Artist’s new show celebrates celebrations

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This article was published 15/09/2021 (509 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Connie Wawruck-Hemmett produces works in a variety of media and her output is influenced by an eclectic range of experiences and subjects.

They come together in Carnivalia: Art by Connie Wawruck-Hemmett, her latest exhibit at the Wayne Arthur Gallery, located at 186 Provencher Blvd. The exhibit runs Tuesdays through Saturdays between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. through Sept. 29.

“My first memory from when I was kid was my mom saying ‘there’s not a single piece of paper in this house that Connie hasn’t drawn on’,” Wawruck-Hemmett said with a chuckle.

Tony Zerucha Artist Connie Wawruck-Hemmett works with a variety of media and styles and manyof her works are on display at Carnivalia: Art by Connie Wawruck-Hemmett, an exhibit of her works running through Sept. 29 at the Wayne Arthur Gallery.

Money was often scarce in her early years, so Wawruck-Hemmett worked with whatever supplies were handy. That was good preparation for an artistic career that has seen her create with pretty much every medium save for oil-based paints, she said. In high school her teacher was renowned artist Ted Korol, whom Wawruck-Hemmett described as an amazing teacher.

While she hoped to continue her formal art education immediately after high school, Wawruck-Hemmett instead went to work but the lessons continued. Over time she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in history, travelled the world with her husband and began working on a PhD at Dalhousie University where she specialized in “reading” visual representation of women in graphic drawings to be found in a 1930s Soviet youth newspaper. A medical issue and eventual PTSD diagnosis interrupted her doctoral work, but Wawruck-Hemmett’s pursuits continued, now bringing an additional therapeutic benefit.

She hasn’t stopped creating for six decades and has added ceramics, glasswork, jewelry, three-dimensional wire sculptures and even silver-smithing to her repertoire. Wawruck-Hemmett is also working on a book about fascism in 1930s Manitoba.

“Whatever strikes me at the moment,” Wawruck-Hemmett said of her artistic choices.

“I pick and choose what I want to do. I don’t expect people to have any expectations of my art.”

Carnivalia was inspired by Wayne Arthur Gallery’s group exhibition Celebration. It was there that Wawruck-Hemmett debuted Queen Carnivale, a three-dimensional piece that honours the many festivals and carnivals cultures hold. Manitoba hosts several of its own, including Folklorama and the Festival du Voyageur. Wawruck-Hemmett said these events are important for many reasons, including providing an opportunity for people to gather and celebrate each other. The world hasn’t had too many chances to hold such events for two years, and we have all suffered for it.

“The importance of gathering is one of the reasons I wanted to do this theme,” Wawruck-Hemmett said.

“While we’re not gathering, I want people to keep in mind the importance of gathering and celebrating things around the world. We might have to change our way of attending these festivals. Hopefully in the not-too-distant future we can return to enjoy our heritage and celebrations in the way they deserve to be celebrated.”

For more information on Carnivalia: Art by Connie Wawruck-Hemmett, visit www.waynearthurgallery.com and Wawruck-Hemmett on Facebook.

Tony Zerucha

Tony Zerucha
East Kildonan community correspondent

Tony Zerucha is a community correspondent for East Kildonan. Email him at tzerucha@gmail.com

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