Saturday, January 23, 2010

Podunk Below the Masthead (Friday, January 22, 2010)

An artistic review, a certified salmon fishery and direct flights between Sandspit and Masset, some of the items of note for Friday's news cycle.

Daily News, Front page, headline story
THE EMERSION OF A LOCAL ARTIST A FORTY YEAR JOURNEY-- Monica Lamb-Yorski traces the development of local artist Robert Moses White, who has had a varied career in the arts and has brought his passion for painting full circle with a showing called Ancient Memories, on display at the Museum of Northern B.C. until March 10.

British Columbia's sockeye salmon is about to be certified as sustainable, that as the The Marine Stewardship Council, which is based out of London, UK, prepares to provide the designation to the pacific coast's key resource. However, there is the possibility of appeal and some conservation groups may very well challenge that designation when the opportunity for appeals comes up.

The current situation in Kitimat is examined as the Daily News profiles Kitimat Mayor Joanne Monoghan and how she and her community are coping with the recent developments surrounding the Eurocan pulp mill closure.

On the editorial page, George T. Baker takes an interesting twist on last weekends disturbance on Fifth Avenue East, finding some similarities in his editorial page contribution between that event and one of the pivotal moments of the past in the City of Detroit and its infamous riots of 1967.

"The Detroit riot of 1967 was very different event from what we saw in Prince Rupert last weekend. But there were similarities" From that talking point he goes on to discuss economic inequality and a rapidly changing demographic for his thoughts on the similarities. It's a review of events in editorial form which some may find a bit of a stretch in its analysis of the disturbance of last weekend. (see article here)

(Archive for Daily News Articles for January 22, 2010)

The Northern View
No new items posted to their website for Friday

CFTK TV 7 News
Police Chase Leads to Suspect Nab-- Terrace RCMP made arrests in a pair of armed robberies in the city on Thursday evening (see article here)

Queen Charlotte Islands Observer
Pacific Coastal to serve Sandspit during Olympics -- Haida Gwaii residents can take advantage of direct air connections between the Islands two main communities of Masset and Sandsipt, all be it only on a temporary basis as Pacific Coastal Airlines finds a work around increased security concerns over the Olympic weeks (see article here)

CBC News Northern British Columbia, Daybreak North
More delays in the return of on line content for the Daybreak North website, as the CBC's technical woes appear to be continuing. The CBC has revised their start up date for the new service, advising that the site will launch "shortly".

Daily News, front page, headline story
The emersion of a local artist a forty year journey
By Monica Lamb-Yorski
The Daily News
Friday, January 22, 2010

The first time Robert Moses White was in trouble for doing art he was in Grade 3
- he was creating a comic strip of one of his teachers.

She was an alien that would eat the bad kids.

Undeterred from the chastising, White continued to draw, sometimes copying Walt Disney characters, trying to make them look realistic.

Forty years later, White’s first solo art exhibit – Ancient Memories – is on display at the Museum of Northern B.C.

The images White has created combine realism, the natural world, First Nations design and stories. There are human portraits of relatives, graphite drawings of scenes, and a variety of paintings in the collection.

White has dedicated the show to Charles Dudoward, an influential Tsimshian artist from Lax Kw’alaams, who painted and carved.

White never met Dudoward in person, but feels that he was an inspiration. He has been told by several people that one of his paintings looks very similar to a painting Dudoward created of Lax Kw’alaams, the canoes on the shoreline and the longhouses.

White is part of the Gitwilgyoots Tribe of Lax Kw’alaams and his is the Raven Crest.

Talking over a cup of tea at his sister Joanne Finlay’s house, White recounted that, as a child, he was taken to Alberta for schooling, along with his siblings.

He returned to Prince Rupert to attend school when he was 16 years old, after spending almost a decade away.

When he was 18 years old, he decided to start painting went out and bought some paints. “I said to a friend, I’m going to be a painter and I don’t think he believed me.”

One of the first paintings he made was of Watson Island. He called it ‘Death of an Island’ and told a friend if the pulp mill kept going, in 25 years there would not be a tree left.

“Then the mill died and the trees came back to life,” White added.

Pointing to the dining room table, where an almost completed sketch of an octopus with a clam in its tentacles occupies the centre, he said the ideas go from his head to a scrap piece paper - yet can sit for years.

Then one day he picks up the scrap paper and does a better version on a larger scale. Some he’s left as graphite sketches, others he has painted.

“As paint goes down, it changes the way I planned it, and the painting evolves. Sometimes the accidental paint becomes the actual painting.”

The invitation to the opening of the show is a print of a painting White created of the Pagoda Restaurant, once located on Third Avenue, and famous for its chow mein buns.

Paying attention to detail, White included the worn spot on the door where people had a tendency to kick it in, walking by at 2 a.m.

“We used to go there all the time. We’d sell them flounders, cod and black bass,” White recalled.
Since finishing the painting, he’s learned there was even a bowling alley under the building at one point. The leaded glass blocks in the sidewalk out front were there to let the light in.

In ‘Returning From the Feast’, a piece that took him seven years to complete, a sentry stands on the shoreline and there are rows of canoes out in the water.

He’s had fun with colours and painstakingly painted expressions on the human figures’ faces.
“I painted expressions on the face of each human figure and they are pretty tiny. I used a paintbrush that had five hairs,” White said, adding, “I stopped working on it for four years and then brought it out again.”

Some of the graphite drawings depict a pre-contact era and the technology the First Nations used for fishing and hunting.

So far he’s had small shows in Calgary at a place called the Roastery Coffee House and at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, but this is his first big exhibit.

When he walked in and saw everything in its place he admits he was impressed.

“Everything is framed and matted. My perspective has changed,” White explained. “In my head my work was amateurish, but I found himself asking, oh my God, who painted these?”

White has worked as a professional actor in films such as Broken Trail with Robert Duval and Fighting the Odds. He worked on a movie with Jackie Chan and hung out with him for an entire week.

His latest project is a book for children, instigated after his granddaughter asked if he could write a book for her. He has created all of the illustrations and the text.

Ancient Memories opened Jan. 19 and runs until March 10.

White credits Salmonberry Trading Company, the Lester Centre of the Arts, The Department of Canadian Heritage, First Peoples Language, Heritage and Cultural Council, as being instrumental in helping him put the show together.

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