An artist with ties to the local area is up for a 2021 Saskatchewan Arts Award.
Hanna Yokozawa Farquharson who had her first solo show last fall at the Godfrey Dean Art Gallery in the city is up for the RBC Emerging Artist Award.
The Saskatchewan Arts Awards celebrates the achievements of individuals, groups and organizations in all arts disciplines. Recipients are given awards in six categories. Award recipients receive a cash prize and a limited edition award by a Saskatchewan artist.
“I was happy and excited to learn of my nomination and then being short-listed for the RBC Emerging Artist Award,” Yokozawa Farquharson, who moved to Saltcoats in 2011, told Yorkton This Week.
Yokozawa Farquharson, who works in textiles for her art, was quick to offer a number of thank-yous in terms of people who have helped take her art to such a level.
“I received a great deal of help from my mentor Don Stein, former Director of the Godfrey Dean Art Gallery, and from Sandee Moore, Curator of Exhibitions and Programming from the Art Gallery of Regina, and Jennifer McRorie, Director and Curator, of the Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery,” she said.
“Many people have encouraged and helped me including family and my friends and neighbors in Saltcoats. The Yorkton Arts Council, particularly Tonia Vermette and all the people associated with the Godfrey Dean such as Jeff Morton and Kelly Litzenberger, and local media including Yorkton This Week do a great job of promoting artists and art events.”
She has also participated in the CARFAC Sask Mentorship Program.
For Yokozawa Farquharson the Godfrey Dean Gallery has been instrumental in developing her art career.
“My career as a textile artist really began with the Godfrey Dean Art Gallery,” she said. “It is my base gallery and will always be that. The people there always supported and welcomed me as a new artist. There was a warm and nurturing feeling that is so important.
“During last year’s exhibition my mentor Don Stein and I planned how to get my name out there within the art world and how to approach galleries and find possibilities for future shows. We took many pictures and videos within the gallery and we used those images and pictures after the show was finished. These were helpful when I was approached by CTV-Yorkton and by Canadian Quilters Magazine. I am very grateful for Don’s deep knowledge and rich experience in the art world. We achieved many things in a short time despite the pandemic.”
Of course the COVID pandemic has impacted how an artist can share their work.
“With the pandemic people have turned more and more to on-line things and I have been able to make use of that,” said Yokozawa Farquharson. “Because I have worked much in white on white images this is sometimes difficult for people to see online or in photos. It would be better for people to be able to see my art properly displayed in galleries and other public places. There is a more intimate connection between artist and viewer. The white on white contrasts become clearly seen and are therefore better understood and appreciated. The viewer looks from many angles and distances and therefore sees what might be easily missed. When looking at a photo or video of the work. In person viewing also helps the viewer see more of the techniques involved.
“My art is never negative but full of happiness within. My art is based on happiness. Happiness is not superficial, it is about serenity and harmony, belonging and knowing purpose and place.
“Happiness is what we all look for in life, isn’t it?”
And her art -- working in cloth, she uses a variety of techniques, whether it’s something abstract or realistic, something more like quilting or something more sculptural -- inches closer to being her career too.
“Someday I would like to be a full time artist,” said Yokozawa Farquharson. “Currently, I work part time at Lakeside Manor Care Home in Saltcoats. I really enjoy working with the residents there. I have my family life and community activities that are part of who I am and what I do.
“As an artist part of my inspiration always comes from day to day living and interactions with people, nature, happenings.”
Yokozawa Farquharson said she has found Saltcoats very supportive since she arrived in 2011 just weeks before the major earthquake and tsunami in Japan, she and her husband moved to Saltcoats, where he had grown up.
“I felt at home right away and met many new friends and, of course, my Canadian family,” she said. “I helped with dinner theatre – costumes, sets and décor. I became involved in the local library, curling, coaching basketball at Saltcoats School, and generally helped where I could.”
As for the nominations such things are usually good for careers, so what does Yokozawa Farquharson hope it does for hers.
“Every show, every article and review of my work, and certainly this nomination helps people become aware of my work as an artist,” she said.
“It is all part of the process or journey as an artist. There is new learning for me in such a nomination and in the comments people, including other artists, make, and art dealers and those who plan exhibitions become interested and seek to display each new artist’s work.”
Yokozawa Farquharson has some shows upcoming to watch for as well;
Wholeness -May 28 - August 15, 2021 at the Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery
Two person exhibition - September 7 - October 23, 2021at the Mann Art Gallery in Prince Albert