Last Saturday was the much-anticipated launch of fledgling creative services organization, St James Town Arts, whose particular history can be roughly traced back to Summer 2013. Unofficially, SJTA began their creative programming series back in the fall, with headliners such as Cross-Cultural Cuisine, led by Purnima Shekhawat, Jewellery Making with Margaret Casola, and Art & Storytelling with…Me! On the other side of the New Year, alongside other popular initiatives such as classes in Henna and Indian Dance, at least two major projects were scheduled: the completion of an elaborate mural made up of buttons, and the Banner Project, for which residents would be invited to create work for permanent outdoor display.
While the deadline for printing the banners was extended beyond the launch date, a range of works from this series was exhibited at the art table, which I manned for the best part of the afternoon. Joining me there were local artists Daniel T and Poonam Sharma. Poonam’s designs, several of which were accepted for the Banner Project, blends contemporary influences with a traditional Warli style, to intriguing effect. “I would love to take my art to every home and heart”, Poonam says. I have a pretty good feeling that she’ll do just that. After only 7 months in Canada, she’s already received several offers on her body of work.
Thanks to Michael Cavanaugh, who in addition to being Director at SJTA is an accomplished gigging musician, we had a sensational line-up of musical acts going straight through the day, including the talents of Bharatanatyam (Indian Dance) with Anojini, Frank Phippard, Bollywood Dance with Mahdvi, Clarence Michon, Inspired Souls, Sarah Sidd, and Jae Legit. Because of my position at the arts table I sadly didn’t get to see much of this spectacle (especially the dancing, which looked freakin’ fantastic!) but did have a chance to catch up with some of the performers after the show. Suzette Vidale, fellow BMO Seeds Fund Award winner, also popped in to check things out…but without her famous steelpan in tow (sniff!)
All in all, the event was well attended and a greater success than any other festival I’ve yet seen on this site. It was exciting to chat with new residents who hadn’t a clue what we were all about. Like blob tag, one by one we’re adding more and more talent to our weird little family. It was exciting to watch the results of months of hard work come to a fruitful end. And since I love Indian food, that fruit also happened to be particularly delicious.
My picture gallery for the event: https://theyxchange.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/pix-sjta-launch-party
And for another treatment on the launch party, check out fellow blogger and urban gadabout Penny William’s stub on her site, ‘Walking Woman’ :https://icelandpenny.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/buttons-banners