisory Member, Judith Rodger.
One of the most memorable experiences of my career was a day in 1994 that I spent with Tony Urquhart. We met in his large studio overlooking a pond at his home in Wellesley, Ontario. Our goal was to choose works on paper that would be donated to Museum London. We went through his collection of thousands of drawings from every stage of his career. Urquhart’s practice included daily drawing. Some of these drawings were worked on over days or even years. They often incorporated other media such as watercolour, oil, and collage, but always began with pen and ink. When we chose the work from 1948, Stage Coach, Tony showed me a small book, Canada’s Past in Pictures, written and illustrated with ink drawings by C. W. Jefferys. This book, given to him as a child, was the source of his interest in drawing, he explained. Later works showed the influence of his extensive travels through foreign landscapes, but many of the drawings depicted imaginary places. Still others were working drawings for his inimitable box sculptures.
The Embassy Cultural House (ECH) applauds and supports Zexi Li, a resident of Centretown, Ottawa, who has courageously brought a court injunction against the actions of the illegal occupiers of downtown Ottawa, over the “suffering and sound torture" caused by the use of truck horns blaring 24/7 and other disruptions and intimidation.
Zexi Li's courage has continued with a $306 million class-action lawsuit against the organizing participants in the “Freedom Convoy" who can only be described as transnational criminals in their illegal occupation of the city of Ottawa.
Please watch this interview with Zexi Li on CBC:
Ottawa resident says locals were 'suffering' under convoy occupation
This ECH statement of support also acknowledges all of the other residents of Ottawa who organized blockades, on Cooper Street and at Bank St. and Riverside Drive, to stop more trucks and vehicles from entering the downtown area.
There is a fund-raising campaign to support the class-action lawsuit: The Ottawa Fund. The ECH urges all those who are able to support Zexi Li and the people of Centretown, Ottawa.
See articles in the Ottawa Citizen on the women organizing to “Stop the Occupation" of Ottawa and an article by Archana Rampuse on Feb. 14 on rabble.ca: From the frontlines: Ottawa community blocks trucks headed for downtown convoy. Also: ByWard Market, Sandy Hill residents join class-action suit and Meet the 21-year-old Ottawa woman behind the injunction that silenced the honking.
Important statement from Ottawa Cultural Organizations:
The Embassy Cultural House is happy to share the news of a new Black Community Public Library that is set to open in London, Ontario.
To learn more, please click the link below to read the recent CBC article by Isha Bhargava.
A new Black Community Public Library is launching in London, Ont., at the end of January, featuring books of various genres written by Black authors from Canada and around the world.
The Embassy Cultural House is happy to share this recent testimonial of Brown and Dickson Bookstore written by ECH Co-founder and Curatorial Advisor Jamelie Hassan. Brown and Dickson Bookstore is located in London, ON and has partnered with the ECH through the Cloud to Street program. In addition, both Vanessa Brown and Jason Dickson are also contributing members of the Embassy Cultural House. Check out their lovely bookstore online or in-person!
Vanessa Brown and Jason Dickson, the owners of Brown & Dickson Bookstore, have nurtured a sustained relationship with the individuals that make up the communities of London, Ontario. In my independent artist capacity, I have enjoyed their friendship and been witness to their creative endeavours years before the opening of their bookstore.
Photo credit: Ron Benner
The infill home at 8 Henry Street, South of Horton (SoHo), London, Ontario, celebrates urban renewal with a contemporary design in a distinctive, downtown neighbourhood. The house marks a collaboration between architect, Bradley Skinner and ceramic artist, Susan Day, whose mosaic installations are represented on murals throughout the city. The impulse to live closer to her downtown studio prompted the move. To view more work by Susan Day, please visit her instagram @susandayceramics.
The Embassy Cultural House presents, Pandemic Gardens: Resilience Through Nature, the first online exhibition of 2022.
Pandemic Gardens is an international and interdisciplinary group exhibition organized by Ron Benner and Rachel MacGillivray, with the assistance of JoAnna Weil, Jamelie Hassan, and Olivia Mossuto. The exhibition explores artworks, coping mechanisms, community engagements and the resilience of the human spirit during the pandemic, through the ways in which people have engaged with gardens and nature.
An online zoom launch scheduled for February 5th at 1 PM EST will celebrate the work of Pandemic Gardens. More details will be announced soon. In the meantime, please enjoy this timely programming by clicking the poster or the link below.
Dear Embassy Cultural House community,
Please be advised that the team at the Embassy Cultural House will be away for the winter holidays until January 12, 2022. We will return to our regularly scheduled cultural programming in the new year.
We are happy to share this image of the 2021 winter solstice in London, Ontario by Judith Rodger long-time arts and culture advocate, writer, curator and member of ECH's advisory circle.
Wishing everyone at home and abroad, a safe, healthy, and happy holiday season!
The Team at Embassy Cultural House
In partnership with Wordsfest is the fourth installment of Sleepwalking: Embassy Cultural House stands with Hong Kong. In-conversation is ECH members Bob Black and Yam Lau with esteemed guests Wu'er Kaixi and Scott Savitt on November 20, 2021 at 7PM.
In addition, The Embassy Cultural House and the Words Festival is pleased to welcome acclaimed author Shani Mootoo, who will join artist Richard Fung to talk about her work and recent novel Polar Vortex. The conversation will take place on November 25, 2021 at 7PM on Zoom. To sign up for the talk, please hit the link below!
Queer Cinema for Palestine (QCP) will open its virtual and physical doors for a collectively-curated 10-day film festival celebrating global queer realities and standing in solidarity with Palestinians.
QCP will run from 11-20 November and host more than a dozen events across five continents, both online and in person. QCP is a first-time global queer solidarity initiative that offers a vibrant space using art and culture to oppose the ongoing violence of Israeli apartheid.
The poster for the show acknowledges the great efforts of a few famous dissent-ers. The use of the sign is an homage to the Causeway Bay booksellers, who were arrested and disappeared for selling books.
Thank you to all of the contributing artists and writers in this exhibition. A special thanks to angel investors Ron Benner, Jamelie Hassan and Franca Mossuto who have supported this curatorial initiative.
Sowing Clay brings together communities to create a memorial to land and water defenders killed protecting the more-than-human. Paul Chartrand and Michelle Wilson lead this collaborative project, which calls on participants from across Turtle Island to create a monumental installation. When completed, this memorial will comprise a chain of over 700 open links formed from unfired, locally gathered clay. Each link in the chain will carry one etched name and native seeds mixed into the clay body. When joined together, the links resemble intertwined arms, harkening to non-violent resistance movements and protests.
Sowing Clay's organizers Paul and Michelle view gathering and making sessions as opportunities for critical cross-cultural conversations while honouring those who've given everything to defend the Land. Please sign up at the link below to join one of their workshops at Support Gallery between October 20th – November 6th. Groups will be small in order to ensure masking, social distancing, and vaccination regulations are complied with by all participants.
To sign-up: https://www.gardenship.ca/sowing-clay
ECH/Edna Press Virtual Table from October 18 - 26, 2021
Intercambio/Exchange recognizes the long history of cultural workers in London who, since the 1950's, have had connections with locations in Mexico. Some of the artworks presented conceptually relate to urgent issues of our time, including indigenous issues, the environment and the traditional cultures that are reflected in the arts and culture in both our countries.
Intercambio features artworks and texts by artists working in various formats, including painting, drawing, photography & artist multiples. Research in the communities in London and Mexico and in the ECH's own archives informs this project. Intercambio raises awareness of the international scope of connections made by artists in London, Ontario. In this case, the focus is Mexico, including locations such as Oaxaca, Mexico City, Merida, San Miguel de Allende, and Saltillo, which are important locations to many involved in this project.
Exhibiting artists include Ron Benner, Patricia Deadman, Duncan DeKergommeaux, Mireya Folch-Serra, Anahí González, Gildo Gonzalez, Jamelie Hassan, Carlos Lores, Kim Moodie, Oscar Ortiz, Jenna Rose Sands, and Jean Spence.
Support is located at 260B Clarence Street in London, Ontario.
The exhibition is open 12 - 5 from Wednesday, September 22 to Saturday, September 25.
The exhibition is open by appointment only Monday, September 27 to Friday, October 17.
A closing event will take place October 18 - details to follow.
The Embassy Cultural House would also like to recognize the support of the London Arts Council in the programming of this project.
For her 40th anniversary, Lorraine will be performing in concert in Montreal, on October 5th at the Cabaret Lion d'Or. For those who are unable to see her concert in person, the event will also be live-streamed and accessible to all.
For virtual tickets, please visit this link: https://lepointdevente.com/tickets/clo211005002
In the generous spirit of Lorraine, the event will also feature nine other musicians on stage alongside her. These musicians include Musical Director Mongezi Ntaka, Assane Seck, Noel Mpiaza, Andre Whiteman, Medad Ernest, Rob Christian, Nadia Theobal, Carine Agboton, and Noam Guerrier brought together for this celebratory event.
ECH SUMMER BREAK
August 9 - September 8
Stay tuned for the fall season as we continue with our extensive programming! Here is a sneak peak of what is to come...
- Another installment of Sleepwalking: 7,000 steps in solidarity with Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor
- Intercambio launches new projects in October
- Partnership with Support Project Space to host in-person exhibitions from September - November
- Partnership with Edna Press for the Vancouver Art Book Fair
- Palestine + The Environment with TPFF (Toronto Palestine Film Festival)
In the meantime, best wishes from the Embassy Cultural House.
Enjoy the warm weather and stay safe!
Organized by Rachel A. MacGillivray and Ron Benner with the assistance of
Jamelie Hassan, Olivia Mossuto and JoAnna Weil
Deadline: Tuesday, September 7, 2021
Live: January 2022
When the world went into lockdown last March, so did my creative brain. I hit a wall in my studio practice that was so thick and heavy I couldn’t even pick up my materials, and nothing I had been making felt important anymore. The only place I came alive was in my garden. Planting gave me purpose, seeds shooting up gave me hope, pulling weeds and clearing land helped me step outside of my worries. We spent 5 months in isolation with our toddler son and most of that time was spent together, planning and tending our gardens – it’s how we survived the separation, anxiety, and pressure. It’s the thing that got us through and we’re not the only ones. Now, it’s time to share our gardens.
Whether your experience was painting fantasy gardens while in lockdown, visiting public green spaces, taking care of a beloved house plant, containers on your balcony, or working in your own garden - tending vegetables, flowers, or weeds - we want to share your experience. Let’s recognize and acknowledge these connections with the natural world.
- Rachel A. MacGillivray, July 28, 2021
I am reminded of an exhibition that Jamelie and I did in Oaxaca, Mexico in 2013 about the Ethnobotanical Garden of Oaxaca, titled The World is a Garden Whose Walls are the State. The title was inspired by a quote from Ibn Khaldun's The Muqaddimah (1377 AD) which was one of the first universal histories of the world…now, the world is a garden whose walls are the pandemic.
- Ron Benner, July 28, 2021
Please submit an image of your pandemic garden experience and include a short statement about the location, date, and your relationship/connection/experience to and with the “garden” during the pandemic.
Deadline for your contribution: September 7, 2021
Image size: 300 dpi, no smaller than 800 pixels on the shortest side.
An artist fee of $30.00 will be paid for each digital contribution.
For questions about the exhibition, email:
Photo Credit: Rachel A. MacGillivray, In the Garden, 2020
Updates on the London Arts Community