Stories from Here and There

June 15 to July 20, 2012
Curated by Chikonzero Chazunguza

Featuring the art of Chikonzero Chazunguza, Roberta Della-Pica, and Guillermo Trejo

Opening reception: June 15, 5 pm to 8 pm
Micaela Fitch Room
2 Daly Ave, Ottawa, ON
613-569-1387

Stories from Here and There

Text: CAO Staff

The next instalment of Art at the CAO is an exhibition titled Stories from Here and There–featuring the work of three artists Chikonzero Chazunguza, Guillermo Trejo and Roberta Della-Picca.

The CAO first approached Chazunguza to curate an exhibition last fall and concluded he could best contribute by also participating. After much searching Chazunguza found affinity with Trejo and Della-Picca's work. What joins these artists is a need to story their experience of passed adversity. As Chazunguza says “We talk from a place of safety”, clearly suggesting the less than safe past of the artists and the relative safety of the present.

Chazunguza, known as Chiko to everyone who has met him, has an effervescent personality that is contagious. His cheery personality belies the seriousness of his work. His latest series is inspired by past experiences in Zimbabwe. His acrylic based works incorporate pieces of pop cans combining traditional Zimbabwean culture and mass consumerism. His intent is to contrast the abundance of commodities in Canada to the material dearth that he experienced in Zimbabwe.

Chiko has had quite an artistic journey, originally from Zimbabwe; he studied art in Bulgaria before returning home for 15 years to eventually end up in Canada in 2009. His artistic practice reflects this journey blending contemporary art strategies with traditional Zimbabwean art making.

Guillermo Trejo, immigrated to Canada in 2007 from Mexico. Upon a subsequent return to Mexico he was struck by the poverty and injustice of his former home. This experience became a defining moment for his art making practice. Seeking to address the shortcomings of society he uses a well-established media for social awareness and change–print making. His prints are based on hand drawn images sourced from news and mass media. While holding a critical mirror to society his work strives to effect change.

Trejo has been quite active of late with solo exhibitions at SAW Gallery (2011) and the Shenkman Arts Centre (2012), and many more group exhibitions under his belt. He is current finishing his MFA at the University of Ottawa and will be having his thesis exhibition at the Ottawa Art Gallery this fall.

The third participating artist in the exhibition is Roberta Della-Picca, a renaissance woman who practices installation art, painting, and storytelling. She has also dabbled in acting, most recently appearing as an extra in the all-aboriginal production of King Lear at the NAC in May.

Della-Picca describes herself as a community activist who advocates for the many members of her community facing difficult issues. In Stories from Here and There she will be including works touching on some of these issues. One of these, titled Body-map: Medicine Wheel of Healing, is a giant canvas measuring 80” x 120” evoking a king sized bed sheet. In this work Della-Picca, uses the sizeable canvas to map out her personal journey including her often painful, struggles.

Stories from Here and There is on exhibit at the Council for the Arts in Ottawa from June 15 to July 20, with an opening reception on June 15 from 5 to 8 pm.