Ten rooms in a hotel – for just the one night. That might have happened at the Riviera – but at the Waterfront?



September 11, 2013

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON.  The cultural scene in Burlington gets busy right after Labour Day – everyone wants you to come to their event.

There is a poetry slam that would love you to show up and there is a dance production that is on for two nights at the Toddering Biped Theatre in Burlington.

We will do our best to publish a small piece on as many as we can.  What we have found, ever since the creation of the Arts and Cultural Collective of Burlington, is that there are dozens of artists doing very interesting work.  Is it all great?  That’s something you will have to decide.  Is it worth going to?  A sense of adventure is helpful when you embark on something you’ve not done before.  Take a chance, call up one of your friends and move out of your comfort zone and see what happens.

Each November the Art in Action group holds a Studio Tour and gather’s between three to five artists in one home with eight to ten homes in the tour.  That event is a chance to make a day of it and get a cultural dunking.  The Studio Tour is something you have to do at least once.

It runs for just four hours – tickets available on-line.

An event taking place September 19th intrigued us.  Dream State is being hosted by No Vacancy; the arts initiative Selina Jane Eckersall created to bring more focus to art and culture in Burlington. Dream State is a multi-artist installation being held at The Waterfront Hotel and featuring the work of ten artists from a variety of disciplines.

The theme of the event is “dreams and dreaming”.  All ten artists are somewhat local, all hail from Oakville, Hamilton and Burlington with two taking the GO train from Toronto.

The ten artists are free to interpret the theme in whatever way they wish and each have their own room to create a unique installation.

Selina Jane Eckersall sits on the Board of Directors for The Halton Women’s Centre and wanted to help them raise awareness and do some fundraising – so proceeds from the Dream State silent auction will be divided between the artists who place their work for auction and the Women’s Centre. Additionally, any ticket sale proceeds (after all of the hard venue and catering costs are paid) will be divided equally between the artists and The Women’s Centre.

Jim Riley does some of the most amazing video work.

“Why am I doing this?” asks Eckersall:  “Because our city needs more of a thriving art scene with more players. The more the merrier – the grander our culture. Our neighbours (both to the East and West) have much more in the way of funding, events, opportunities, and culture when it comes to art. I really want to see that happen here in Burlington, and I believe it can. I am a fan of all things Burlington and all things community too, so I am always looking for ways to both be of service and to promote the wonderful people, businesses, causes, and places that we have here in our city.”

The event is on September 19th, 2013.  It runs from 6pm to 10 pm.  The rooms are on the lower level of the Waterfront Hotel.

 This kind of event would have been great in the now demolished Riviera Motel.  Eckersall wanted to hold the event at the Ascot Motel but there was a complication with a long-term tenant.  Going from motel room to motel room would have been a hoot.  But the Waterfront Hotel it  is – where each artist will have a room to interpret their dream.

There are some exceptionally good artists taking part in this event.  You will remember many of these artists and tell your friends about what you saw for some time.

Here’s the run down.

Xiaojing Yan

Xiaojing Yan creates mixed media installations, which express personal ideas of identity, history and communication from the perspective of an immigrant working between cultures. Yan employs traditional Chinese materials and techniques and reinvents them within a Western aesthetic and presentation. In several of her series, Yan uses the reeds and fibre papers of Chinese lantern making to mold the fragile cocoons of an immigrant life – where staying safe and protected within an unfamiliar, often intimidating cultural environment is essential to emerging and adapting with a reincarnated identity.

Yan mixes western aestheticism and Chinese materials – these are not just Chinese lanterns.

Xiaojing Yan is an artist who has migrated from China to North America, both her identity and work pass through the complex filters of different countries, languages, and cultural expectations. Making art is a transmigration of Xiaojing’s ideas, and physical presence. Xiaojing has education from both the eastern and western worlds, with a B.F.A in decorative art, Nanjing Art Institute, Jiangsu, China, as well as a M.F.A in sculpture from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Faisal Anwar

Faisal Anwar is a digital media artist/ interactive producer / UI/UX expert (Toronto/ Pakistan). He is founder of an interactive art studio, DigitalDip and Co-founder Me A Monster Inc. His project series, Oddspaces, brings together art, culture and technology in an odd configuration to explore our perceptions towards architectural space, private or public spaces and social interactivity in modern urban cultures. He has shown at the Winter Olympics 2010, and performed nationally and internationally.

The “art” of war.  A closer inspection of Anwar’s work and the word horror follows.

His project Odd spaces was part of  Vancouver Olympics 2010 Code live exhibition. In October 2011 Oddspaces was also shown at Nuit-Blache Toronto and created a real-time installation between Karachi, New York and Toronto. Odd spaces was presented at the exhibition ‘Six Degrees of Separation: Chaos, Congruence & Collaboration’ 2008, curated by KHOJ, International Artists’ Association in Delhi, India and was presented in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh in September  2008.


Daniel Anaka

Daniel Anaka was born in 1978 in Brampton Ontario and currently resides in Toronto, Ontario. Daniel Anaka’s career as an artist has been as controversial as it has been brilliant. He works in the age of nonrepresentational art, much of his work having the look and feel of a Rembrandt, style of a Klimpt, narrative of a Rockwell, and sensuality of fashion photography. Other than attending artist material workshops, he is largely self-taught by studying the works of the masters, examining contemporary works, and working alongside other artists. Daniel now consults artists in materials and process, conservation, and frequently instructs artist workshops in representational and abstract acrylic and oil painting.

Anaka classic work and classic form – to be appreciated.

Anaka is principally known for his monumental, sensual, and emotionally raw depictions of women in his figurative and portrait work.

Jim Riley

Jim Riley is a Burlington, ON, based artist and independent curator. His art practice is a blend of documentary evidence, personal ideology, social commentary and artistic explorations. Riley’s present aesthetic investigations explore time and perceptual memory.

Riley captures a thought and then holds you to that thought – riveting.

His recent art practice has involved public and gallery video installations. He has a BA from Brock University. Currently, he is on the Media Arts Team of the Burlington Art Centre and is the Chair of Exhibitions and Programming Committee at Centre3 for Print and Media Arts (Hamilton). He has exhibited his art for more than twenty-five years in Canada and the US.

Grace Loney

Grace Loney is an active visual artist living in Southern Ontario.  Grace’s work is enjoyed in private collections throughout North America, Britain and Japan.   Her paintings are intuitive and alive with colour and rhythm.  She uses acrylic, oil pastel, water-colour, and painterly mixed media to create depth in abstract expression.

A maze? Art to be experienced?  Loney seem to push the limits.

“As an artist, I have journeyed down many paths to explore different ways of creating and making.  My goal is to contribute to human experience by making art for art’s sake and currently I paint compositions.  I also love to play with clay.  Along the way, I’ve learned to work with new and found wood, fibre glass, cement, soil, and garden growth.  I’ve had to learn to represent myself digitally and make acquaintance with cyberspace.”

Sanjay B Patel

Sanjay B Patel is a Canadian of Indian descent, residing in between Hamilton and Toronto. This talented artist is carving a path with his one-of-a-kind commissioned work; a unique experience that offers the client a custom abstract representation of their energy, tastes and personality, while taking into consideration the current colour, lighting, and space in the room.

Patel bursts with colour – what will he do with a single room.

Sanjay Patel is a refreshing artist who perfectly balances himself between classic, fine art fundamentals and modern couture design.

Reg Moore

Reg Moore is a projection and light artist holding unique events under the name Realtime Activities. Realtime turns the clock back and forth with shout-outs to eclectic moments and personalities in motion picture, photography, animation, music and popular culture.

When Reg Moore adds sound to these visuals – “cool” and “awesome” are the only reasonable responses.

Using an existing site and manipulating it, Realtime creates installations that are a visual feast for the average individual and a delight to the more seasoned viewer who recognizes Realtime’s incorporation of such ground-breaking works as “Moth Light”, “Rhythmus 21”, “Dog Star Man”, and “Matrix III”, to name a few. A Realtime installation is both a fabulous live event and a compelling expression of art.

Kyle Tonkens

Kyle Tonkens is a Canadian artist who lives and works in Oakville, Ontario. In addition to completing a Bachelor degree in Sociology at the University of Western Ontario, Kyle has studied Visual Arts and Art History at both the Ontario College of Art and Design and the University of Toronto [Mississauga].

Tonkens uses colour  to create abstract masterpieces.

Kyle’s current project 100 Billion Sons&Daughters is an ongoing series of paintings created to celebrate each and every person who has ever lived, and their inherent beauty. Kyle uses colour choices provided by the ‘subject’ of each painting to create abstract masterpieces named in their honour.

Keith Busher

Keith Busher of Precious Mutations is an emerging artist from the Hamilton area who became famous in 2012 for his zombified nutcrackers and mutated thrift store finds. What began as a lesson to his two daughters about what could be accomplished when you are not sitting in front of the TV has turned into the work that he has become best known for.

Busher’s zombified nutcrackers and mutated thrift store finds.

Keith began purchasing thrift store/garage sale ceramic figurines and ‘mutating’ them into humorous, sinister and sometimes downright macabre creatures.  His zombified nutcrackers were shipped all over the world to countries like Japan, Australia and the Netherlands.  Keith’s work was recently featured at an installation at MANTA Contemporary during the Hamilton Art Crawl. The exhibit was entitled Re-Visions and featured his work alongside the work of award-winning artist David Irvine.

Lana Kamarić

Lana Kamarić is a contemporary surrealist artist. Born in Sarajevo, Bosnia, she began painting at a very young age. In 1994 Lana moved to Canada with her family, and made a home in Burlington, ON. She graduated York University with a degree in Art History in 2011, and currently works at the Burlington Art Centre.

Kamarić’s windows into another world, an escape from the anxieties of reality.

Drawing inspiration from various mythologies, folklore and fairy tales, her work often incorporates classical narratives to represent themes of time and identity. The goal of her paintings is to create windows into another world, an escape from the anxieties of reality.

The art we have shown here is not what you will see at the Dream State event.  It is, we hope, representative of what these artists have done.  We certainly had our favourites.

This will probably rank as the best the city is going to see this year – make the time to see it.

Cost of a ticket is $20 plus a small fee.  Go on-line.

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