Months in the making, the Women’s Group of the Toronto Cross Cultural Arts Association exhibited a diverse array of painted works at this weekend’s Chinatown Festival along Dundas St, appropriately steps away from the AGO. With prices as low as $10/painting (set by the artists), passersby could snag some very unique pieces, with all proceeds going directly to TCCSA.
Our course, ‘Drawing on the Basics’, began in March and ran through to July 16th, our last Wednesday morning together. It was frankly a difficult farewell. Mine was an amazing constellation of students, and it was very clear to me that the exposure to art they gained here opened many new personal doors.
We began planning our theme months ago. The ladies selected portraits, since the thing that really reflected our group best was the degree of interconnection in our evolving relationships. I’ll include a few pictures of the sessions preceding our final event in a gallery to follow shortly, as it exhibits the group creativity and enthusiasm surrounding this subject well.
I myself decided as a last offering to the group to produce a work of live painting, which I would then donate to the collection of TCCSA. I called my performance 玄奘, or “Xuanzang” – the 7th century Buddhist monk famous for travelling far and wide collecting scriptures. His adventures ultimately inspired the classic Chinese tale, Journey to the West, the theme of this year’s downtown Festival. As ‘Xuanzang’ sounds phonetically in English very much like ‘Swan Song’, I also thought it especially fitting for a concluding creative act.
Unfortunately, being a very drizzly day, the outdoor performance was much damper than hoped. I had a great engagement with the crowd for about two hours, sat under the tent for another hour wondering what to do, and finally stalked off back to TCCSA on Spadina to finish up the painting in the dry comfort of one of their classrooms.
In addition to the ladies of the Women’s Club themselves, joining me that day was Nestor of Mioche Photography, whose photos from the event, much better than my own, I’ve also included here, watermarked. To check out more of Nestor’s budding talent (he’s emerging from a career in IT), visit http://www.mioche.ca. I’m also in debt to three young high school volunteers, Katrina, Zoe, and Sybrielle, who took photos with my camera while I was busy painting and helped distribute a few of the new business cards (update to follow!) out to the crowd.