Parkside showcase will explore life, death and after death

‘I believe that life and death are a process’

The latest exhibition, We Die, is set for its opening reception on Oct. 11 at Parkside Art Gallery in 100 Mile House.

The showcase will feature work from local artists, Anita Edwards, Barb Brown and Claudia Ring. The artists explore the relationship between life and death and each uses their own mix of mediums to create one exhibit.

“Death and life are inextricably linked,” said Edwards, one of three artists whose artwork will be on display.

Edwards’ work focuses on the linkage between life and death. She has juxtaposed skulls along with flowers to illustrate the overlap between life and death.

“I believe that life and death are a process,” said Edwards. “(It’s) part of a cycle leading ultimately to enlightenment. How we lived determines the speed with which we progress towards Nirvana.”

Edwards does not fear death, but rather sees it as something to embrace – the next step in her evolutionary journey.

“I like the dichotomy of death and life coming together and the beauty of the flower with the quintessential image of death.”

Edwards said she hopes the exhibit makes the public think.

The idea for the exhibit was sparked from two books – Lincoln in the Bardo and The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. When a person dies, their existence after death is referred to as Bardo.

Ring was inspired to explore the Bardo.

“Like everybody my age, I have witnessed the death of my grandparents, parents, siblings and lately my son,” said Ring. “As I am 75 years old now, it is high time to deal with these forces and felting them seemed like the right approach to bring.”

Ring has focused on this subject matter for some time. She learned to felt and use textiles at the Kootenay School of the Arts. Her portion of the exhibit focuses strictly on the material installations.

“Bardo is the state of existence after death when one’s consciousness experiences a variety of phenomena, which I see as manifestations of unresolved issues or three poisons – attachment, anger and ignorance.”

After observing deaths among family members and friends, Brown said she realized that she and many others don’t have a vocabulary when talking about the process of dying or death.

Over the course of a year, Brown drew portraits of models or friends as if they were dead.

“I didn’t know how to talk about death so for me it was a journey of looking for a language to talk about dying and to be comfortable about it.”

Together the three artists have merged together to create an exhibit focused on a topic that some may find uncomfortable. The exhibit offers a variety of installations throughout the upper level of the gallery. The opening reception will be from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Oct, 11. The exhibit will be in the gallery until Nov.9.

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