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Daphne Odjig
Okanagan Institute
Okanagan Institute
» Thursday 12 September 2013, 5 pm
» Bohemian Café, 524 Bernard Avenue, Kelowna

» $2 at the door. Refreshments are available.
» Space is limited, please reserve your seat HERE

Celebrating the Life and Work of Canadian Creative Icon Daphne Odjig

On Thursday, September 12th at 5 pm the ongoing Okanagan Institute Express series at the Bohemian Café, 524 Bernard Avenue, Kelowna presents Daphne Odjig: A Celebration of Life. Join us as we celebrate the life and work of one of Canada's greatest artists.

"I see my paintings as a celebration of life ... My paintings are perhaps my most honest and legitimate statement." - Daphne Odjig

Okanagan InstituteOkanagan Institute Express
September 11th, 2013 is the 94th birthday of esteemed Canadian painter Daphne Odjig. From October 2009 to January 2010 The National Gallery of Canada presented "The Drawings and Paintings of Daphne Odjig", the institution's first solo exhibition by a First Nations' female artist. The show was a culmination of the strength and determination for this visionary and her courageous journey. Daphne was born in 1919 on the Wikwemikong Reserve, Manitoulin Island. Her heritage is a combination of Odawa, Potawatomi and English roots. Her mother was a war bride who moved to Canada with Daphne in her womb.

"Daphne Odjig holds an important place among the great artists of Canada," said National Gallery Director, Marc Mayer. "She is respected nationally and internationally as a matriarchal figure who has captured her people's voice, history and legends in a unique artistic style."

Daphne's numerous awards include appointment to the Order of Canada in 1987 and election to the Royal Canadian Academy of Art in 1989. In 2007 she was given the Governor's General award for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts, followed by investiture into the Order of British Columbia. She has received Honorary Doctorates of Letters from Laurentian University in Sudbury, the University of Toronto, Okanagan University College in Kelowna and Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops. She claims to have been born with a paintbrush in her hand. Daphne Odjig now resides in Cottonwoods Care Facility where she continues to find solace and friendship through her deep union with creative spirit.

Paul CrawfordOkanagan InstitutePaul Crawford, Director/Curator of the Penticton Art Gallery, will present an overview of Odjig's career and share anecdotes of his conversations with the artist when she resided on the shores of Lake Skaha. Born in Vancouver, Crawford has been active in British Columbia's visual arts community for the past twenty years having earned a degree in art history from the University of Victoria. His curatorial experience and interests are diverse and range from public museums to commercial galleries, encompassing both historic and contemporary art practices. As a collector of art, Paul has amassed a personal art collection of over 2000 artwork documenting the rich and divers art history of British Columbia and western Canada. He is frequently invited to speak to organizations and institutions across the province and has written numerous articles exploring the rich art history of British Columbia.

"It's an honour to be asked to pay tribute to a true Canadian icon and help inspire others to learn more about Daphne Odjig's incredible artistic legacy. In doing so we will all be a little richer by opening our eyes and hearts so that we can see the incredible wisdom in her work and the depth of her vision."

Karen CloseOkanagan InstituteKaren Close is the director of the Okanagan Institute's ArtsCare program and an editor of its Journal of Arts and Aging Sage-ing With Creative Spirit Grace and Gratitude. Karen will relate the serendipitous events that have unfolded since she first met Odjig ten years ago. Close is a passionate advocate for Creative Aging and delights in the synchronicity of events as they have led to her facilitation of this celebration for Daphne and the public presentation of a birthday portrait of Daphne by Karen R. Hersey.

"Sometimes, then, if we are awake, if the artist was really gifted, the work will induce a moment of grace, a communion, a period during which we too know the hidden coherence of our being and feel the fullness of our lives" - Lewis Hyde, The Gift

Such is the communion Odjig inspires. Still strong in spirit, she wheeled across her room at Cottonwoods and discovered that her roommate, Karen R. Hersey, shared her love for nature and for painting. Karen had also spent her life painting and celebrating life as she encountered it. Both women were introduced to creative spirit by a grandparent, and both enjoyed lives as professional artists. This summer at Cottonwoods creative spirit has nurtured a growing friendship as the two chatted. Karen Hersey was born in 1941 in Vancouver. She was devastated when she felt the symptoms of dementia ten years ago and stopped painting. This summer, enlivened by talking about creativity with Daphne, she was encouraged to paint a 94th birthday portrait.

Hear this beautiful story of Creative Aging in the Okanagan and how Daphne Odjig continues to feel the fullness of a life lived with creative spirit. Enjoy a special musical tribute by Opera Kelowna founder Alexandra Babbel and classical guitarist Alan Rinehart.


Daphne Odjig: A Celebration of Life takes place at the Bohemian Cafe, 524 Bernard Avenue, Kelowna. This marks the 256th event the Okanagan Institute has held since the Express series got underway in 2007. Express is presented in association with the Okanagan Media Appliance, Okanagan Regional Library and Okanagan College.

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The Okanagan Institute is a group of creative professionals that have gathered around the goal of providing events, publications and services of interest to enquiring minds in the Okanagan. We partner with individuals, organizations, institutions and businesses to achieve optimal creative and social impact.
Our mission is to ignite cultural transformation, catalyze collaborative action, build networks and foster sustainable creative enterprises. We invite the participation by all members of the creative community.

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