Artists Announced for Epic ART EXPRESS’D Journey

March 21, 2017

Canada 150 project to launch in June from Inuvik, St. John’s, Alert Bay, and Winnipeg

The Winnipeg Art Gallery is pleased to announce Jessie Buchanan, Evin Collis, and Becky Thiessen as the artists selected to travel with the WAG’s Canada 150 Signature Initiative, ART EXPRESS’D/ART EXPRIMÉ. Each artist will lead a collaborative art-making project with communities in every province and territory on their journey towards the country’s heart, Winnipeg.

ART EXPRESS’D/ART EXPRIMÉ will see four 20-foot metal shipping containers transformed into mobile art studios traversing the nation via train, truck, and cargo ship over the summer months. Three of the four containers will set out from Canada’s three coasts – kicking off in Inuvik, St. John’s, and Alert Bay– and will stop in at least 16 different locations en route to Winnipeg. With the help of local galleries and grassroots partners at designated stops, artists will create a collaborative installation designed to maximize community engagement and participation. The fourth container will be located at The Forks National Historic Site in Winnipeg through a partnership with Parks Canada, where it will feature art-making activities for the public.

ART EXPRESS’D/ART EXPRIMÉ was selected by the Department of Canadian Heritage as a Canada 150 Signature Initiative, the only one organized by a major art gallery, and one of just three from Manitoba.

“The Winnipeg Art Gallery congratulates the ART EXPRESS’D artists and thanks everyone who submitted proposals,” comments Dr. Stephen Borys, WAG Director & CEO. “What better way to unite the country during Canada’s 150th year than by bringing art to communities as part of this historic journey! We can’t wait to see how artists connect with Canadians along the way as we highlight the country’s unique natural geography and cultural diversity.”

Selected from dozens of applications from across the nation, the three artists represent the spirit of the project, which aims to reflect the broad spectrum of Canadians – from Indigenous peoples to new Canadians to ethno-cultural communities, with a focus on engaging youth. In their own way, each artist will connect with participants across Canada as they create art together.

Jessie Buchanan, Guelph, ON
Inspired both by her Anishinabe (Ojibway) heritage and by her Euro-Canadian ancestry, Jessie Buchanan’s paintings are guided by the Woodland style and by the work of Emily Carr, Daphne Odjig, Nathalie Parenteau, Ted Harrison, and others. For her ART EXPRESS`D project, she will invite the public to illustrate through paint their connections to the land/environment, together rendering the spiritual geography of the northern Canadian landscape. Buchanan will be travelling on the North to South route: Inuvik, Whitehorse, Yellowknife, Churchill, and Rankin Inlet.

Evin Collis, Winnipeg, MB
Evin Collis creates paintings, drawings, sculptures, and stop-motion animations investigating the complexities of history, identity, survival, and the degraded landscape. As part of ART EXPRESS’D, he will lead the public to transform the container into a rail-car filled with a medley of characters and more using papier mâché that shall bring to life the cross-Canada railroad journey. Collis is bilingual in French and English and will be on the East to West route: St. John’s, Halifax, Charlottetown, Moncton, Montreal, and Ottawa.

Becky Thiessen, Winnipeg, MB
Becky Thiessen experiments through painting, drawing, textiles, assemblage, sculpture, and digital media. Her vision for ART EXPRESS`D is a collaborative project that will connect community to community using handmade stencils created by participants that feature themes of cultural and ethnic identity, Canadian landscape, local animals, and vegetation. Thiessen will lead the West to East route: Alert Bay, Vancouver, Calgary, Saskatoon, and Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes.

Before starting their voyages, the exteriors of the four mobile art studios will be designed and painted in partnership with two Winnipeg art institutions, Graffiti Art Programming Inc. and Art City Inc.

The WAG is grateful to its project partners: Government of Canada, The Winnipeg Foundation, Travel Manitoba, The Mauro Family Foundation Inc, Locher Evers International, M3 Transport Ltd., Parks Canada, The Forks North Portage Partnership, TakingITGlobal, Special Laser Tech Inc., and HTFC Planning & Design.

To read full artist bios and learn more, click here