Past Exhibitions

The Art of Transformation: June-September 31, 2015 

This summer, our artists translate the brightness and possibility of the season into their works in unique ways. Each of them explore the powerful process of transformation through their use of materials, and create pieces that inspire inner transformation for artist and viewers.

Renata Burns was inspired by the process of zentangle which led her into work with mandalas. Through a committed practice of exploring her drawings she soon realized that not only were the images coming alive through her, but that she herself had been transformed as well by the creative process.

M.J. Kelly‘s works are bright and bold depictions of the natural world. Kelly brings a whimsical element to each of her works and expresses the magic that she sees happening all around her. Each painting seems to capture a unique transformative moment of time, from Summer Solstice to the Dandelion Magic of the season.

As a naturalist, Stephen Olson has a unique eye and understanding of the elements all around him and a unique ability to express the beauty of the details he sees. The unique silver berry, feather, and bone pieces are a transformation of nature into wearable art that celebrates nature. He has also been able to express the complexity of our human connection to the seasons and the constellations in his beautiful drawing. The piece demonstrates the continually transforming yet constant relation we have to the word around us.

Cristal Cherry-Lemire sees the potential is objects that others might quickly discard and turns them into fun and striking wearable art. Taking bottle caps, buttons and ribbons, Christal composes one-of-a-kind and pieces. Her playful titles give context to the unique expression in each piece.

Ecole Sifton’s Grade 4/5 students spent time learning about how numbers and math could be transformed into art. While the two subjects are often separated in our thinking, these students looked deeper and found the connections in diverse ways. Each student created a project that was as unique and different as each of them.

Cynthia Sibley shares her powerful ‘Soul Vessel’ series, inviting viewers to give away challenging emotions into a historic container, offering also a paddle for continued movement on the journey as a way ahead. The last image ‘Vessel of Hope’ offers an opportunity to renew and transform.

Yamuna Flaherty has travelled the world alone since her late teens. Now over a decade later, Yamuna has an incredible collection of photographs that document her transformative journey. For Yamuna, her travels have been a spiritual exploration where she learned about the beauty and diversity of cultures and traditions across the globe. Yamuna has allowed each person and experience to transform her understanding and herself, opening her heart and mind in a profound way that is also palpable to viewers of her photos. 


Letting Go: October 1, 2015 – January 31, 2016

Fall is a time of letting go. The trees release their leaves, plant growth slow and nature prepares for the upcoming winter. As humans we are also affected by the seasons. For our call, we looked for artistic explorations about letting go and releasing what no longer serves. 

Terry Daly

In many of my latest works, I have been focusing on colour and texture to emphasize mood rather than detail. The thick­ness of my typical paint application, with repetitive brush strokes, creates a background with a full range of colours. The many layers of directional paint application help to emphasize the lifting off or flying away of the butterflies, giving the illusion of the butterflies taking flight from the surface of the canvas. While carving into layers of collected paint, it was most unusual for me to find myself putting together these particular works. This inexplicable compulsion to reveal the abstract butterflies in the paint was too strong to stop. I believe it was the optimism that accompanied the birth of my son early this year that led to this series. The butterflies represent shedding the past and looking toward the future, letting go of darker days for the promises inherent in new life.

Diane McLaren

I let go and relax into the fullness of my life and the challenges it presents.

I let go of isolation and reconnect to the natural environment and the universe.

I let go and breathe to stay present and to lean into the groundlessness so that I may find a new path.

ElBagir Osman

Letting go, of some things, to keep others that are more essential… Mother Nature does that, in Fall, trees shed their leaves, in preparation for Winter, to keep the sap in their veins as a basic survival strategy. We follow the same strategy and for the same purpose, to let go of some things in order to keep other things that are more essential for our survival. In watching trees do that we contemplate our own struggle for survival, for existence. As a painter I have always been fascinated by Fall, it has been the most visited subject of my landscapes. Contemplating how the trees foliage change form the abundance and vividness of the summer to a hues of yellow, orange and red… and losing the volume of foliage to bare branches, looking lifeless, but hiding the essence of life deep inside. In my landscapes I follow that metamor­phoses of nature with my eye and brush and invite the viewers to share this experience of survival.

Sharon Willas Rubuliak

The works in this series reflect the qualities I most appreciate in my yoga practice – strength and stillness. Both involve ‘letting go’ of the thoughts that prevent us from living fully. I find stillness initially during centering at the start of my practice when I consciously strive to let go of the errands, conversations, and deadlines that preoccupy my mind. I slow my breath and relax into the mat, ready to focus on how my body is moving and responding to different poses. Throughout my practice I look for moments of stillness where I let go of effort and simply feel the pose. I find strength by letting go of fatigue, skepticism or fear of injury when trying difficult or new poses. Moreover, I notice how strength eases the flow of movement and my ability to hold a pose, where once again I find stillness.

Project 108, Gestures for Creative Community Building is a series of personal gestures (one hundred and eight) for creative community building. Each project is meant to engage others in creative action and thinking. Some gestures may be elaborate while others are seemingly small. There is no time frame and there are no rules. The project is an initiative by Lisa Borin and has been ongoing since 2011.

Between our desire for absolute love and inability to love absolutely lies a great fear. When, despite this paradox, our desires do not die, it is a cause for celebration.” -Lina Chandrand


Exploring Sacred through Art: March 1-May 31, 2015

For the first exhibition at Sacred Arts, artists were invited to submit works that explore the theme ‘sacred.’ Our hope for the exhibition was that we would receive diverse and refreshing approaches to the topic.

What we received in response to our call is a beautiful conversation of works. They explore the sacred within everyday experience, as in the case of Tracey Crown’s thoughtfullyconsidered photo series ‘Sacred in the Ordinary, to Meg Yamamoto’s multicultural look at nature as a place of sanctity, ceremony and inspiration.

We also see Marina DiMaio’s consideration of the diverse perspectives of reality between creator, human, and a hibiscus flower. Jo Kilma takes a whimsical approach with playful colour, brush work and sacred geometry in her series of works that transport viewers to an internal world where life is magical and divine. Similarly, Betty Paz’s bright, abstract paintings offer a meditative approach to spiritual connection as a tactile expression of free flowing creativity.

The Grade 4/5’s at École Sifton contributed bright and playful dream catchers, which they made as a class art project. This project was a follow-up to their class yoga study and session. The dream catchers are to symbolize ‘catching’ negative thoughts and dreams.

Cynthia Sibley shares her powerful ‘Soul Vessel’ series, inviting viewers to give away challenging emotions into a historic container, offering also a paddle for continued movement on the journey as a way ahead. The last image ‘Vessel of Hope’ offers an opportunity to renew.

Finally, Terry Reynoldson‘s “In the Garden” series is presented in the yoga studio, as the final work in the exhibition. Terry’s paintings portray alternate views of a banyan tree, which is a symbol of divinity, being the tree that Buddha achieved enlightenment under while meditating.