There is a new show ongoing through July and August at the Community pARTners Gallery located in the Yorkton Public Library; ‘Common Truths’ by artist Donna Langhorne.
Organized and toured through OSAC’s Arts on the Move program, this exhibition features twenty paintings hung in five groups of four.
“My Common truths series shed no boundaries, many of these subjects have been swept under the rug for a long time,” Langhorne told Yorkton This Week. “This was my way to bring them to light in a way that I could, through my art.
“The audience can expect to see a lot of paintings that touch tough subjects like MMIW, (Missing And Murdered Indigenous Women), addictions, the 60's scoop, human trafficking, residential schools, suicide, losing youth to gangs, cultural genocide, and more. (It’s) not every day you can witness truth on canvas before your own eyes.”
So what is thefavouritepiece for Langhorne who was born in Wadena, but adopted out to LaRonge, where she is still based?
“The one painting that really spoke to me in the beginning and even more than ever now because of the discovery of residential children found in unmarked graves on old residential school grounds, is my painting ‘SILENCED’,” she said. “It shows the priests "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil” gestures on the residential children. The priests' faces are blurred, it signifies how the church and system protected the priests with no penalty for what they've done and how many of the residential school children suffered but were silenced for so long.
“I am a daughter of a residential school survivor and it is still hard for my birth mother to speak about her experience.”
The pieces in the show were inspired by the response Langhorne received for earlier works.
“The strong response to my first series ‘The Seven Visions’ encouraged me to continue examination of these themes,” she said. “The Common truths series is like a part two to my ‘Seven Visions’ series.”
As for specific inspiration, the self-taught artist, who notes she continues to learn, said she only needed to look at the people.
“I look all around me, I see people losing themselves to addiction, losing youth to suicide, people suffering from the 60's school and residential school experiences, losing their language and culture, and so much more,” she said. “My art is my voice, I put it on canvas and then let it be heard.”
It is a ‘voice’ Langhorne learned at an early age.
“My parents always said when I was little, when I was strong enough to hold a pencil, or crayon that’s when it started,” she said. “I've always been drawing, sketching, and cartooning my whole life but then I became interested in learning to paint with acrylics back in 2009. I wanted to put real color into my artwork. Tim Burton inspired me very much by his films since I was a child and still to this day, he is my muse and influences a lot of my artwork.”
In terms of medium Langhorne said she prefers to paint with acrylics, but added, “I also like working with oil paints for my abstracts.
“I prefer acrylics for most of my work because acrylics dry very fast, very easy to use and it's a lot easier to work with than oils.”
This project received funding assistance from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Saskatchewan Arts Board.