Does Culinary Arts Count As A Fine Art Hello from Ottawa: The Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography

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Hello from Ottawa: The Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography

My schedule in Ottawa last week was pretty hectic, but there was one place I couldn’t miss: the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography. As someone with no known history, and a huge fan of visual arts and photography, I have wanted to visit this museum for a long time. And my research on the Internet revealed that the Museum has a very special exhibition at the moment: two paintings by Sunil Gupta, a Canadian citizen born in India, and examines the identity, culture and foreign affairs.

Let me start with the Museum itself, a unique place in Ottawa that is historic. The Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography began life way back in the Second World War as the National Film Board’s Still Photography Museum. Its activities include collecting, publishing and organizing traveling exhibitions and educational programs to promote the efforts and development of Canadian artists.

It’s a special place in a special place: The museum is located in the old Grand Trunk Railroad. It is accessed through the upper west entrance of the Fairmont Chateau Laurier Hotel in downtown Ottawa, and an elevator takes you two steps from the street. As an old railway, the unique dimensions of the Museum will not surprise you: it measures 166 meters (545 feet) in length and only 17 meters (56 feet) in width. The building is like a 32-story tower block on its side.

Although the construction of the museum had great technical difficulties: due to the narrowness of the site, squeezed between the Chateau Laurier on one side and the Rideau Canal on the other, the construction vehicles had to return to the site, traveling a kilometer. a road carved out of limestone and shale rock.

But I wasn’t there to explore the unique features of this building. The main reason for my visit was the exhibition of Sunil Gupta, whose 2 collections highlight the event.

Sunil Gupta was born in New Delhi in 1953 and came to Montreal with his parents at the age of 15. For many years he has also lived in New York City and London and recently returned to India. At first he studied mathematics, but later he went into painting and drawing.

Until April 23, 2006, the Museum hosts two groups of artists. Social Security (1988) uses photographs of Sunil Gupta’s family and the words of his mother to tell the story of a family immigrating to Montreal. His family came from a middle-class background in India, and when he moved to Canada he had a hard time adjusting. Sunil’s father was forced to work as a security guard and the family lost both financial and social security. This was difficult because his parents were in their fifties at the time of immigration which made assimilation into Canadian culture very difficult.

This picture shows the fact that his parents had traditional aspirations for both Sunil and his sister, and neither of the two children lived up to the expectations of their Indian parents. Sunil’s sister married an American, which the parents did not agree with. Sunil himself is promiscuous and had several long-term relationships with men, much to the chagrin of his parents. None of the children fulfilled the obligation to marry an Indian woman and form a traditional Indian family. Hence, the move to Canada was very traumatic, especially for Sunil’s father.

Ironically, Sunil’s father died of a heart attack on a Montreal street in 1986. He was not found until days later. One very interesting photo shows Sunil’s father’s belongings, money, tokens, credit cards, which were removed from his body after his death. It took the authorities three days to notify the family, possibly because his father was sent to the morgue’s “incoming” section. No one bothered to check his ID and call his family, even though his father had all the necessary papers. And his security card had been cut right in half.

Sunil Gupta’s second series of Homelands (2001 to 2003) includes large diptychs that combine images from his experiences in the West with images from his native India. His show delves into personal topics, such as Gupta’s homosexuality and HIV status. Gupta was diagnosed with HIV in 1995.

For me the most powerful image of the meeting includes Gupta in front of a mirror, naked, looking at the camera, and the mirror of his mirror reflected next to the image of India. My museum guide pointed out that Sunil had indeed said that he lived on the narrow line between East and West.

It seems that its culture is very complex and Sunil decided to return to India soon to explore its culture. It is important to note that India does not accept homosexuality, does not provide the necessary treatment for AIDS patients and does not acknowledge the existence of the disease. In addition, India has many dangerous viruses that pose a threat to Sunil’s health. Even further, Sunil revealed that he lived in constant fear that his illness would be discovered and that he would be deported from India.

Both of Sunil Gupta’s portraits are personal, revealing himself (literally), his family and the dynamics of an immigrant family in North America. His paintings use color, celestial influences and juxtaposition to express symbols and talk about the constant struggle to find his identity, sexuality and culture at the intersection of Eastern and Western cultures.

For me personally, Sunil Gupta’s autobiography was almost shocking in its openness and openness. He talks about the cultural pressures and expectations facing second-generation immigrants growing up in the liberal world of the West. Coupled with this external environment is their Eastern culture with strict rules and expectations, causing their children to become schizophrenic.

It was surprising to me that Sunil Gupta decided recently to return to a country where, as a person living with HIV, he is not accepted and it speaks to his desire to reconnect with his roots.

The Canadian Museum of Photography is currently hosting another installation: Imprints: Photographs by Michel Campeau, Marlene Creates, Lorraine Gilbert, Sarah Anne Johnson, and Sylvie Readmen featuring 19 recent works that explore nature and its forces as they traverse the human world.

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