Port Coquitlam, BC – The Rick Hansen Man in Motion 25th Anniversary presents an opportunity to showcase theartistic expression and achievements of artists with disabilities at Leigh Square Community Arts Village from visual art to film and performances, May 10 to June 3. The Rick Hansen Man in Motion Anniversary Tour stops in Port Coquitlam on May 17 and May is also Mental Health Awareness. Often there are many myths that surround disability, both physical and mental and this exhibition offers an opportunity to hear these voices and share talent, stories and inspiration. Sometimes the impossible can become possible as many of these community artists will show in their work. Featured artists include Lelainia Lloyd, Kevin Priebe, Marney Smithies, Cascadia Society for Social Working artists Fred Collins, Aiden Fisher-Lang, William Skuse and others and New View Society artists Angela Chapman, Marcia Weekes and Mary Jung. The opening reception will take place on the Rick Hansen Relay Day on May 17 at 4pm with lots of special activities including performances, mini Farmers Market, face painting, bikes, BBQ and much more on the day.
Lelainia Lloyd is a mixed media artist who believes in the beauty of truth, even if parts of it are harder to acknowledge and has documented her struggles as well as the triumphs. Lloyd has been exploring digital photography through a series of online courses, working on self-portraits and post processing. In 2008, she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and permanently lost the use of her hands and began feeling disconnected from her physical self. Through a series of self-portraits, Lloyd discovered she had taken a lot of photos of her hands which became a narrative that held deep meaning for her and began to reconnect with her whole self.
Kevin Priebe is a sculptor but also an inventor of custom rides such as off road chair, sit ski, hand cycle and BMX wheelchair for Paralympic athletes and a new film maker. Despite the number of physical and emotional struggles Priebe has endured over his life, he continues to be active in the community helping others and expanding his skills.
Despite the limitations of studio spaces for those in wheelchairs, Marney Smithies is an accomplished artist with a background in visual arts. Through her paintings Smithies reflect the natural world with vibrant colours and textures. She enjoys photography, acrylic painting and clay but her real passion is with watercolours.
The Cascadia Society is a life sharing community that creates opportunities for people of all abilities to fulfill their cultural, artistic and spiritual potential. Fred Collins, Aiden Fisher-Lang and William Skuse are proud members of Cascadia Society who enjoy drawing, painting, working with clay, gardening, music, theatre and have participated and received medals in the Special Olympics. They were born with Down’s syndrome. When asked what it means to be an artist Collins replied, “I have made art for many years. It’s pretty easy for me, I’m a natural”, Fisher-Lang, “I like art, I love to do art at Cascadia” and Skuse, “I feel happy to make art”. Collins has many “gifts” that are not visible always to the eye upon first meeting, but is spoken through his heart and in this case through his art. From a very early age Fred showed a gift for colour which is evident in his recent artwork in water colour and/or felt tip pen, layers and layers of fine lines and great control and experimentation with colour. A native of North Vancouver, Fisher-Lang started drawing from a young age and creates work every week that feature oceans, castles, mountains and houses in very bright colours and patterns. “My pictures help people to feel more joyful about their life, and the beautiful and crazy colours that we can see everywhere all the time for free,” he says. Fisher-Lang’s favorite sport is golf, for which he won two silver medals in the recent BC Provincial Games. Born in England, Skuse learned to knit and draw amongst other activities. His drawings reflect his love of detail in patterns and geometry. His two favorite sports are bowling and golf. Cascadia also offers classes in weaving and basket weaving and some examples of these types of works will be included.
New View Society is a safe and secure environment fostering Community Wellness along with vocational and clubhouse services that provides individual personal growth of its members, and strengthening quality of life. Mainly self-taught but also a former student of the Vancouver School of Art, Angela Chapman creates realistic drawings - portraits and figures with fluidity of lines while Marcia Weekes creates paintings of landscape and still life with acrylic and watercolours and of places and things that are meaningful and full of beauty. Mary Jung’s canvases capture landscapes that she sees in her community and through travels. For all three art has allowed them to stay disciplined and focused on the task of living life as independently as possible and hopes to inspire others to pursue their own creativity.
The Leigh Square Community Arts Village encourages and facilitates community development through arts, culture and heritage within Port Coquitlam and serves as a cultural meeting place, a 21st century community arts centre.
leighsquare for details. We wish to thank the Friends of Leigh Square Society and participating artists for their support of the exhibition program at Leigh Square.
Arts and Culture Coordinator