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'Gaia Symphony' connects art to our world

Event in Saltcoats will include art, music and yoga

A unique art event, the Gaia Symphony will be coming to Saltcoats. 

The event, to be held Aug. 20-22, will highlight works of local artist Hanna Yokozawa Farquharson. 

“In 2018, Quilts and Art Displays was held at the library in Saltcoats, my friend Michelle Easton, her daughter, my daughter and I all were participated,” explained Yokozawa Farquharson. “I feel like Gaia Symphony is a continuation of that.  

“One difference is that it's a solo show (although in collaboration with noted 20th century Saskatchewan artist Agnes Martin). We couldn't hold art exhibitions or performances at galleries or public places because of COVID-19 so many artists and performers didn’t have any opportunity to showcase their craft. I'm grateful for the chance to show my work here.” 

Naturally the title of the show has significance. 

“This exhibition Gaia Symphony invites the viewer to listen to the symphony played by Gaia, our planet earth,” said Yokozawa Farquharson. “Viewing this presentation of Gaia with our eyes, we are enabled to hear the music of Gaia as if with our ears and ultimately our inner being.   

This is related to one of Japanese called (Kan-Non). Kannon means ‘See the sounds’.  Kannon is a Bodhisattva who sees the sounds, listens to the voice of the universe, and conveys it to the ground.” 

The show has deep ties to the artist’s culture. 

“In Japan, where I was born and raised, there is a culture of respecting nature and deep awe for nature,” related Yokozawa Farquharson. “The ancient Japanese religion of Shinto worships the eight million gods within nature universally.  

“We humans are a part of nature, and all living things have life. Beautiful mountains and rivers, flowers and trees, stones, clouds and even the wind all have spirits. Each of these living things may be singing and laughing with their own sounds at frequencies that we humans can’t hear.  

“In this exhibition I try to express these sounds using only traditional Japanese kimonos and kimono sashes or obis. I believe that this solo show will give everyone who sees it a chance to feel connections.” 

The show will go beyond visual art. 

“When I make my textile art, I often listen to the BGM of crystal singing bowls,” said Yokozawa Farquharson. “It's just that the sound I wanted at this show was Crystal Singing Bowls. They have the best sound that I can seem to relate to my art. I will play crystal singing bowls during yoga sessions and a live performance with Jeffery (Morton).”  

Adding Morton to the show came out of a previous artistic connection. 

“Two solo shows were on display at the same time at the Godfrey Dean Art Gallery in Yorkton last fall, one was mine and the other was Jeffery's solo show,” said Yokozawa Farquharson. “He was the new director/curator at the gallery. At first glance it looked like two completely different shows, but I found a mysterious commonality in the shows.  

“The gallery planned something like a music session and made some videos during the shows. The sound that he was creating was exactly the same as the sound that I wished. It was around that time that I began to pay attention to the ‘sound’ more deeply than ever.  

“In my textile art, there was a part that I couldn't fully express, and I knew that music would make up for that. So, when I decided to perform the Crystal Singing Bowls that I have been listening to, and when I thought about who would be the best to maximize the synergistic effect of the collaboration, Jeffery was the first person I came up with. He is an artist, composer and arts professional. We will have a meditative deep listening performance. “ 

Allyson Beynon will lead the yoga. 

“Allyson will hold yoga sessions a total of four times on Friday and Sunday,” said Yokozawa Farquharson. “The music during the yoga sessions is a live performance of crystal singing bowls. I do not do yoga myself, but I think yoga connects to your own energy fields, reflects yourself, and expresses the inner world with your body. I hoped that there will be some motion in the stillness of visual art, and when I called out to her, Allyson said that she will be happy to participate.  

“As she is an experienced yoga teacher, those who are new to yoga and those who come to see what yoga is like will be able to spend time comfortably.” 

The event is being supported by the Saltcoats Museum Society.  

“They provide the venue, volunteers and coffee/cookies,” said Yokozawa Farquharson. “I know so many performers and artists had to cancel all their shows and touring schedules last one year because of COVID-19 restrictions. They have been struggling. I am so thankful that they provide the venue here in Saltcoats and try to help a local artist and the community activities.” 

Admission will be free, but donations toward the Saltcoats Museum Society are welcomed.   The show opens 2 p.m. – 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.  

There are special events: 

Yoga Sessions –   Friday      3pm & 5:30pm 

                               Sunday     2:30pm & 5pm

A Meditative Deep listening performance –   Saturday 7:30pm

People may bring a yoga mat, cushions or sleeping bags and etc. so they can be relaxed. Chairs are available at the hall too. The meditative deep listening performance is also the same, you may lie down on the floor or relax and listen on the chairs.