Art show with a twist

Sarah Ladik/NNSL photo Evelyn Beck stands back to admire the work done by various anonymous artists in Hay River in the first Anonymous Art show hosted at She Takes the Cake cafe. Beck was the youngest participant in the event.

Sarah Ladik/NNSL photo
Evelyn Beck stands back to admire the work done by various anonymous artists in Hay River in the first Anonymous Art show hosted at She Takes the Cake cafe. Beck was the youngest participant in the event.

The Hay River Artisans’ Society’s first anonymous art show was by all accounts a success last week.

“It’s all about exposing local artists and giving them a venue to showcase their art,” said Angela Farsnworth, vice-president of the society. “It’s an opportunity for some of the ones who are more shy to come out and test the waters without any pressure.”

The concept was simple. People were encouraged to purchase one or two small canvasses and use them however they wanted. Two months later, last Friday night, those canvasses were displayed at She Takes The Cake cafe and sold for $30 each. The buyer didn’t get to know who created the piece until after it was purchased.

“It’s interesting to see people’s stuff, there’s so much hidden talent and they don’t always come out to other things,” said Anne Boudreau, the society’s president. “It’s partly the excitement when you don’t know whose work you’re buying, but also a way so people didn’t feel self-conscious about their work.”

The society had originally set out to sell 44 canvasses, a total they reached 24 hours after they announced the event. About 26 canvasses came back for the show, most of which sold by the end of the evening. The proceeds were split between the artists and the society to help fund the next such exhibit.

Evelyn Beck was the youngest participant and said she had enjoyed creating an entry for the show.

“I got a picture from the internet and then put tea on it (to stain it) and then went over it with paint and stuff,” she told The Hub. Her work was one of the first sold, with several buyers competing to get to claim it first.

Boudreau said it was good to see a range of expression.

“I think the next time, we’ll have a shorter period of time for people to hand in their work,” she said of a possible similar future event. “I think people put it off, forgot it, or lost interest. And maybe next time we were talking about maybe having a guessing game for who did what, with prizes for people who figure it all out. I think it was just good for people to be free to do whatever they wanted and have it shown for the community.”

–Sarah Ladik