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'I see arts of wonder around me': Chief Jimmy Bruneau students visit mobile gallery

The Art Gallery of NWT is in a trailer on wheels, and it's making stops at places like the Chief Jimmy Bruneau School and the Snowking's castle on Yellowknife Bay.

Art Gallery of NWT stopped by the school with latest exhibition

Students at the Chief Jimmy Bruneau School in Behchoko look at art on display at the mobile art gallery, which parked outside their school on Tuesday. (Avery Zingel/CBC)

The Art Gallery of NWT is a trailer on wheels — a "wacky" response to the absence of a permanent exhibition space in the territory, says Sarah Swan, a board member for the Yellowknife Artist-Run-Centreless-Centre. 

This week, it took the DOOMLOOP exhibition to the Chief Jimmy Bruneau School. Students stepped out of their classes to check out works from two artists.

Students explore the mobile art gallery parked outside of their school in Behchoko. (Submitted by Sarah Swan)

Reanna Apples is inspecting art by Yellowknife artist Jonah Cutler. His large-scale drawings are detailed, esoteric and absurd.  

In one, a reptilian being from the place where "demons dwell" bleeds into Donald Trump, Jeffrey Epstein and Hillary Rodham Clinton, creating a "psychic poison" and a perspiring humanoid inside of a smart phone.

Jonah Cutler's work includes detailed references to pop culture and existentialism. (Instagram: worry.rest.rejoice)

Apples says she was drawn to one of Cutler's pieces with elements of conspiracy about major U.S. political figures.

"This is the first time I've ever seen an art gallery like this in a trailer that's being brought around," she said. 

Other students found themselves drawn to the work of Shaun Morin. His art is steeped in graffiti, skate subcultures, '80s memorabilia, old cartoons, and psychedelia. 

Morin depicts things going wrong: a fish takes its final gasp, a person saws through the rungs of a ladder, a ball and chain strand a foot attached to no body, a man complains that his pants are too tight.  

"It's sort of like hitting your funny bone," said Swan. 

Some students said they didn't know art could look like this, she said.

'I see arts of wonder around me.'

The CBC asked students what their favourite piece was and how it made them feel. Student Ross Simpson was drawn to a detailed black and white drawing by Cutler. It has an overseeing eye and a warped sense of time and horizon. 

"I see arts of wonder around me," said Simpson.

He went over to the painted wood panels by Morin, which include elements of vintage rubber hose cartoons.

"This makes me think I can draw something like this when I grow up," said Simpson.

After seeing the gallery, student Ross Simpson draws Bendy, a fictional rubber hose animation first created in 1929. In the background are Shaun Morin's paintings. (Avery Zingel/CBC)
The rubber hose cartoon style is characterised by fluid limbs, as in the 1933 cartoon Snow-White. (Wikimedia Commons)

Simpson darts back inside the school to quickly put one of his favourite cartoon characters to paper.

Elijah Zoe says he likes how art can explain a person's view of the world.

"I like how people can express themselves through art … something that they don't really want to say, they express themselves through pictures," he said. 

Tanisha Beaverho, looking at an image of a black star, said it reminds her of how she expresses herself.

"It feels great to see art from other people," she said.

 

Karen Gelderman, a former art teacher at the school, says the mobile gallery resonates with students. 

"I think for the students it's a gift because it's an opportunity for something that's different. I think it's also something they can relate to: the simple the process of an artist working on their thoughts and feelings through art and how it's therapeutic," she said. 

About the Author

Avery Zingel

Reporter

Avery Zingel is a reporter with CBC North in Yellowknife. She is a graduate of the Carleton University School of Journalism and Political Science. Email her at avery.zingel@cbc.ca or follow her on Twitter @averyzingel.

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