When Ross Creek's Executive Director Chris O'Neill was looking for a final show for the Ross Creek Gallery's Intersections series, she spoke to Sara Lee Lewis, a long-term supporter who has an extraordinary collection of masks from around the world, just down the road in Wolfville, NS.
Opening on December 2, 2018, the Lewis Mask Collection is the happy result of that initial conversation over a year ago. The exhibition is a display of international masks collected by Sara Lee and her late husband, Herb Lewis. "Lee and Herb Lewis were passionate collectors who delighted in not only objects of great beauty and craftsmanship, but especially in performance masks from different cultures, often buying them directly from the artists themselves," says O'Neill, who had been fascinated by the masks in the Lewis home for years. "The collection brings together works by artists from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the South Pacific, and also the spirit of the collectors themselves, who assembled seemingly unrelated objects into a beautiful whole that you can't see anywhere else."
The gallery at Ross Creek Centre for the Arts has been recognized recently for the exhibits in the 2018 Intersections gallery series. An important element to the Centre's work that gives rise to much of its school and arts education programming, the gallery has recently been looking at the ways that identities intersect, creating something new, often in the context of what it means to be a Canadian in 2018.
O'Neill believes the Lewis Collection fits the gallery's theme for this year perfectly. The masks are wildly different interpretations based on the purpose of the masks and the artists' cultural and religious backgrounds., The exhibit creates a conversation between the masks through the eyes of the collectors themselves.
The Lewis Mask Collection will be opening at the Ross Creek Centre for the Arts on December 2, 2018, during one of the Centre's Community Arts Days: Masks & Merry-Making. The event will run from 1pm to 4pm and is open to the public. The Community Art Day will include all-ages arts activities, food and performance inspired by the masks' countries of origins, and seasonal sweets. Sara Lee Lewis will be attendance from 1pm to 3 pm.
Also opening on December 2, 2018, is CreekWorks: Works from artist-in-residence Julien Jodoin-Eng. Jodoin-Eng has been a Ross Creek artist for the past two years, painting on canvas and designing and building an eco-cabin on the property, combining his passions for design and environmental responsibility. As the weather made further work on the cabin impossible for the season, he turned his attention to painting. His works reflect these interests, with their stunningly realized figures of animals in a geometric landscape.
To find out more about the exhibits or the Community Arts Day, please visit www.artscentre.ca.
Ross Creek is a non-profit charity that operates year-round arts programs in all disciplines including artist residencies, arts workshops for adults, camps for youth.