APAGA President Robin Metcalfe praises upcoming “East of There” Conference
The Atlantic Provinces Art Gallery Association / Association des galeries d’art des provinces de l’Atlantique (APAGA / AGAPA) is pleased and honoured to be partnering with the Sheila Hugh Mackay Foundation on the presentation of The Jack Weldon Humphrey Forum: Issues of Regionalism in Canadian Art, in association with APAGA’s annual conference, East of There / À l’Est de là, in Saint John, New Brunswick, 20-23 June 2013. Our other partners in the weekend’s activities include the regional and national organisations of artist-run centres, the Association of Artist-Run Centres from the Atlantic / L’Association atlantique des centres d’artistes autogérés (AARCA) and the Artist-Run Centres and Collectives Conference / Conférence des collectifs et des centres d’artistes autogérés (ARCA), as well as the Association des groupes en arts visuels francophones (AGAFV).
The Jack Weldon Humphrey Forum and East of There represent a rare confluence of visual arts organisations in the Atlantic region, bringing together an unprecedented constellation of key players in the sector to articulate and examine our experiences of regionality. As Atlantic Canadians, we share common concerns about how art in this region is perceived, represented and included – or not – in Canadian media and national institutions. A vigorous exchange about these issues took place recently within the New Brunswick arts community, in the fall of 2012. The Forum expands that conversation to include representatives from all four provinces, as well as from Québec, Ontario, Manitoba and points west, and from a diversity of visual arts institutions, including artist-run centres, community arts centres, university and municipal galleries, and provincial and national institutions.
Both the name and location of the Forum hold deep meaning for our consideration of our place in the world. As an historic port city, Saint John is part of a strong regional history of direct communication with the world through a network of trade routes. Jack Weldon Humphrey represents a community of artists who, in the 1940s, helped to establish a national conversation about visual art in Canada. We remember that it was the magazine Maritime Art, produced in the 1940s in communities around the Bay of Fundy, that became the original Canadian Art.
The dichotomy between centre and periphery is a false one, particularly in a globalised, digitally connected world. Our history and our position on the northeast coast of North America have been cultural assets in the past; we are determined that they will not be a limiting factors in the future.