Artists among us

- December 19, 2007

Yeong Mi Baek started learning Korean brush and ink painting only after she moved to Canada. Here, she shows off the tools she uses, including rice paper, thick brush and ink stick. (Nick Pearce Photo)

There’s a curiosity factor about Dalhousie Art Gallery’s Student, Staff, Faculty and Alumni Exhibition. Who’s the artist among us?

The exhibition, officially the 54th annual Student, Staff, Faculty and Alumni Exhibition, reveals the hidden talents of our colleagues and puts them on display: on the wall and under spotlights.

Like the painter Charmaine Gaudet, otherwise known as the director of communications for Dalhousie Medical School. Or multi-media artist Maria Berenice Lara-Laursen, also a PhD student in English. Or the quilt artist Barbara Hill-Taylor, a student in the MLIS (Master of Library and Information Studies) program.

SEE: Works from the 54th annual Student, Staff, Faculty and Alumni Exhibition. (Photos by Nick Pearce).

You might also be surprised to learn that Professor Ford Doolittle, Canada Research Chair in Comparative Microbial Genomics, has been picking away at a Bachelor of Fine Arts at NSCAD University for years. With this exhibition, he contributes “Three Science Superheroes,” somewhat wacky portraits of Sigmund Freud, Albert Einstein and Charles Darwin, made from photographs of vegetables and other food stuffs.

Yeong Mi Baek is a dental technician with Dalhousie’s Faculty of Dentistry. But at the art gallery, she divulges her other side — an accomplished Korean brush and ink painter.

A newly minted Canadian citizen, Ms. Baek immigrated to Canada from Korea with her two sons seven years ago. As she got the boys settled in Halifax, she found herself with time on her hands and so decided to pursue a hobby. She took classes with Oriental painter Chul Gyn Kim.

“Even her first paintings were quite good,” says Bruce Friis, a friend and fellow dental technician. “I said to her, ‘Are you sure you’ve never done this before?’”

Ms. Baek says painting brings peace to her life; it’s not something she can do if she’s feeling stressed or harried. Her quiet, poetic landscapes reflect that peace — “it’s a feeling like being inside a mountain,” she says.

The 54th SSFA runs until Thursday, Dec. 20 at Dalhousie Art Gallery. The gallery is open Tuesdays to Sundays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.


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