Lonely Together - The Guelph Emerging Artist Mentorship Project Exhibition

By Tatiana Poluch

The Guelph Arts Council is pleased to present “Lonely Together,” the Fall 2020 exhibition of the Guelph Emerging Artist Mentorship Program (GEAMP). Like many organizations, we have had to adapt our plans for this exhibition. The artists and cultural managers of GEAMP navigated the world of video calls and virtual interviews in order to design this year’s project. Now, more than ever, we have come to recognize the value of human interaction. Yet through this program, we have been able to fully focus on the challenges and rewards of creating an exhibition during a pandemic.

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“Lonely Together,” the Fall 2020 exhibition on display at Boarding House Gallery until November 28.

As the world continues to search for a solution to a global crisis, we have been given a unique opportunity to reflect and create. This is a period in human history in which we are experiencing common ground, across diverse cultures and communities. As expressed by the participants of the GEAMP program, one of our shared experiences is loneliness. The feeling of being alone may be new to some and familiar to others, but amidst the pandemic, the loneliness is amplified.

“Lonely Together” considers how COVID-19 is shaping our journey through isolation. The pieces in the exhibition offer insight into both the fragility and strength of the human spirit. The GEAMP creative professionals, whose work is on display at Boarding House Gallery until November 28, are learning about themselves and each other. We are growing and adapting to this new world, together.

Although an exhibition in its fullest form is not possible, the members of the GEAMP team have worked hard to craft a project that presents the best of the collective, in the worst of times. “Lonely Together” gathers art by individual artists from different backgrounds and practices. From video installation to soap carvings, most of the works were created in 2020. The pieces encapsulate these artist’s personal experiences through COVID-19. Many of us have found it difficult to stay present in a world that is constantly changing. In our constant drive for human connection, we often lose sight of appreciating moments of peace, even amid the isolation.

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Getting ready. Installation shot of "Lonely Together".

We hope that “Lonely Together” aims to support those who are struggling, as a symbol that we are never truly alone. We take comfort in the fact that others are on a similar journey. “Lonely Together” is a project by a group of disparate artists and cultural managers, brought together in GEAMP, that reflects the idea of a collective, yet isolated experience. We are reminded that creativity is a powerful force. A single idea may be small but, when joined with others, it can unlock infinite possibilities, giving us hope and the courage to carry on.

“Lonely Together” is on view at Boarding House Gallery November 17-28, 2020 and features the work of visual/media artists Paige Bromby, James Cooper, Christine De Vuono, Daytona Hack, Maeve Hind, Maria Ibarra, Nancy MacNabb; musicians Silas Chinsen and Tiffany Ratsizafy; and cultural managers Paige Bromby and Tatiana Poluch. Gallery hours are Tuesday-Sunday 12-5pm throughout the exhibition, and a closing reception will take place online through Zoom Thursday, November 26, 6pm-7pm which will include live music by Silas Chinsen and a Q&A with the artists. The Guelph Emerging Artist Mentorship Program supports emerging artists, musicians, and cultural managers in the critical transition to professional life by pairing them with mentors in their field who provide guidance, advice, and mentorship throughout the program.

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