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Artist details mother's bout with illness in new exhibition

Artist said creating the art was a good way to come to terms with her emotions surrounding mother's illness.

YORKTON – The current exhibition at the Community pARTners Gallery showcases the works of local talent, Faith Rae.

Rae's exhibition, No one Fights Alone, was completed in honour of her mother's bout with Leukemia, a cancer of the body's blood-forming tissues, including the bone marrow and the lymphatic system, according to internet sources.

Rae, originally from Manitoba, now calls Yorkton home, and said it was the influence of an old friend that gave life to the exhibition which first appeared in Virden, Manitoba.

"The show actually came up because of an old high school friend — she is the manager of Virden Art Gallery," said Rae in an interview with Yorkton This Week, adding, "she said, 'I know you're an artist ... would you be interested in doing an art show in honour of your mom.'"

"Essentially within that month-and-a-half that I was asked to do it I created 15 paintings all with different subject matter," said Rae, noting that she cried a lot during the process; "it was so therapeutic — it was so needed — like I needed to do something instead of sitting around and thinking about it."

Rae said, however, it was a good way for her to come to terms with her emotions.

"It was a really great way for me to express my emotions — deal with everything that was going on — it was the best way to get over a lot of the hurdles that us as a family were going through," said Rae.

After appearing in Virden, the exhibition found its way to Hamiota.

"My mom's cousin — she lives in Hamiota — so one of her relatives got to see it there," said Rae, noting, all of her mother's side of the family got to see the art while it was in Manitoba.

"It was a really great way for them to kind of see something hopeful when she was in the hospital battling cancer," said Rae, "it was a really important moment."

"It's been two years that this has all happened," said Rae, noting that her mother is expected to return to work in September.

"Recently, my mom underwent a stem cell transplant, and I am incredibly happy to report not only its success but that she is slowly starting to feel like herself again," read a sentence from the No one Fights Alone media release.

"When she was diagnosed she was actually a nurse — a first responder — to the pandemic," said Rae, "she was working 12 plus hours per day and she hardly ever got breaks and it was a very stressful time ... I think that was a contribution as to her illness coming along because she was so busy taking care of other people and not herself."

"It was a really scary time for this all to happen but everything worked out in the end."

As for Rae, she plans to continue her artistic endeavours.  Having graduated from Brandon University with a Degree in Fine Arts, Rae said she got a lot from the program. 

"It was really beneficial for my art practice."

"I'm just an emerging artist — I'm working to be full time — I'm also an educational assistant right now ... I'm just picking up a lot of things as I go," said Rae.

Rae said she has a position at St. Michael's School and was offered the opportunity to be part of an after-school art program working with students in grades four through eight.

"I really like the kids — I like that they're very creative and that they're not apologizing for it," said Rae, " ... they don't overthink it they just kind of do it."

When it comes to her pieces in the exhibition, Rae said there is one that stands out as her favourite.

"My favourite would have to be the portrait of my parents with the masks on — it's the painting I spent the most time on — it signifies the first hospital visit or when they finally got to go outside ... my mom always wanted to go outside and be mobile and go out for walks."

Rae said the painting, entitled Two Love Birds, represents the reality of people who experienced illness during the pandemic.

"For them to be outside and the reality of them having to wear masks and there was no choice otherwise — it kind of gives you a time frame to when this painting was made."

No one Fights Alone: Faith Rae, runs from now until Sept. 30 at the Community pARTners Gallery located at the Yorkton Public Library.