Events

“From My Heart” now on exhibit at the Gibson Gallery

 

By Jonathan Martin

The opening reception for a local artist’s exhibit has drawn an estimated 80 people to the Gibson Gallery.

The show, titled “From My Heart,” opened Sunday and will run through April 16. It features the work of Windsorite Cindy Shafer.

Shafer says her art focuses on her “impressions of nature and its inspirational value.” She feels that her style lies somewhere between expressionism and impressionism.

“From My Heart” is dominated by highly-stylized landscapes done in acrylic. Loud, striking colours and obvious, textured brushstrokes pervade the exhibit, channeling the energy, movement and gaiety of its springtime subject matter.

“I don’t usually tell people what my paintings are about (emotionally),” Shafer said. “But their feedback is usually that they feel what I did while I was painting it.”

Shafer said she sees painting as a sort of escapism. She uses her brushes to build a univese in which she can simply sit and breathe. Sometimes it’s a reflection of someplace real, or a peaceful moment immortalized and stretched out to infinity over the canvas.

Cindy Shafer (right) poses for a photo alongside her daughter, Amanda Dufault (centre) and Shafer's husband, Roger, beside one of her paintings at the Gibson Gallery in Amherstburg last Sunday.  Shafer said her family has been "extremely supportive" of her artistic pursuits.

Cindy Shafer (right) poses for a photo alongside her daughter, Amanda Dufault (centre) and Shafer’s husband, Roger, beside one of her paintings at the Gibson Gallery in Amherstburg last Sunday. Shafer said her family has been “extremely supportive” of her artistic pursuits. (Photo by Jonathan Martin)

Many times, though, Shafer said, her landscapes come from a world that would otherwise exist only in her mind.

“It’s like playing Barbies,” she explained, referring to the Mattel doll brand. “I am the Barbie and I’m making myself a world and become a part of that world.”

A world in which Roger, Shafer’s husband, has taken up residence.

“(Her artwork is) on every wall of my house,” he said, laughing. “It’s like I’m living inside of her (mind).”

And he doesn’t expect it to change any time soon. Roger said he thinks the Gibson Gallery exhibit is just the beginning for his wife. He thinks gallery patrons will “see the uniqueness” in Cindy’s work and will tell others about what she has created. That will lead to more paintings and, ultimately, more Cindy.

“This really is her,” he said, motioning to the paintings hanging on the gallery walls. “When I look at them, I see her. People connect with that (artistic honesty).”

According to Gibson Gallery office administrator Bonnie Deslippe, those connections are already being made. She said several of Shafer’s pieces sold within the first hour of “From My Heart’s” opening reception. She thinks art-lovers are likely excited by the work of a creator who was previously unknown to them. Though “From My Heart” is not Shafer’s first exhibition, it is the largest in which she is the only artist featured.

Based on the reception”From My Heart” has received, Shafer said she doesn’t think it will be the last.

The exhibit runs through April 16.

The Gibson Gallery is located at 140 Richmond St. and their website is www.gibsonartgallery.com.

Their Facebook site can be found at www.facebook.com/GibsonGallery.

To find them on Twitter, visit www.twitter.com/ARTamherstburg.

 

 

Mudpuppy Gallery hosting “In the Eye of the Beholder” exhibit

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

The Mudpuppy Gallery is hosting its latest exhibit, which features work from a variety of different age groups and mediums.

“In the Eye of the Beholder” opened March 16 and runs through April 9. Mudpuppy Gallery owner Melissa Piva said it is a community show.

“It was open for all ages and all stages to submit to,” she said. “They could enter anything they wanted.”

Submissions came from both new and returning artists; some coming as far as Windsor and Kingsville. The “In the Eye of the Beholder” theme reflects that while one piece of art may not appeal to someone, another piece might. The exhibit takes up an entire wall at the gallery.

“There is art for everybody,” said Piva.

“In the Eye of the Beholder” is currently on exhibit at the Mudpuppy Gallery. The latest exhibit runs through April 9 at the Dalhousie St. gallery. The Mudpuppy Gallery is open Thursday-Sunday. (Photo by Danica Skakavac)

“In the Eye of the Beholder” is currently on exhibit at the Mudpuppy Gallery. The latest exhibit runs through April 9 at the Dalhousie St. gallery. The Mudpuppy Gallery is open Thursday-Sunday. (Photo by Danica Skakavac)

Everything including acrylics, water colours, mixed media, alcohol ink, black ink, landscapes, portraits and sculptures is represented as part of the exhibit.

The next exhibit runs April 13-May 7 and will be “The Madison Young Collection.” The 14-year-old Amherstburg girl was featured last year as an emerging artist and will get her own feature show this year.

Piva said a recent pancake and sundae “Fun Day” at the Beacon Ale House was a success with the next “Sip & Paint” event at the Beacon Ale House being March 29. The “Sip & Paint” event is for beginners and costs $35 with supplies and the first drink of the evening provided. It runs from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and to register, call 519-560-0470 or message them on their Facebook page.

The Mudpuppy Gallery’s contest where people can bring in a receipt from any downtown business and enter it for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to the downtown business they choose runs until April 2. Piva said they have been getting a good response to the promotion. For more information, call the gallery or visit their Facebook page.

The Mudpuppy Gallery is located at 264 Dalhousie St. in Amherstburg and is open Thursday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 12-6 p.m. Their website can be found at http://www.mudpuppygallery.webs.com/.

Watoto Children’s Choir returning to Amherstburg April 2

 

Special to the RTT

Watoto Children’s Choirs have travelled extensively since 1994, sharing a message of hope for Africa’s orphans and widows.

In January 2017, Watoto launches a whole new Watoto Children’s Choir production, “Signs & Wonders,” that celebrates the joy of salvation.

The choir will be performing in venues across Canada from January to July 2017. This dynamic production boasts a choir comprised of orphans and other vulnerable children.

It will present new worship music from Watoto Church in Uganda and invite audiences to experience an encounter with God.

Signs & Wonders will be presented in Amherstburg April 2 at Amherstburg Community Church, located at 125 Alma St., at 7 p.m.

The Watoto Children's Choir will be performing at Amherstburg Community Church April 2.

The Watoto Children’s Choir will be performing at Amherstburg Community Church April 2.

“This production is going to challenge preconceived ideas about miracles. It demonstrates that each of our daily lives are signs and wonders of God’s work in us. This is evidenced by the miraculous transformation that Jesus works in people who were once lost, but are now found. We see this through the innocence of the child telling of their transformation from their dark past to the light that God has shown upon them,” says James Skinner, creative director of Watoto Choirs.

Through the power of their testimonies, the children will share stories of how their lives have been changed, and how they have been called into a life of purpose to transform their communities.

“I am excited to be a part of Signs & Wonders. I know that I am a wonder because I am chosen by God as His child,” exclaims eight-year-old Esther Kahangi.

Kahangi is one of the children who will be travelling with the choir touring Canada in January 2017. After being born at a local hospital on the outskirts of Kampala over seven years ago, her mother abandoned her. Esther was rescued by Baby Watoto and arrived as a premature baby, spending her first weeks in an incubator until she was well enough to move to a crib. Now she is an energetic little girl, with the most memorable smile and dance moves.

There are no tickets being sold but there will be a free will offering taken. Seats are first come, first served.

For more information, contact Amherstburg Community Church at 519-736-5644 or visit www.acchurch.ca.

Amherstburg boy survives life-threatening illness, family plans fundraiser

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

With Gabriel Dufault-Truant on the way back from a life-threatening illness, his family wants to give back to an organization they used during his time in hospital.

As Dufault-Truant spent 74 days in the London Health Sciences Centre battling a sinus infection that went to his brain, the Amherstburg family spent time at the Ronald McDonald House. The family now wants to give back and is holding a fundraiser April 1 at Dominion Golf Course.

“It was around Canadian Thanksgiving when Gabe had cold-like symptoms,” recalled mom Krista Truant. “He was off school for a couple of days.”

A fundraiser is planned for April 1 to give back to Ronald McDonald House after the Truant family spent 74 days there after son Gabriel got sick. From left: Helena, Gabriel, Jaxson, Krista and Rick Truant.

A fundraiser is planned for April 1 to give back to Ronald McDonald House after the Truant family spent 74 days there after son Gabriel got sick. From left: Helena, Gabriel, Jaxson, Krista and Rick Truant.

After taking cold medication, he felt better and returned to class at Anderdon Public School, where he is in Grade 8. However, Krista said she received a call from the school not long after he returned about Gabriel not feeling well. Noticing he was lethargic and acting strangely by doing such things as turning his iPod on and off repeatedly and fumbling with his seat belt, she called an ambulance for him. After the lights and sirens were activated on the way to Windsor Regional Hospital’s Metropolitan Campus, she learned Gabriel had a seizure in the ambulance.

Gabriel spent five days in the hospital and a few days after being discharged, the paramedics were called again and he ended up having another seizure in the emergency room. He spent two days in the intensive care unit (ICU) and things didn’t improve.

“They didn’t have any answers,” said dad Rick.

Gabriel was sent to London via helicopter just in time, Rick added, as if they had waited six more hours, Gabriel would likely have died.

Doctors put three burr holes into the left side of Gabriel’s skull to relieve the pressure but that didn’t work. Half of his skull was then removed with the other half following a day later when that didn’t work. Gabriel then spent two weeks in a drug-induced coma.

“They mentioned to us he may not be the same child you brought in,” said Krista.

When Gabriel did pull out of his coma, Rick said he had a bit of movement on his right side, none on his left and couldn’t speak. At one point, a total of 64 IV lines were connected to Gabriel.

Other issues that had to be dealt with included Gabriel’s allergy to anesthesia and when his blood refused to clot. While the bone flaps from his skull were off, he had to wear a helmet whenever he left his bed with a friend of the family painting a baseball helmet for the young ball player.

The bone flaps were reattached during a Dec. 19 surgery with the surgery lasting 12 hours instead of the usual four. Rick explained the pieces of the skull no longer fit right so parts had to be shaved down. Skin from a human cadaver also was placed in Gabriel’s skull to act as further protection for his brain.

Even the doctors were praying for Gabriel, Krista added, with the 13-year-old becoming a “miracle child.” He was on the prayer list at St. Joseph Church and the family even brought in healers to help him improve.

Gabriel Dufault-Truant shows the scars on his skull after major surgery in London. He had to have his bone flaps removed to relieve pressure on his brain.

Gabriel Dufault-Truant shows the scars on his skull after major surgery in London. He had to have his bone flaps removed to relieve pressure on his brain. (Special to the RTT)

“We attribute (his recovery) not only to good health care, but the power of prayer,” said Krista.

His speech and movement improved thanks to physiotherapy and he was able to bypass further rehabilitation that was supposed to be in Toronto and return home Jan. 6, which is also his younger brother Jaxson’s birthday. The Truant family said Gabriel’s class at school was wonderful and they sent him gifts, cards and positive messages throughout his ordeal.

“The whole community was awesome,” said Rick.

Currently, Gabriel is being home schooled as he is still recovering from the surgery and lights and sounds bother him. He also gets tired more easily, Krista said. However, he had a video game party at his home recently and does visit the school once a week.

“He’s looking forward to touring with Ornge to meet his flight crew and tour the helicopter,” said Krista.

Asked how he felt, Gabriel simply said “fine” and that he feels like himself again. He said he is looking forward to going back to school.

Gabriel noted that his friend Al runs a T-shirt business and created a special Superman-type logo only with a “G” inside of it. A cape was received from the Happy Soul Project and the family also created the #TeamGabe hashtag.

The fundraiser April 1 sees doors open at 4 p.m. with dinner at 5:30 p.m. Proceeds go to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southwestern Ontario. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for children under 12 and will be available at the door. It is all-you-can-eat pasta, salad and rolls with raffles and a 50/50 draw also part of the evening.

“They were so good to us,” Krista said of the Ronald McDonald House. “It was a refuge for us. Everyone was amazing. We always knew it was a great charity, but never until this situation how good it is.”

For further information, e-mail teamgabeinfo@gmail.com or call 519-736-3149.