Be not afraid

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Manitoba artists face their fears at annual Mennofolk art exhibition

April 5, 2017 | Young Voices | Volume 21 Issue 8
Aaron Epp, Young Voices Editor

“Fear[full]: We shall [not] be consumed” was the theme at this year’s Mennofolk, an annual event that celebrates art and music made by people associated with the Mennonite community in southern Manitoba.

More than 30 artists submitted artwork to the event, held on March 25, 2017, at X-Cues, a café and lounge in Winnipeg’s West End. Local bands Rosebud and Darling Twig performed.

Given the current political climate in North America, fear seemed like an appropriate theme for the show, said Jami Reimer, a member of the event’s planning committee. “In the face of fear, arts are one of the most powerful modes of conversation we have at our disposal,” the 26-year-old said. “Investing in that when we’re feeling afraid brings communities together, and it’s just plain healthy.”

Reimer added that part of what she enjoys about Mennofolk is that it gives people who are not professional artists an avenue to showcase their work. “All kinds of people have hobbies and modes of expression that maybe they keep sequestered outside of their real life,” she said. “This is a place to invite those voices to come together and celebrate it.”

‘To a litany for survival & lisa’ by Laura Tait. In an artist statement, Tait said that this piece is a response to her relationship and experience with the poem, ‘A Litany for Survival’ by feminist and civil rights activist Audre Lorde.

This piece by Stephen Kang takes its name from two quotations from the 2005 film Batman Begins: ‘Took quite a fall, didn’t we, Master Bruce?’ and, ‘And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves back up again.’

An acrylic painting by Jen Kornelsen. In an artist statement, Kornelsen said that she ‘comes from a family of creative people and has always enjoyed adding beauty to whatever blank space she has.’

‘Adult Dipylidium caninum’ by Jillian Reimer. Reimer, a biology student at the University of Manitoba, created this depiction of a tapeworm using ink on paper. ‘The alien beauty of tapeworms . . . challenges us to re-examine our fear of disease and death,’ she said in a statement.

A piece by Haeon (Grace) Kang, who is an immigrant from South Korea.

Sarah Ens contributed a series of images from an Instagram account she runs that is dedicated to photos of Balto, her cat. The account ‘began as a silly idea born from the recognition and admiration of Balto’s obvious star power, but quickly became an experiment in creative discipline, vulnerability and confidence,’ Ens said in a statement.

‘Vague Orange Man’ by Jon Owen; acrylic paint on canvas, 2017. Owen is an American studying art in Winnipeg. ‘A Mennonite by choice instead of culture, I’m inspired by the low peaceable folk’s smoldering action,’ he said in a statement.

‘Crafty Minions’ by Andrew Hiebert. ‘The work is based on the lure and potential dangers in travel, adventure and pushing the boundaries, with an assumption of God’s presence throughout,’ Hiebert said in his artist statement.

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