16 Daily Graphic / Central Plains Herald-Leader * Saturday, April 30, 2011

Community Life

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From Portage to Quebec without fear

By Ron Thomson Central Plains Herald-Leader P o r t a g e l a P r a i r i e a r t i s t Carmen Hathaway has no fear. An artist can't be afraid of what anyone thinks of their work, or be afraid of trying new things, said Hathaway, who works in numerous mediums, including multimedia mediums. "I have this philosophy of 'what happens if you do this?' " she said. "It applies to my traditional media and it works with the new media, as well." Her fearlessness will take her to Quebec in May as she attends the opening of her solo exhibition Carte Blanche on May 6 at the Musée des Abénakis (the Abenaki Museum) in Odanak, Quebec. Forty of Hathaway's works will be on display at the museum from May 6 to Oct. 21. The work Hathaway sent to the museum includes abstract paintings, realism, digital art, clay, glass and a video. Sponsored by the Musée des Abénakis, the Manitoba Arts Council and Culture, Communications et Condition féminine Québec, Carte Blanche is a 25-year retrospective of Hathaway's work. She described the exhibition as "a pretty powerful, colourful, spectacularly joyful celebration of art through the years." She emphasized how colourful the exhibition will be. "I tend to work with a lively pallet - there's some that are less so - but by and large, I find the majority of the works represent full spectrum." The opportunity to exhibit in Quebec came about last year when museum director Michelle Bélanger read an article on Hathaway in the Abenaki newspaper, Wabanaki Pilaskw. After reading the article and viewing Hathaway's website, Bélanger invited the Portage artist to exhibit. One of Hathaway's first abstracts, Checkmate, which she created in 1986, will be featured at the exhibition. It was when she completed Checkmate that Hathaway developed her no fear attitude. Supplied photo Carmen Hathaway, seen below, created Checkmate, above, in 1986. Upon completion of the piece, she developed a no fear attitude toward her work. "It's not that I started in '86, but that my confidence in my imagination kicked in '86 and I hit the ground running," she said. "That's when I got confident and went 'I don't care what people think, per se, I need to

It's not that I started in '86, but that my confidence in my imagination kicked in '86 and I hit the ground running.

do this.' " Working in so many mediums, including digital work, hasn't changed how Hathaway approaches her work. "It has expanded and excited my imagination," she said.

- Carmen Hathaway, local artist

"You just start to play. You start to engage with the freedom of your imagination. "I've taken everything that I've ever picked up and I always put it toward my own end be it painting or glass or digital. I'm just

It's a great honour to my dad's memory. It's a tremendous sense of completion. Being my father's daughter, he would be inordinately proud. I wish he were alive to see this."

- Carmen Hathaway

waiting for the next wave, which will be what, holograms?" Hathaway started doing digital work when she got her first computer in 1997. "I just took off running," she said. "I didn't take any courses. Like anything else, I'm selftaught." The exhibition in Odanak will be a homecoming of sorts for Hathaway, who has been a member of Odanak First Nation since birth on her father's side. This connection will make the exhibition an emotional experience for the Portage Artist. "It's a great honour to my dad's memory," she said. "It's a tremendous sense of completion. Being my father's daughter he would be inordinately proud. I wish he were alive to see this." It's a busy year for Hathaway. On top of the exhibition in Quebec, she will also have a solo exhibition in town at the Portage and District Arts Centre. The local exhibition, Self Similarity, opens Sept. 7 at the arts centre and run to Oct. 29. The grand opening will be held Sept. 11. The exhibition will feature digital works, canvas prints and video that incorporates elements of all the pieces in the exhibit. "They're all interconnected," Hathaway said. "They're all related." For more information on Hathaway's work, go to www. abenakiartworks.mb.ca. rthomson@cpheraldleader.com

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