Well-known Manitoba artist Shirley Brown (bottom left) with some of the young aspiring artists working on projects inspired by Brown’s exhibition entitled “Ossuary.” (SUBMITTED)
Bird is the word at the Art Gallery of Southwestern Manitoba.
The public is invited to view a group exhibition of children’s artwork based on their responses to renowned Manitoba artist Shirley Brown’s exhibition "Ossuary," which comes to a close at the AGSM on Saturday.
The display by the young artists — participants in one of the AGSM’s youth programs including the Art Connects School and Community Tours Program, After-School Snack and Art, and teens classes — is in the foyer and kids’ studio at the gallery.
A reception will be held later this afternoon from 4 p.m.-6 p.m.
Check out the handy museum guides written and illustrated by the children, as you walk through Brown’s exhibition "Ossuary."
"Ossuary" concludes a body of work that began in 1996 when Brown discovered a cache of 29 bird skeletons in an abandoned wood stove of her parents’ homestead.
The fragility and power of the birds’ bones inspired her to begin a series of paintings of them as symbolic fragments of a vanished world.
Brown continued to develop this fictional civilization in the following 18 years through paintings, mixed media installations, and now a series of armies and sarcophagi that tell the story of the civilization’s collapse.
The decoration and pattern in the opulent armies suggest the great cultural advancements of this lost avian world. Its vanishing, however, leaves only the delicate skeletons preserved in a wood stove like the ruins of Pompeii conserved by volcanic ash.
The project speaks to loss and the passage of time, both looking to our own history and foreshadowing our future.
Youth of all ages visited "Ossuary" where they had the opportunity to interact directly with original artworks and participate in hands-on activities inspired by the exhibition.
The children became art-thropologists (artists and anthropologists) for a day as they pieced together a lost bird civilization and created 3D artifacts, clay sculptures and drawings.
Mummified creatures in treasure boxes, statues, bird armies and decorative aviary huts await you as you learn about the artwork through the fresh eyes and mind of a child.
You’ll discover a variety of honest, sometimes humorous and sometimes incredibly moving responses to "Ossuary" in this exhibition of work by local youth.
Enjoy a children’s studio activity during the reception, where children can create their own character to add to the bird army and draw on the map.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 20, 2014