|TOGETHER WE RISE.
In celebration of Mother’s Day, we took some time with multi-talented Artist, Mother, Comedian, et al. Elaine Brewer-White to hear from her about her work, inspirations and the future of women’s issues #BeBoldForChange.
Elaine’s work will be featured in the Van Dop Gallery in an exclusive exhibition celebrating women for Mother’s Day this year. The exhibition will open on Mothers Day, May 9 and continues to May 31st,2017.
A CONVERSATION WITH ELAINE BREWER WHITE
Who was your first female role model and why?
In art, I’d have to say Canadian multimedia artist Gathie Falk. I first met her in the 80’s when my art college class got a tour of her old home and studio in Kitsilano. I was inspired first by her ceramics, the color, and simplicity of her hanging cabbages and fruit pyramids. During our visit we got to see her most recent project, which at the time was huge canvases for her Night Sky series. Gathie was painting them one at a time in a tiny second bedroom where there was no room for anything else but her and the canvas. Her tiny house was bursting at the seams with art by her and other artists. That experience taught me that making art was akin to eating and breathing, it was an essential part of a life well lived.
With the Women’s issues being at the forefront of current affairs since the march earlier this year, what would you like to emphasize about the public discourse around women’s rights?
Women’s rights — from wage parity, to reproductive rights are all equally important.
My work as often revolved around self-image, and celebrating bodies of all types, all dimensions, all ages.
As I age and gravity takes effect, I find myself drawn to this visual deterioration as a kind of awesome beauty – body wisdom hard won through life experience. A woman’s body is like a beautiful landscape to me, and each gesture an affirmation of the right to exist.
What are some of the biggest issues facing women your age right now in the world?
The biggest issues for women are the same for all of humankind. Now that multi-corporations own most of the world’s wealth, even first world countries like Canada have growing populations of working poor where poverty is becoming the norm, especially for women and children. Populist leaders are taking power in countries all over the world, where the most useful tools to propagate more power is fear, hatred, and brute force. To lift women out of poverty through wage parity and education would empower them to be a voice against the war mongers and environment destroyers.
How do you feel about how women are represented in the media, film and pop culture? In what ways, if any do you identify with or relate to the prevailing public image of women?
I gravitate to women in T.V. and film that I can relate to, Carol Burnett for all her female characters who awkwardly embraced life , Meryl Streep and Viola Davis for portraying strong women with glorious imperfections, and music idols –Joni Mitchell for her iconic struggles to be heard and be free, Jan Arden for her lyrical sorrows but also her gut-busting sense of humor, Measha Brueggergosman for her soaring voice and her proud, flaunting curves. All these women go forth and shape their art to who they are – they tell their stories and make the rest of us feel a little less alone.
What kind of images of women do you wish to portray as an artist through your chosen medium?
My artwork is about mass, texture, color and movement, of a moment in time persevered in a piece of clay. I portray women as thoughtful, powerful, sentient beings who are constantly discovering new depths of their being. Each piece provides a narrative, but is also subjective, letting each viewer come to their own conclusions by what part of their own story they bring to a piece.
Who are the women in your life that inspire you today?
My daughters, young women forging their own way as they invent their own life narratives.
The 2017 International Women’s Day theme is “Be Bold for Change” – what does this mean to you?
Be Bold For Change – means to me, embrace and welcome new experiences!
Change is necessary for growth! It brings new people, new new relationships, new opportunities and new ideas.
Being bold, is being without fear – so I pledge to fearlessly embrace any change that comes my way in this coming year!
A life in the arts means to embrace the unknown by challenging the known so as to wring out every last drop of essence of a life well lived. This I pledge — As long as there is red wine and chocolate to smooth the way!
What message do you want young girls to hear as they approach womanhood
Your birthright is to be loved, to be respected, to be cherished and to be heard. Your responsibility is to give back the same.