Flowers, photography and art in bloom for the weekend

Art meets science at the Canadian Museum of Nature, a new photography gallery and an exploration of Indigenous identity are all on the agenda for this weekend.
Lady Slipper Orchids, a native perennial wildflower found across Canada, by artist Ann Love. (Ann Love)

Art meets science at the Canadian Museum of Nature, a new photography gallery and an exploration of Indigenous identity are all on the agenda for the upcoming week.

Art of the Plant

Botanical artists pack their paints and brushes and head off into the wilderness, not only to capture the beauty of nature, but to accurately and painstakingly reproduce local biodiversity as a service to science.  Drawings and watercolours of wildflowers and shrubs from remote areas across the country make up the exhibition Art of the Plant at the Canadian Museum of Nature. 
Wild red columbine flower and bud in water colour by Ros Allchin. (Ros Allchin)

"It's not just about painting a pretty picture of a flower, it's about artists documenting rare, endangered species," said local botanical artist Kerri Weller.

Today's artists are working with a sense of urgency to preserve records of flora and fauna threatened by climate change and disappearing natural habitat, says Weller. 

Similar exhibitions of botanical art are taking place in 24 countries around the globe in the lead up to International Day of Biodiversity, May 22, that aims to shine a light on both the beauty and fragility of nature's gardens.

  • Where: Lower floor at  the Canadian Museum of Nature, 240 McLeod St.
  • When: Runs until Oct. 14.
  • Cost:  $14.50 for adults, $10.50 for children, $12.50 for students and children under 3 are free. Tickets can be purchased here

Art and Identity

Curator John G. Hampton organized In Dialogue, an exhibition and symposium on Indigenous identity at Carleton University Art Gallery. (Sandra Abma/CBC News)

Carleton University Art Gallery invites the public to join in on a conversation on Saturday about what it means to be a contemporary Indigenous artist, and enjoy a tour of two new exhibitions. 

Organizer John G. Hampton says growing up as the child of a Chickasaw father and Irish-Canadian mother has made the issue of identify central to his life.

"My own experience, which is shared by other people in similar circumstances. created some kind of fear to go into these Indigenous spaces," said Hampton.

"Because there is this fear of being too colonized, no longer deserving … of being engaged with your community."

On Saturday, Hampton will host an all-day symposium of panel discussions and talks set amidst two new shows that contrast recent Indigenous art with more traditional craft.  

In Dialogue includes installations, painting and video works from 12 First Nations, Métis and Sami artists.  

Quill Boxes from Mnidoo Mnising is a collection of hand crafted containers woven from birchbark, sweetgrass and porcupine quills.

Quill box by Maime Migwans (M’Chigeeng, 1925-2000) and Carl Beam (M’Chigeeng, 1943-2005). (Justin Wonnacott)

  • Where: Carleton University, St. Patrick's Building, 1125 Colonel By Dr.
  • When:  9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Note a launch party for the exhibitions will take place on Monday at 5 p.m.
  • Cost: Free. For symposium details go here.

Photo Gallery

Landscape is the theme of the first show at SPAO Gallery in Little Italy. (Sandra Abma/CBC )

There's a brand new gallery space tucked into the lobby of the School of Photographic Arts: Ottawa (SPAO) in Little Italy.

The inaugural show is called Canadiana, with an emphasis on landscapes from influential Canadian photographers such as Edward Burtynsky and Angela Grauerholz.

"With a school that's been producing such amazing work for so long, it's crazy we haven't had a space to showcase the best in photography," said SPAO creative director Jonathan Hobin.

"And a place for students to eventually aspire to exhibit in."

There's also a chance to check out what the students have been up to including a giant screen that will display photographs of local landscapes.

  • Where: SPAO, 77 Pamilla St. in Little Italy.
  • When:  Cocktail reception and exhibition opening: Friday 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
  • Cost: Free.