I decided to submit my oil painting ‘Give This to Jack and Alice’ to the Oshawa Art Association’s 51st Annual Juried Art Exhibition at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa Ontario.
Give This to Jack and Alice. Words scrawled on the back of an old family photo. This oil painting is a portrait of my Baba and her sisters standing in front of one of the family farms in rural Manitoba. My Baba was always encouraging of my creative work and always asked me how it was going. She had an incredible sense of humour and quick wit. Alice Hryhorczuk passed away never having seen one of my paintings in person.
A rare sidestep out of my usual subject matter, I wanted to explore my family history through some of the old photos I had collected over the years. Hoping to impart some of the stories I know first hand, and others I’ve been told, to my son, an oil painting seemed like the perfect entry point for discussion.
I attended the opening event at the RMG Oshawa with my son, arriving late after a 7th birthday party for one of his classmates. Running into an artist acquaintance, Monica, I was asked why I had not gone up when they called my name – confused, I replied “why did they call my name?”. Puzzled, she looked at me and explained that I had been given the Silver Award by the Oshawa Art Association panel of judges. Pleasantly surprised and honoured.
I’ve never submitted work to juried shows with hopes of receiving any recognition. I’ve always participated for the enjoyment of it, and to further exposure of my work to a larger audience who may not have see it otherwise. Having been recognized for this particular artwork was special for me. My baba would have been over the moon to have seen this oil painting, and to hear about the award.
Sharing this experience with my son brought me so much joy that evening. He was beaming, and that filled my heart.
This is for Alice. This is for family.