The No Vacancy Cirque at the Village Square introduces Lana Kamaric to the city. Her Alice in Wonderland work sells well.

theartsBy Pepper Parr

October 5, 2014



Lana Kamaric crossed our path at the September No Vacancy Cirque event at the Village Square. I was chatting with Anne Swarbrick outside one of the installations and a woman in her mid-twenties stuck her head out the door and said “I have a bone to pick with you sir!” in a tone of voice that suggested this wasn’t going to be a fun conversation.

When I finished talking with Swarbrick I went in and glanced at the installation which I didn’t immediately understand. There were a lot of strings going up to the ceiling of the room and what looked like pages from a book flying around. There was a large book on a table covered with a crimson red cloth. At the time I didn’t notice anything unusual about the table.

Ms Kamaric said she had sent me an email and I had not gotten back to her. “Your web site says that you get back to every email and you didn’t get back to me.”

Kamaric sureal squares

“I use art as a means of understanding the world around me, a tool to help me work out the great puzzle of purpose and meaning.”

   I didn’t recognize the woman’s name but said I would do a search and see if I did in fact get an email – and sure enough I did; but all it had was a link to another site and I never click on links to a site that come from someone I don’t know. That’s the easiest way I know of to let a virus into your computer.
I was struck with the boldness that Kamaric used to get my attention. There was nothing shy about this attractive woman with long curly auburn hair. At the time I hadn’t paid that much attention to her “installation” other than to remember the brilliant red cloth on the table. I took a few pictures and moved on.

A few days later when I was doing the articles on the No Vacancy event I decided I would do a piece on the impact the event was going to have on young emerging artists and decided to follow up with Ms Kamaric – called and arranged to do an interview.

Kamaric - hands and arms spread

Lana Kamaric has arrived – her art is being seen and sold.

Lana Kamaric was born in Sarajevo in Bosnia at a time when the country was under a siege that lasted longer than the siege of Stalingrad in the second world war. The city was under siege from 1992 to 1996. The Kamaric family left Sarajevo and immigrated to Canada. Her father, who is Muslim, left first, “my Mother and I went to Croatia and then on to Canada. “We arrived in November” 1994 and were given “immigrant winter coats”

Kamaric remembers most of the siege. Kamaric’s mother was a film producer in Sarajevo; but when she came to Canada the switch to digital had begun and it wasn’t something her mother was able to get into and she left her career as a documentary film maker. “They had very little facility with the English language when they arrived” explained Kamaric, but they were open minded people and they adapted”.

Lana Kamaric adapted as well. She always wanted to draw. “I remember much of the magic of Sarajevo and brought that sense of magic to Canada. High school, university then a job at what was then the Burlington Art Centre, now the Art Gallery of Burlington, where she worked in customer service and convinced Leslie Page to let her set up a “coffee” shop for artists. It was an informal thing that was put on every second Sunday and lasted for about a year.

Kamaric Tea cups Alice theme

Part of a series based on Alice in Wonderland’s Through a Looking Glass

Her Mother now works in real estate and her father is in construction.
Surrealism came to Kamaric when she was 17 – it was just what I wanted to do. This form of painting lets me say the things I want to say without words. I do a fair amount of research before I actually begin to paint or draw. But I have been painting for as long as I can remember.

Lewis Carol’s Alice in Wonderland became part of the world for Kamaric at an early age. She wears a necklace with a small key on the chain – that key is her entry into the world of Alice “where time stands still.”

Kamaric - Mad hatter in pencil

Kamaric doodles – her Mad Hatter is the kind of thing she does when she has a pen in her hand.

Her Alice work has met with commercial success. Many of the illustrations on her web site have the words SOLD on them. We can expect to see more Alice work from Lana Kamaric who did her first art show while at York University – one of her larger paintings, a 36 x 48 inch piece, was stolen before it got to be put on display. While she studied art history at York University she is self-taught as a painter.
Things work out for people in the oddest way – Lana Kamaric happens to live on the same street as Selina Jane Eckersall. They came to know each other and Eckersall invited Kamaric to take part in the No Vacancy Cirque event at the Village Square.

This was her first installation art form and it tied in well with her surrealism. The event was a success for both Burlington, Selina Jane Eckersall, Lana Kamaric and most of the other artists. Now what? Eckersall is still analyzing the results of the September event and thinking about 2015.

The No Vacancy Cirque had a certain edginess to it” said Kamaric. “There were very few guidelines which suited me”, she added. Her installation was well received. What next?

Kamaric isn’t sure – she doesn’t feel she needs to be certain. Artists today write a “statement” that sets out what they are doing and why they are doing what they do.

Kamaric - Curious plaxce - Alice

An Alice in Wonderland series that sold out.

“I use art as a means of understanding the world around me, a tool to help me work out the great puzzle of purpose and meaning. As a Bosnian immigrant in Canada I have spent the majority of my life trying to make sense of my identity and place in the world, and as a result I have created a universe of my own – a painted surrealist utopia, free from the burdens of reality and where nonsense takes precedence. In my painted world we are not restricted by time, nature is not corrupted but a ruling force, and identity is discovered by revisiting our childhood self. Of course, these are the issues that stir inside me, but each viewer seems to find their own inner battles within my work and the visual language translates into a personal story of their own.”

For a woman who doesn’t use words this is a pretty compelling statement.

Kamaric is currently deciding what she wants to do next as an artist. She certainly wants to be part of the 2015 No Vacancy event and she is thinking through some ideas.

Kamaric H&S 1

Kamaric – a Gazette reporter.

When the Gazette learned that Trevor Copp was putting on a two week run of the First Dance we wanted someone with an arts background to do a review of the performance and asked Lana Kamaric if she would be interested in covering the event. She was interested, she covered the event and wrote her first review. It was a good first piece and we asked Kamaric if she was interested in doing more of this type of thing. She was and on Sunday afternoon she will cover the Rolly Astrom Ballerina photography exhibit at the Art Gallery of Burlington and later in the day visit with Teresa Seaton, the “den mother” of the art community in Burlington, at her studio which is snuggled up beside the Royal Botanical Gardens out on Plains Road and while there spend some time at the EdRoy gallery and look at some of the work Kyle Brooke does.

The Gazette now has an artist to cover the cultural community; watch for her contribution


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