Season’s Greetings

December 7, 2019

Linocut (A/P) Russian church in Strathcona, Vancouver. J.M. Nicol

Original print (1/1) Available at Dundarave Print Workshop $10 SOLD

At the Wilderness Edge – book review

November 24, 2019

By Janet Nicol

In the Winter 2019 issue of BC History I review J.I. Little’s book, “At the Wilderness Edge: The Rise of the Anti-Development Movement on Canada’s West Coast.”

Little examines five environmental protests in the province’s post war years, proving small groups of committed people can make big changes. His findings challenge assumptions about the people behind the activism and provide blueprints for future actions.

Behind the Magic

November 19, 2019

by Janet Nicol

Working conditions have created a powder keg inside dozens of Vancouver’s animation studios.

In this cover story for Our Times magazine, I interview artists employed on contracts in Vancouver and Toronto animation studios, as well as the organizers working toward building a union as a means to better their conditions.

The full article is available in the Fall 2019 issue of Our Times magazine, available this month at Chapters/Indigo and some independent book stores as well as on-line subscription.  The article is also posted on line at the “Our Times” magazine website.

‘Girl Strikers’ and the 1918 Vancouver Laundries Dispute

November 19, 2019

by Janet Mary Nicol

Abstract

Canadian soldiers were still fighting overseas alongside the British, when more than 300 laundry workers in Vancouver—most of them female—went on strike in September of 1918. During the ensuing four months of the dispute, trade union men protested conscription, the Spanish flu pandemic swept through the city and on November 11, an armistice in Europe was celebrated in the streets. Trade unions had gained leverage by 1916 in Vancouver and across Canada, strike activity proliferated between 1917 and 1920. During the tumultuous final months of the war, the ‘laundry girls’ found an opportunity to take a stand. This narration examines a labour dispute at seven Vancouver steam laundries in 1918 through the lens of four female participants: Helena Gutteridge, union organizer and executive member of the Vancouver Trades and Labour Council; Ellen Goode, a 20 year old striker who gave a oral account of the strike decades later; Josephine Nelson, a 31 year old Irish immigrant and 43 year old Matilda Cruickshank. The intent of this research note is to better understand the lives of working women a century ago. Issues raised as they intersect with class, gender and race will be considered. The strike was a transformative experience for many women involved, their lives changed—‘as the world was changed.’

Full article can be purchased on-line for $5 at the BC Studies website, and journal at $20.   Direct link at –
https://bcstudies.com/issue-single/bc-studies-no-203-autumn-2019/

‘On the Curve’ talk at Victoria art gallery

October 4, 2019

Guest Speaker Janet Nicol: “On the Curve:  The Life and Art of Sybil Andrews”

FRIDAY OCT 11 | 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

Join the Gallery Associates in the Spencer Mansion and enjoy a lively and informational talk with Janet Nicol about the life and art of British-Canadian artist Sybil Andrews. Known for her bold linocut prints, Sybil Andrews was a professional female artist during the late 20th century, a distinctly male-dominated world. She is now recognized as one of Canada’s most prominent artists of the time.

Inspired by the working-class community of Campbell River where she lived, her art is known for its honest depiction of ordinary people at work and play on Canada’s West Coast.

Books available for sale from the Gallery Shop.

Presented in collaboration with the Associates of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and Caitlin Press.

*Please note that there is limited space available.

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Thank you to all the AGGV Associates and members of the public who came out for this book talk event.   The interest and enthusiasm for Sybil Andrews and her art work was very genuine and warm.

BC Artists: On or Under the Radar

August 27, 2019

by Janet Nicol

My recently published book about artist Sybil Andrews joins a growing list of biographies and memoirs of BC artists who have dedicated their life to creativity, experiencing an array of struggles and successes along the way.

Check out  Off the Page, part of  ‘49th Shelf,’ an on-line publishers’ website where I recommend eight other reads, all beautifully illustrated with the artists’ work. Link at –

https://49thshelf.com/Blog/2019/26/BC-Artists-On-or-Under-the-Radar

Also, the following is a write-up about my book in Preview, an art magazine available at no cost in galleries around BC:

ON THE CURVE: THE LIFE AND ART OF SYBIL ANDREWS is historian Janet Nicol’s deeply researched account of an outstanding artist whose career has cycled in and out of critical focus. The book traces Andrews’ progress from her Suffolk childhood and her art education in London through her enthusiastic embrace of the democratic medium of the linoleum block print. Nicol’s focus is on Andrews’ life and impact after World War II in the then-isolated community of Campbell River, and her eventual international recognition.

Softcover, 158 pp., C$28.95. Available at bookstores, caitlin-press.com or amazon.ca.

Link to Preview page at – http://preview-art.com/catalogues/sep-oct-2019-exhibition-catalogues/

Also note:  I am available for presentations and at book clubs.  Many thanks to the Killarney Secondary (Vancouver) book club for hosting a talk this January, 2020.

 

Drawbridge – a book review

July 26, 2019

Drawbridge: Drawing Alongside My Brother’s Schizophrenia
by Joan Boxall Halfmoon Bay: Caitlin Press, 2019

Reviewed by Janet Nicol

A memoir told in ten lyrical essays, Drawbridge: Drawing Alongside My Brother’s Schizophrenia is Joan Boxall’s moving tribute to her brother, Stephen Corcoran. In the early 2000s, Joan became co-trustee of Stephen following the death of their parents. So began her enlightening ten-year journey supporting a brother with a mental illness. Joan intersperses research, observations, and thoughts with her poetry, each essay framed within a theme of art — the powerful tool that provided a path for Joan and Stephen to connect.

The pair spent many Tuesdays mornings figure drawing from live models at Basic Inquiry studio and gallery on Vancouver’s Main Street. Stephen held two exhibitions at Basic Inquiry prior to his death from cancer following a short illness in 2013, aged 64.

The full review is available at The Ormsby Review, an on-line journal.
Link at – https://ormsbyreview.com/2019/07/26/584-brother-artist-at-the-edge/

Steven Corcoran drawing, May 2011

‘On the Curve’ book event – Silk Purse Arts Centre

July 17, 2019

‘On the Curve’ book event at Silk Purse Arts Centre
Sunday, September 29, 2019 at 4:30 to 6pm

As part of the Creative Voices program sponsored by the West Vancouver Community Arts Council, I will be giving a presentation about my book, “On the Curve: The Life and Art of Sybil Andrews” at the Silk Purse Arts Centre on Sunday, September 29 at 4:30 to 6pm.

Following a power point presentation and Q and A, copies of book will be for sale, along with an author signing.

The event is free and will be accepting pay-what-you can donations. Registration is at  –
https://westvanartscouncil.ca/event-3482194

More about “On the Curve” at “All Lit Up” newsletter – link at https://alllitup.ca/Blog/2019/Beautiful-Books-On-the-Curve-The-Life-and-Art-of-Sybil-Andrews

Thank you to all who came out to the book talk at the Silk Purse.  It was a lovely afternoon of art talk in a ‘cottage’ style space with opened French doors leading to the beach,  in the distance, cruise ships heading out to sea.

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Glenbow museum holds Sybil Andrews exhibition

June 27, 2019

Sybil Andrews – Art and Life
October 19, 2019 – January 12, 2020
Glenbow Museum, Calgary Alberta
Curated by Hana Leaper

According to the Glenbow’s website:

“Glenbow’s connection with Sybil Andrews began in the early 1980s, when the museum organized an exhibition of her linocuts. As a result of this interest in her work, Andrews gifted more than 500 of her artworks to Glenbow, as well as the contents of her studio, which included personal papers and objects, making Glenbow the major study centre for Andrews’ life and work.”
Link to full page at https://www.glenbow.org/exhibitions/sybil-andrews-art-and-life/

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Sybil Andrews, self portrait among the many rarely seen art pieces now showing at the Glenbow.  Photo by Janet Nicol (November, 2019)

Dr. Hana Leaper, curator of the exhibition, is employed at Liverpool John Moores University, England and author of “Sybil Andrews Linoctus: A Complete Catalogue.”

Leaper wrote of “On the Curve: The Life and Art of Sybil Andrews” –

“Nicol has produced a compelling narrative of Andrews’ life, from her early years in Bury St Edmunds, to the artistic and musical communities she nurtured in the remote town of Campbell River on the coast of British Columbia. It is impressively researched and sensitively written.”

Copies of “On the Curve” are available at the Glenbow gift shop, independent book stores and select Chapters/Indigo stores.   

Below is a short youtube video produced by the Glenbow, featuring Sybil at her studio talking about her art.

 

 

 

Solidarity Between Generations

June 26, 2019

Elder Union Women Share Their Wisdom

by Janet Nicol

“I hear people say, ‘I hope I die before my pension runs out,’” Suzanne Clancy declares. “It shouldn’t be that resources only last so many years. I’ve been retired since 2006. Not once has my pension been adjusted with the rate of inflation. It puts retirees on the fringe and it can be devastating.”

Clancy, President of the Ontario Federation of Union Retirees (OFUR), is 77 years old with a lifetime of union activism behind her. She is wise, experienced — and generous with her knowledge.

“OFUR has amazing women,” says Janice Gairey, praising Clancy for her leadership and commitment. “They get it, and the organization has been transformed into a collective.” A labour activist and union organizer for over four decades as well as a mother of six and grandmother of 18, Gairey is an amazing woman herself. After retiring as human rights director of the Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) in 2015, she joined the council of OFUR and is also secretary of the Congress of Union Retirees of Canada (CURC).

So begins my interview with two Ontario-based union activists on issues affecting Canada’s seniors in the latest issue of “Our Times” magazine (Summer, 2019).

Also in the same issue, under Labour Notes, I write “Singing Our Stories,” a report about a Mother’s Day concert held earlier this year in Vancouver to celebrate women’s contribution to the Winnipeg General Strike a century ago.  “Women on the Line:  100 Years of Fighting” offered a well-polished evening of songs, skits and stand-up comedy at the Russian Hall in Strathcona.  Holding centre stage for much of the show was the Left Coast Labour Chorus, conducted by Peggy Hua and comprised of 32 members singing pitch-perfect spirited songs in delightful harmonies.

Still on the theme of labour rights, check out Herizons magazine (Summer, 2019).  My article entitled “Time to Trade in Sexism for Fairness on the Job”  looks at the ways the government, unions and tradeswomen are trying to deal with systemic barriers to the ongoing employment of women in trades.  “Women love the work,” according to BC electrician Lisa Langevin, “but they are not staying.  We need to change the culture.  We need to network and mentor.”

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