This program is a partnership with the Abbotsford Arts Council, and seeks to support local culture and encourage thoughtful dialogue by facilitating an artist residency at Parks, Recreation and Culture’s Go Play Outside pop-ups, running from July to August.
Go Play Outside was developed to enhance community connectedness while providing opportunities for recreating and experiencing culture in outdoor spaces. Parks, Recreation and Culture activities are provided to not only educate but to also allow access to these services that were primarily available only at the recreation facilities. It is the goal of this project to support self-care activities, personal development, community engagement, environmental stewardship, cultural opportunities, to bring fitness, sport and fun activities out into our parks as well as to support community connection building and creative placemaking. The health and well-being of our community continues to be a priority of PRC along with accessibility of resources.
Artist in Residence
Cara Guri will be our Go Play Outside 2022/23 Artist in Residence. This program, co-sponsored by the Abbotsford Arts Council, seeks to support local culture and encourage thoughtful dialogue by facilitating an artist residency at Parks, Recreation & Culture’s Go Play Outside pop-ups. The Team's goal is to enhance community connectedness while providing opportunities for recreating and experiencing culture outdoors. Guri will be on-site at various Go Play Outside Pop-Ups throughout the summer. Visit Go Play Outside to learn more.
Cara Guri is an emerging visual artist currently based in the Fraser Valley, BC. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emily Carr University with a residency in painting at Columbia University, New York. She is a recipient of numerous awards, scholarships, residencies and has exhibited within Canada and New York. Guri is interested in the link between identity construction and portraiture and the transactional nature of portraiture. Her works contemplate the slippery boundary between the seen and unseen, known and unknown, and the line between literal space and psychological space. Through her paintings, Guri is able explore the dynamics of viewership as she uses the process of creating a work to observe, consider, decode and recode her encounters with herself and outside world, ultimately allowing her to question what it means to be see and to be seen.
During Cara Guri’s residency she will be using painting and mixed media while drawing inspiration from interactions, collaborations and conversations with local residents while focusing on this year’s theme: Social Inclusion. Drawing from these shared interactions, experience and research, Guri will use the material she gathers to inform her final work which will be exhibited at the Abbotsford Arts Council’s Kariton Art Gallery in Spring 2023.
Stop by and visit Cara during her Artist in Residency at the Go Play Outside Pop-ups:
Date Location Time Thursday, June 30 Mill Lake - Ware Street entrance 3pm - 7pm Friday, July 1 Abbotsford Exhibition Park - Canada Day 1pm - 5pm Saturday, July 9 Swennson Park 1pm - 4pm Thursday, July 14 Mill Lake - Ware Street entrance 3pm - 7pm Saturday, July 16 Berry Festival 12pm - 8pm Thursday, July 21 Mill Lake - Ware Street entrance 3pm - 7pm Thursday, July 28 Mill Lake - Ware Street entrance 3pm - 7pm Thursday, August 4 Mill Lake - Ware Street entrance 3pm - 7pm Thursday, August 18 Mill Lake - Ware Street entrance 3pm - 7pm Friday, August 19 MSA Basketball Court 3pm - 7pm Saturday, August 20 Swennson Park 1pm - 4pm
Previous Artist in Residence
Emerging Artist and student, Zaira Ramirez was our successful 2021 Artist in Residence.
Devotion to Nature – Artist Statement
Zaira Ramirez Luis was honored to be selected as the 2021 Go Play Outside Artist in Residence, a partnership between the City of Abbotsford and Abbotsford Arts Council. Through this program, Ramirez Luis’ primary goal was to learn about BC birds and their interactions with residents of Abbotsford. Thanks to those warm conversations, she developed a series of paintings and assemblages titled Devotion to Nature. The exhibition Devotion to Nature explores concerns about the city, nostalgic feelings, and current events that happened before and after the Artist in Residence program.
“In those conversations, I found most people expressed concerns of how new constructions and agriculture exploitation are reducing green space areas and nature”
Devotion to Nature contains a series of paintings depicting concerns exposed by Abbotsfordians. Ramirez Luis, in response to those concerns, created a series of assemblages representing nature’s generosity and what it offers us. The intention of her artwork is to encourage the viewer to protect natural resources, recognize that Abbotsford needs to adopt sustainable agriculture practices, and value and conserve green spaces (gardens) that beautify the city.
Zaira Ramirez Luis (1987) is a Venezuelan multidisciplinary artist. Her first inspiration was her Canary artisan grandfather who worked with an important group of Venezuelan sculptors. Ramirez Luis is formally trained in film photography from the Nelson Garrido Organization, attained her Graphic Arts Diploma from the Cristobal Rojas School of Visual Arts and is in the final year of completing her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the University of the Fraser Valley (UFV). The UFV Visual Arts Collection acquired Ramirez Luis’ work, Letter to Venezuela in 2019; she is the recipient of the City of Abbotsford’s 2021 Artist in Residency and has exhibited throughout Abbotsford and Venezuela.
In her photography work, she explores nostalgic feelings found in her environment, an interest that was cultivated during her teenage years. Through this process, she is able to explore her Canary islander and Venezuelan family traditions with her series of photograms named Familia. While attending UFV, Ramirez Luis delved even more into her dark room print processes, using techniques such as Cyanotype and Van Dyke print. In this process, she developed her diaspora, Mode of Life. This body of work juxtaposed her physical body in relation to the new Canadian landscape as she navigated her relationship between the land and nature, allowing her to narrate her feelings as an immigrant while using fish as a symbol of the diaspora.
Ramirez Luis has called Abbotsford, B.C. home since 2014, and during that time has continued her interest in narrative works and the duality of spaces. Through this lens, she has created compositions of Canadian places. Recently, one of her works, called Chilli-Onto, explores the fragmentation of Canadian spaces between urban and agricultural landscapes.
Ramirez Luis would like to thank Grace Tsurumaru and Alex Duff, for their kindness and mentorship.
The Go Play Outside Artist in Residence Selection Committee was unanimous in selecting Ms. Ramirez Luis as their 2021 artist. Her desire to connect with Abbotsford residents and learn from their lived experiences while exploring her relationship to the City, was a perfect fit for the Go Play Outside program. Ms. Ramirez Luis actively engaged with residents as they were drawn to her warm and inviting presence throughout the summer at the program pop up events. Her interest in the community, her ability to connect with people, and her open willingness to discuss arts and culture with all ages and demographics of attendees was an immeasurable asset to her residency.
Emerging Artist and student, Luke Pardy, was the successful applicant for 2020.
Stranger Days - Artist Statement
The Covid-19 pandemic has been a strange time and in early 2020 it made strangers of all of us. Stranger Days is a portrait series made in response to community connection during the Covid-19 pandemic. Created during the Summer of 2020, while in residence with the City of Abbotsford’s Parks, Recreation, and Culture’s Go Play Outside Program, I set out to capture the reconnection of the citizens of Abbotsford. This project grew out of my own desire to reconnect with people after months of isolation. When I began this project I expected to encounter people weighed down by the pandemic and hesitant for possible interaction with strangers. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised by a community feeling the same desire, as myself, to reconnect with each other. To help create meaningful interactions with the community this project was made with a 4x5 view camera, a format of photography which requires both the subject and photographer to spend time together.
Now in 2021 when our bubbles have had to become smaller once again, these portraits take on new meaning. The portraits have been placed throughout the City of Abbotsford to encourage people to go out and experience art in their city in a safe, socially distanced way. They serve as a reminder of the community waiting for us at the end of these strange times.
Luke Pardy is a photo based artist currently living and working in the Fraser Valley, where he is currently finishing his BFA. His work focuses on how local, social, and personal histories manifest themselves in mundane contemporary existence. He works primarily with large and medium format film combined with digital post-production, allowing for a wide range of display and distribution methods. He has been the recipient of multiple scholarships including one from the University of the Fraser Valley and FotoFilmic. His current projects examine the legacy of masculinity in the Canadian west, living with grief, and community connection in the age of Covid-19.
Luke Pardy’s work will be exhibited for the month of April, 2021, at the Kariton Art Gallery, Matsqui Centennial Auditorium and at various bus shelters throughout Abbotsford.
To find out more about the exhibition, Stranger Days, visit Abbotsford Arts Council’s website.