AN INTRODUCTORY GUIDE
This website/project aims to provide information in the form of a biographical dictionary of over seventy selected living artists in Canada, of mainly eastern European origin. Spanning the period from the 1930s to the present, its focus encompasses both artists who came to Canada in the last seventy years, and first and second generation artists reconnecting with their eastern European heritage.
Eastern Europe is recognized as a political designation, an invention of the Soviets to describe countries of territorial domination, including: former Czechoslovakia, Estonia, eastern Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, and former Yugoslavia. Although these diverse populations do have roots in Canada, often dating from the nineteenth century, the time period chosen for this website is framed by the period of the Second World War, Soviet control, and its subsequent demise. The focus is primarily on the experiences of émigrés and their descendants from these areas, many of whom came to Canada as refugees: in the 1940s and early 1950s after the Second World War; in the mid-1950s due to the Hungarian rebellion; in the 1970s because of the Czechoslovakian uprising and the release of Russian Jewish refuseniks; and in the 1980s and 1990s as a result of the demise of the Soviet Union and the unrest in Bosnia, Serbia, and Croatia. Post-war immigration into Canada contributed a third of the net increase in population and half of the net increase in the labor force up to 1961. Canada had by the mid-1950s taken unprecedented steps toward facilitating the entry of these refugees, removing almost all the usual restrictions.
This website explores how these transplanted artists of eastern Europe have identified with their original and adopted countries and how descendants have recently been reconnecting with their heritage. Within this selection of artists are several identifiable themes: intersections of exile and creativity; diaspora and collective identity; ethnicity and multiculturalism; landscape and memory; Holocaust and genocide; and ways of remembering and reidentifying with the subject, society and art of eastern Europe.
Supported by a Canadian Heritage, Multiculturalism Canada research grant, this website is viewed as the first step in recognizing the concerns and perspectives of Canadian artists of mainly eastern European background. In disseminating the information through the Internet, this project intends to promote and encourage multicultural understanding amongst art and cultural historians, art educators, artists, students, scholars, and the interested public.
Entries for each artist include basic biographical information, exhibition histories, works in public and corporate collections, selected bibliographic references (excluding newspaper articles), and digitized images (upon the approval of the artist). Use the list of artists included on this website to browse through their files, or view the map of eastern Europe to see the artists listed by their country of origin.
This website is a work in progress, the first stage for studying some commonalties and shared concerns in grouping these artists according to these particular historical and geographical entities. It is important to recognize that this is a representative sampling culled from over 600 artists that also fit this profile.
The artists included on this website were chosen after consideration of the following criteria:
In most cases additional information was received from the artists themselves, after answering our request for biographical and professional histories and a selection of images. As well, responses from museums and galleries concerning artists of eastern European origin helped to confirm the choice of artists.
The information was verified and augmented by searches in the National Gallery of Canada Library catalogue, Artexte's Documentation Centre, and the Media Centre at the Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal, as well as in many other sources for information on art in Canada. Among the journals scanned were: ArtsAtlantic, Artfocus, Artichoke, Blackflash, Border Crossings, C Magazine, Canadian Art, Canadian Quilts, Canadian Ethnic Studies, Espace, Fiberarts, Fuse, Journal of Canadian Art History, Matriart, MIX, Parachute, RACAR, and Vie des arts. In the interest of appropriate coverage where some submissions from artists could not be verified, bibliographic entries with missing page numbers or other minor details were still included.
|The artists included on this
website are connected to the following mainly eastern European countries:
The images contained within this web site are used with generous permission of the individual artists. They are not in the public domain.The images are for the sole use of this website; unauthorized redistribution may violate copyright law. Please note that the copyright remains with the artists.
Click here for info on the TEAM who put this site together