Scene & Heard: What's going on behind-the-scenes in Halifax's visual art community | Arts & Culture | Halifax, Nova Scotia | THE COAST
Arjun Lal's star continues to blaze bright with his show Fruits of the Forest at The Khyber.
Arjun Lal's star continues to blaze bright with his show Fruits of the Forest at The Khyber.

Scene & Heard: What's going on behind-the-scenes in Halifax's visual art community

Let’s start with good news: The 2482 Maynard project—a multi-use arts hub that’s home to Wonder’Neath Society, Eyelevel Artist Run Centre and The Blue Building Gallery, at 2482 Maynard Street—has been a runaway success since it opened mid-2020. Now, as its reopening plans unfold and onsite programming for Wonder’Neath resumes in the near future, the space will be its most animated yet.

The Turret Arts Society’s mission to save the old Khyber building at 1588 Barrington Street continues with its recent request for expressions of interest from architects. The deadline for submissions was October 8 and potential approvals are TBA.

NSCAD’s Max TS. Yang took home Nova Scotia’s prize from the BMO 1st Art! Awards, a national celebration of art in all mediums that picks 13 provincial works-of-note alongside a first-place, national piece. Yang’s artwork is called “A Family of Ill”, a found object sculpture of spiked metal chain wound around a broken dining table. He pockets $7,500 for the autobiographical piece, which will be displayed alongside other provincial winners’ works in a free, virtual exhibit by The Art Museum at the University of Toronto from Nov 16-Dec 8.

Tough Guy Mountain, the Toronto artist collective founded of mostly Haligonians, is moving back home for good this November. Known for its work with extended and virtual reality, TGM will be teaming up with Eyelevel Artist Run Centre to launch a Twitch-based project called "Escape From Interim Purgatory" Nov 17.

But TGM isn’t the only one exploring virtual reality-based work: The art form is hotter than ever as local arts organizations delve further into a medium that local name-of-note Séamus Gallagher has long been making headlines for. What’s informing our prediction? The Centre For Art Tapes and Atlantic Filmmakers Co-op announced a joint artist-in-residence call for someone to research VR. A salaried position that feels (IMO) like a research fellowship, it could provide a vital example of a way forward for artists to afford continuing their practices (most residencies do not have a salary—one source told The Coast this is “the first time I’ve seen an opportunity like this in Halifax”). The position runs from Nov 7 to March 2022.

Artist Arjun Lal is the name on industry insider’s lips, both for his must-see Khyber show Fruits of The Forest (on until date Oct 30) and because he recently received funding from the Canada Council of the Arts to develop a work centring around leather fetish wear, exploring themes of queerness and kink. Other local stars on the rise? Excel Garay, curator of 2020’s gutsiest art show: A searing response to last year’s NSCAD controversy around firing then-president Aoife Mac Namara called Breach!: An antonym for Token, shown at The Anna Leonowens Gallery. Garay’s Breach! collaborator Kayza DeGraff-Ford is also a name to remember: Since winning the NSCAD Student Art Award Exhibition in 2020, they’ve shown work at the Mount Saint Vincent University Art Gallery and at Hermes Gallery.

Morgan Mullin

Morgan was the Arts & Entertainment Editor at The Coast, where she wrote about everything from what to see and do around Halifax to profiles of the city’s creative class to larger cultural pieces. She started with The Coast in 2016.
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