Monthly Archives: August 2021

Don Proch

It’s not often that a book is published about your junior high art school teacher, is it?  Don Proch was no ordinary middle school teacher. He taught me how to draw perspective, which is no small feat in a classroom of enthusiastic 13 year olds.  His teaching career was short-lived; he’s been creating art full time for most of his life. His artworks are found in public and corporate collections from Vancouver, Canada to New York, U.S.A.

Don Proch- Masking and Mapping by Patiricia Bovey, University of Manitoba Press, 2019

Don Proch- Masking and Mapping by Patiricia Bovey, University of Manitoba Press, 2019

Night Landing Mask, Don Proch, 1982, Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery, galleries west.ca image

Night Landing Mask, Don Proch, 1982, Collection of the Winnipeg Art Gallery, galleries west.ca image

Take a look at this short video produced by Mayberry Fine Art. Mr. Proch (how could I call him Don?!) talks about his process, and his influences.  He describes his objects as three dimensional drawing and says making these things is the most fun I can have.

Chicken Bone Mask, Don Proch, 1978

Chicken Bone Mask, Don Proch, 1978

Isn’t the work intriguing?  Unique?  He has a singular voice that remains contemporary in its exploration of humans interacting with the land.  And what could be more à propos than masks?  If you want to learn a bit more, here’s an interesting interview  by Robert Enright from Border Crossings.

And, really, you want to see the images in the book, Don Proch –  Masking and Mapping.  It’s easily ordered from the University of Manitoba Press, or your local independent bookstore.  Ask your public library to acquire a copy. Patricia Bovey has done a remarkable job compiling all the images, details, and dates of Don Proch’s extraordinary life and art into an accessible and enjoyable format.  It’s a gorgeous book, and an incredible resource.

Thanks to Ms Bovey for this book.  Thanks to Mr. Proch for teaching me drawing fundamentals.  Thank you, Don Proch, for your art.

To wear – or not wear- Indigenous designs

To wear – or not to wear – indigenous design is a topic of discussion that keeps popping up in my social circles.  The clothing and jewellery are gorgeous, but is it cultural appropriation when non-indigenous people wear them?

Mary Simon is Canada’s newest Governor General.  At her recent inauguration she wore a dress and jacket designed and decorated by Victoria Okpik and Julie Grenier.   This brief article from the Inuit Art Foundation highlights the artists and their works.  (Have a look because you won’t want to miss the image of the outfit Victoria Okpik designed for the musical artist Elisapie.)

Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada, cbc.ca image

Mary Simon is Canada's newest Governor General, cbc.ca image

Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada, cbc.ca image

Mary Simon is indigenous – born in Kangiqsualujjuaq, Nunavik.  It’s more than appropriate that she wears clothing created by indigenous artists.  I wonder, though,  whether it’s fitting for me, a first generation Canadian, to wear indigenous designs?

As I explore the question, it seems clear that we bear a responsibility as consumers / wearers to ensure that the work is authentic, not mass produced. Has the artist been compensated for their creations?  Has the artist been paid?

If you’re interested in reading more about the propriety of wearing indigenous designs, here’s a  HuffPost article by Haley Lewis and a Toronto Star interview with indigenous artist Killa Atencio.  You may also want to check out this Indigenous Arts Collective. Their tagline is We are artists FOR artists.

(Thanks to CARFAC for popularizing the question Has the artist been paid? and the Inuit Art Foundation  for advancing the work of indigenous artists.)