Public art has an important role to play in building community, promoting dialogue and enriching our cultural landscape. Continuing with the theme from summer 2021, the Town of Oakville invited a new group of artists to create artworks responding to the theme of “Connextions”. This exhibition showcases temporary public artworks on prominent windows at recreation facilities in each ward to build community spirit and reflect on the idea of reconnecting.
C.M. Duffy’s current work blooms from the buds of daydreams that reveal an observant love of nature and overlooked worlds where the real becomes surreal and illusion delves into allusion.
"Through this whimsical scenery I hope to evoke thoughts about our own symbiotic relationship with art itself. Art can nourish and sustain us all by providing meaning, communication and beauty. It is a vital bedrock and wellspring that will continue to be foundational for our understanding and expression as long as we share this planet with one another and with the birds, bees and flowers – and for as long as there is blank canvas, paper or cave walls!"
C.M. Duffy holds a BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City. He has created art and illustration for a variety of projects for over a decade. His paintings are included in private collections in the United States and Canada and he has accomplished many public works in his home city of Toronto.
Regarding his work, Duffy has stated:
"My visual musings are inspired by Mother Nature’s handiwork, her creative cast of characters, natural settings and the stories that unfold in under-explored wildernesses. The work often playfully explores themes of camouflage, illusion, and survival to impress upon the viewer an acknowledgement of humankind’s fallible perceptions, delusions and beliefs."
In 2021 he worked with the Department of Canadian Heritage to bring a large installation of his work to both Ottawa's Confederation Park and Frankfurt, Germany to celebrate Canada's Guest of Honour status in the Frankfurt Book Fair.Visit the artist's website
Per the artist:
"We all live within and amongst connection but to see it is to grasp it, this most essential and important truth. Community and beauty are synonymous to me and in my work I try and bring this out, to watch objects, colour, faces, actions, environments, ideas and spirit all become one as this is the way I experience the world, and I think the way most people experience the world. I believe it’s important to take the time to notice this, it helps us to live with a little more awareness and a lot more appreciation."
Also known as Koe Design, a passion project turned dream career, Kayla Whitney is a graduate of OCAD University in Drawing and Painting. Her focus is on creating public art, engaging with communities to beautify neighbourhoods, and creating safe, inviting and inspiring places all over the greater Toronto Hamilton area.
The artist offers about her practice:
"I am especially interested in creating community focused art. I love to create work that is for everyone; work that makes everyone feel good, represented, beautiful, at home, safe and welcome."
Public projects include the cities of Toronto, Hamilton and Collingwood as well as work for The Globe and Mail, Holt Renfrew, The YWCA, and many others. Her goal as a publicly engaged artist is to facilitate a safe, supportive and encouraging space for other artists, community members and the general public where they can come fully into their own unique potential.Visit the artist's website
'Bloom' is part of an ongoing series called Chaos & Decay. The artist offers about the work:
"It's about the attempt to discover peace and harmony amidst the randomness in our everyday lives. I aim to find the delicate balance between aggression and tranquility in the same image, while tying together nature and the human form. Our connection with nature is universal and undeniable. The more conscious we are of this, the easier we can focus on improving and maintaining our physical and mental health, which resonates deeply with the need for community and access to recreation.
"This photograph relates to the recreation centre setting because of the nearby 16 Mile Creek, the community gardens, and the existing bird sculpture above the space. I also see participating in community activities on physical and social levels as healthy choices for your mind and body."
Lucas DeClavasio has been photographing for half his life, discovering his inclination for double exposures through the use of broken and plastic cameras. Many of the cameras used, being from second hand antique markets, didn’t work well, but that was the appeal; sometimes there would be extreme light leaks or the film wouldn't wind to the next frame. He enjoyed being surprised by the results.
For a long while, Lucas took a hiatus from photography, and it was the pandemic that got him back into it. He needed a creative outlet. The overarching goal is to embrace the chaos around us, reconnect with our surroundings, and hopefully discover a peaceful rhythm.Visit the artist's website
The artist offers about their work:
"Community requires connection with one another, and nurturing relationships. Through repetition of bright colours and shapes, the diptych on this community centre expresses the positive ongoing relationships of people with one another and its surrounding nature. Connecting the activities found in the community centre through circular motifs, the left image creates a rhythmic tie of the diverse community found in the neighbourhood.
"The right image reflects this rhythm, and alludes the shapes as acorns - the connection between one another becomes a growing seed. While acknowledging the vast nature surrounding the environment of the town, the artwork portrays the communication and collaboration of the community and how it takes all to start growing a tree."
Artist Leah Kwak (she/they) is an illustrator from Oakville who is constantly inspired by the bold mark-making of lines and shapes made by playing with brushes. Using play and scribbles as the starting point, they focus on using digital media to express immediate emotions and using a variety of shapes to celebrate and accentuate the vast experiences of diverse communities.
Recognized by American Illustration, Applied Arts, and World Illustration Awards, Leah strives to create an immersive experience to share with the audience by creating work that one can enjoy exploring.Visit the artist's website
The artist offers about her mural:
"The diversity that we experience living Canada is a beautiful thing. But with this comes a responsibility to acknowledge our own internalized biases in order to treat each other respectfully. Instead of being ashamed of our biases or denying that they exist I think we should recognize their presence simply as part of being human.
"The more we can get to know our biases, the better able we are to interrupt and interrogate them, and not let them unconsciously dictate the way we interact and respond to one another. This piece is intended to make viewers pause and look closely to read what the words say. An invitation to step outside our own point of view and a reminder that we all owe each other a pause."
Catherine Cachia is a multidisciplinary artist who works in many mediums: mural painting, hand lettering, illustration, photography and more. The thread that runs through her work is embracing what’s imperfect, messy and human.
She considers art making to be a spiritual practice that can bring a sense of healing and balance to both artist and viewer. She aims to unburden and uplift people, if only for a moment, when they encounter her work.Link to the artist's website.
This mural is based on the five main colours and six words of Culture Days: connection, celebration, creativity, collaboration, collective care, and inclusivity.
Natalie offers about her work:
“The artwork exemplifies our unique, yet often overlooked, connection to Mother Nature and reminds us that we ought to take care of the land that we call home. The mural aims to inspire passersby to tend to the natural environment as much as we tend to human rights, all while embracing one another from a place of dignity and respect.”
Natalie Very B. is an award-winning Polish-Canadian illustrator and muralist. Having grown up in a country with a strong patriarchal regime and a social system based on inequality, she strives to make public art that promotes feminist values, self-acceptance, and anti-oppressive practices. As an immigrant who for many years did not feel like she belonged anywhere at all, she found solace in painting colourful landscapes inspired by the soothing quality of nature in Canada, her second home.
Natalie painted her first mural at the OCADU building in 2015 and has continued with working large scale ever since. Her experience in painting on a variety of exterior and interior surfaces includes concrete, brick, metal, wood, and glass. She has worked with the City of Toronto, City of Hamilton, City of Innisfil, City of Midland, Arts Etobicoke, East End Arts, Lakeshore Arts, North York Art Council, Museums of Mississauga, and Stonegate Community Health Centre; all in addition to her work with numerous Toronto BIAs and dozens of private clients.Visit the artist's website
Asli offers about her mural design:
“I wanted to create an artwork that reflects a strong relationship to the site and context, while celebrating an inclusive community, connectivity and self expression.”
Asli is a multidisciplinary artist working in painting, installation and photography. She has a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture. Originally from Turkey, Asli lives and works in Toronto.
Commissioned to create public art in Canada and Europe, her work has been featured in a number of galleries throughout Toronto and abroad. Successfully completed projects include digital media for corporations such as The Daniels Corporation, municipalities such as City of Mississauga, City of Waterloo and City of Pickering, as well as many BIA`s throughout the City of Toronto and Mississauga, which usually involves artworks being printed in large-scale formats.Visit the artist's website