2017 RIA Salons 70 -78

RIA Salon 70: Ranajit Sinha
My journey and the contemporary Indian art scene
Tuesday, January 17 – 2017,



Ranajit Sinha: There is no place like home, 2016, oil and acrylic on canvas, 122 x 305cm

Indian-born artist Ranajit Sinha lived in different places in the world and is settled in Ottawa with his family for some years now.  He revisits his country of birth regularly, most recently last summer, and he shared some of his experiences with us in this Salon. He focused on the changing state of contemporary art in India, as well as on the importance of his travels for his own art practice.

Ranajit wrote: Thirty years ago, there was no market for experimental art in India. This has changed in a fundamental way. Nowadays, art collectors such as Charles Saatchi, Francois Pinault and Christopher Davidge own Indian artwork.

The reason for the boom in art market was the economic liberalization of India at the beginning of the 1990s and an economic upsurge. Unlike China, it was primarily Indians themselves who were buying Indian art, but from outside India. Although Christie’s opened a branch in Mumbai in 1995, it is still only moderately successful since the eye of the hype-storm was actually in New York where the majority of Indian business people lived and who were, arguably, buying Indian artwork out of a mixed sense of patriotism and love of art.

In my work I focus on the individual as a concrete node, an intersection of abstract global and local forces. This interest springs from my own experience as an immigrant. Born in India and living in Canada,  I have a relationship with two geographic regions, two physical spaces that are located on the opposite sides of the globe but overlap each other in the internal space of my body and even deeper, my mind. This duality has played an important role in every aspect of my personal and artistic life.

Ranajit Sinha was born and raised in New Delhi, India, and is currently based in Ottawa.

Ranajit  received his BFA degree from Delhi College of Art, New Delhi and MFA in Print Making from Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan in India. During this time he was awarded with various prestigious awards such as National Academy Award, All India Fine Arts & Crafts society (AIFACS), National Research Grant award etc.

Ranajit has received his second Masters degree in Painting from Central Washington University, with a teaching assistantship grant. He is a recipient of many awards, grants and had solo, group shows in Canada, USA and India.

Ranajit has worked in the advertising world with reputed companies such as Saatchi & Saatchi and Young & Rubicam for a period of time during his stay in United Arab Emirates.


RIA Salon 71: Penelope Kokkinos:
Recollection of a brief apprenticeship with Nancy Spero and Leon Golub
 Wednesday, March 29 – and April 4  2017, 7.30 PM


An artist’s job is to articulate what might otherwise be incoherent. -Nancy Spero

Penelope writes: Throughout the Fall of 1995, while enrolled in the fourth year of BFA apprenticeship program at the University of Ottawa, I had the opportunity to be absorbed into a working team of artists that supported the studio production and promotion of the artwork of Nancy Spero Leon Golub. At that time, Spero and Golub were in their mid to late 70s.

You can find Penelope’s text about her experience as an apprentice with Nancy Spero and Leon Golub HERE



RIA Salon 72, Karen Bailey Fogo Island, April 26 – 2017, At the E.B.A. (Enriched Bread Artists Studios)

The dot is a symbol found on the Fogo fishing stages used to guide fisherman safely over their bridges and to their stage doors at night.

Karen writes: In the autumn of 2016 I was invited to do an artist residency on Fogo Island, Newfoundland. Mine was not one of the famed Fogo Island Arts residencies, but rather a private sponsorship. The invitation came from a supporter of the arts who loves Fogo, admires my work and wanted me to experience this extraordinary island.

During my talk, I recouned the month my husband Iain and I spent living and painting on Fogo, the overwhelming topography of the island and finding my muse amongst the people of Joe Batt’s Arm.

From heraldic painter to war artist, Karen Bailey’s diverse career spans three decades. Her official portrait of the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, 27th Governor General of Canada, was unveiled at Rideau Hall in 2012. Themes of service and community inform her work with past series featuring behind the scenes workers and the under-recognized: servers, church tea ladies, Canadian military medical personnel in Afghanistan and guide dogs for the blind. www.karenbailey.ca


RIA Salon 73: Tiffany April: Berlin
At RIA May 30 2017
A Day at the Circus.jpg

Tiffany April, A Day at the Circus, 2015. oil on canvas, 60″ x 72″

For our 73rd Salon we invited emerging artist Tiffany April to talk about her residency at Takt, Berlin.  She talked about her three-month stay, how she got there and how it inspired new paintings.

Tiffany April is an Ottawa-based artist, born in Montreal, QC. She recently completed her BFA of studio arts at Concordia University (2014). Following five months of travel including a three month art residency at Takt in Berlin, Germany, April returned to Ottawa where she currently works from The Rectory Art House in Lowertown. She hosts P(a)INT&DRAW life model sessions at Saint Brigid’s Centre for the Arts, and in her spare time volunteers at H’art of Ottawa. April was recently accepted to the MFA program at Ottawa U. Her full portfolio can be found on her site:  www.tiffanyapril.com


RIA Salon 74 Lori Victor:

MFA Vermont: Undoing Doing-Transitions in My Art Wednesday, September 6 – 2017RIA Salon 74, Lori Victor - Microsoft Word 25082017 110528 AM.bmp

When Lori Victor decided in 2015 to earn an MFA, her experience became an adventure that involved many trips to the Vermont College of Fine Arts, while lugging her work along.  Lori talked about the ins and outs of doing a “low-residency”  MFA in another city while maintaining a studio in Ottawa and working with local Artist Teachers.  She graduated earlier this year and share the story of her experience and how it affected her work, at this Salon.

Lori Victor is a full-time visual artist in Ottawa, Canada, and has exhibited since 2006. Her practice includes and often integrates installation, painting, photography and video. Lori’s work questions and reflects subjects such as cultural history, identity, and the environment/climate change.  She creates hand-constructed representational or abstracted shapes and forms, and uses accessible materials like found and manipulated objects. Her abstract paintings include both organically and mechanically painted imagery. Often her canvas is used as a material to manipulate through cutting and folding rather than just as a support. Much of her work evolves from system theory – the knowledge that we are all a part of a larger whole – both physically and metaphorically.  She earned a BFA in visual art from the University of Ottawa in 2011, and graduated with an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2017.


RIA Salon 75Kathy Bergquist:Stegner House Residency, Saskatchewan

kathy Bergquist

Tree, 2017, by Ms Morvik’s grade 6/7 art class, facilitated by Ms Morvik and Kathy Bergquist.


Kathy wrote: My illustrated talk ranges from the general to the particular on the subject of the wonderful opportunities the Stegner House residency offers to artists of every sort. One issue I frequently address in my art practice is the dynamics of landscape, which is part of what drew me to southwest Saskatchewan and Stegner House. The experience of being immersed in this landscape became, and continues to be, a catalyst for multiple projects. Don’t imagine the Big Bang; imagine only the aftermath of seemingly endless energized expansion.

Kathy’s bio: I’m a late bloomer. My checkered career includes working on a wild horse and burro ranch in Nevada, muskox farming in Alaska, coordinating an oral history project in Qammani’tuaq, Nunavut, and since moving to Ottawa I have gained experience as a fairy camp coordinator, a green real estate agent, a welder, and now this . . . Sculpture has been my focus since 2011, and though it is a new language for me, this art form gives me the sense that I have found a vital way to understand and communicate with the world.

RIA Salon 76

Petra Halkes:

BAK Summer School: Art in a Time of Interregnum

RIA Salon 76, Petra Halkes, Utrecht - Microsoft Word 25092017 113618 AM.bmp

 This Salon took place on October 4 , Friday October 6 and Monday Nov. 13 – 2017, 

Petra wrote:

Enthused but somewhat overwhelmed I returned home from a week-long Summer School at BAK basis voor actuele kunst (Utrecht) this summer. I think a RIA Salon will be a good place to start sharing some of the ideas and art projects that were discussed at BAK. I would like to integrate some of what I have learnt there in the RIA programming next year. As 2018 is creeping up on us, I squeezed myself into an-already-busy Salon schedule this fall.

As you know, the RIA Artists Project Room is on hiatus.  After more than two years, RIA’s last project, Growing up Human, ended last March with Svetlana Swinimer’s far-out exhibition Space-Scape. I needed some time to develop and articulate a new long-term theme.

Affected as we all are by news of wars and famines, mass displacements, tyranny  and populism, I felt that now, perhaps more than ever, artists need to be critical of their own practice and be aware of its relationship to the world they live in.  Should we not, then, at RIA, concentrate on critically engaged art, interventionism and activism?  What shapes can art take in such a process? These were the questions I was (and still am) trying to find answers to.

In early June, a call for applications for BAK’s Summer School, “Art in a Time of Interregnum,” appeared in my inbox, articulating some of these same questions. Beginning with: “the understanding that ours is a time of interregnum- a time of ongoing transition,” BAK asked: “How to think art under such circumstance, and how to think about the contemporary with and through art in order to build space for envisioning ways of being together otherwise?”

I spent an intense five days in July listening to Maria Hladajova, BAK’s inspiring director, and other invited speakers. I learned a great deal about art groups and projects active all over the world that I knew very little about. Equally inspiring were the group discussions with some thirty like-minded peers from many different countries: students, artists, curators and academics.

So much of what I learned was new to me, and may be new to you too. I will show a few fun-slides from the engaging city of Utrecht, but, fair warning, I expect this Salon will be a little less casual than usual, and require some real concentration and serious discussion. For this reason, I plan to do this Salon twice, with smaller groups. Pick your date!

Petra Halkes is a painter, independent art-writer and curator. She has exhibited in solo and group shows at public venues and at Cube Gallery. Halkes has curated a number of exhibitions in artist-run centres and the Ottawa Art Gallery, and one in The Hague, where she was born. Her PhD thesis was published by UTPress in 2006. She has written reviews and articles for national magazines and exhibition catalogues, many about local artists.

Petra happily thanks the Canada Council for the Arts for the Professional Development Grant for Artists grant she received for attending the BAK Summer School and Documenta 14 (Kassel)logo


RIA Salon 77 Josée Dubeau and Mana Rouholamini

3e imperial, Granby

 November 27- 2017


 Mana Rouholamini: 3e impérial, centre d’essai en art actuel, Granby

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Josée Dubeau: Pavillon 2008 (pine wood)
3e impérial, centre d’essai en art actuel, Granby

Josée and Mana write: We both did a residency in this unique artist run center which has an approach that has been about infiltrating the urban and rural geography with ephemeral projects and relational practices for decades. The center exists without an exhibition space and has developed a special relationship with the city and also with the landlord of the old factory where they have been renting an office and a working studio for their guest artist in the last 30 years or so. We will be talking on behalf of our own experience at the 3e impérial and will be implicitly introducing the philosophy of the art center and their approach to art .

We will be presenting 2 different and complementary perspectives or investigations of the 3e imperial through our practices. https://3e-imperial.org https://3e-imperial.org/artistes/mana-rouholamini 



Josée Dubeau: Residencies in Québec and abroad have been instrumental in developing J. Dubeau’s personal interests. International residencies include the iaab/Christoph Merian Stiftung in Basel (1998), the Künstlerhaus Bethanien Berlin (2004 – 2005), the Studio of Québec in Tokyo (2009) and the International Residency Grant at [SPACE] in London by the Canada Council for the Arts (2011).Since 2000, she has been commissioned for public artworks in Gatineau and Montréal. Her works are included in the collections of the Musée national des Beaux-Arts du Québec, the City of Ottawa, and in private collections throughout Canada, Switzerland, Germany and the UK.


Mana Rouholamini  is a multidisciplinary artist who explores the theme of language and the meaning of words through the prism of different languages. Her artistic practice includes installation, drawing, artist books and digital prints. She has a master’s degree from York University in Toronto and a bachelor’s degree from Azad University in Tehran, Iran. www.manarouholamini.com

RIA Salon 78 Sarah Jaworski, Dundee


Sarah Jaworski, University of Dundee

MSc Forensic Art and Facial Identification

December 12 – 2017

Sarah writes: While studying in Scotland, at the University of Dundee, I undertook the recreation of a highwayman who died in 1795 as my Master’s dissertation. This presentation will be an overview of some of the techniques I learned while studying for my Master’s, from anatomical drawings to artificial age progressions, as well as a walk through the forensic facial reconstruction and post mortem recreation of the highwayman Jerry Abershaw.

Sarah Jaworski is a local artist. She has been studying fine arts since she was 14 and graduated with BFA from Concordia University in 2015. Her work includes printmaking, ceramics and drawing. More recently she has been working on making Pysanky, traditional Ukrainian painted eggs, using her own modern symbols. She also has an MSc in Forensic Art and Facial Identification from the University of Dundee, in Scotland, where she learned to create post mortem facial approximations from skulls, draw composite sketches from witness interviews, as well as other forensic and identification techniques.