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Places in Calgary: Esker Foundation

Nestled in the heart of Inglewood, Calgary, the Esker Foundation stands as a beacon for contemporary art lovers. What sets this gallery apart, besides its free admission, is the way it turns the mundane into the extraordinary. Through the eyes of artists Lucia Hierro, Leonard Suryajaya, and Juan Ortiz-Apuy, visitors are invited to explore the complex relationships we have with everyday objects and consumer culture.

Lucia Hierro: Corotos y Ajuares

Lucia Hierro’s “Corotos y Ajuares” transports visitors into a world where the ordinary becomes significant. The term “corotos” refers to household items. Hierro’s work, through soft sculptures and a site-specific mural, prompts us to reconsider our connection to these everyday objects. 

From disposable takeout containers to a paper menu, each piece is a nod to Hierro’s roots in the Dominican diaspora in Manhattan and the Bronx. Yet, the exhibition reaches beyond personal history, touching on the broader theme of how community and consumer culture intersect, shaping our attachment to seemingly trivial items.

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Leonard Suryajaya: Parting Gift for Quarantine Blues

Leonard Suryajaya’s exhibition, “Parting Gift for Quarantine Blues,” is a vivid exploration of intimacy and belonging. 

Suryajaya’s photographs are a kaleidoscope of colour, pattern, and texture, focusing on the personal and shared significance of everyday objects. The process behind these images is as fascinating as the final product; starting with an elaborate theatre set. Suryajaya curates objects that reflect his subjects famillial dynamics.

Suryajaya curates objects that reflect his subjects’ familial histories or dynamics. The activation of these sets by friends and family in whimsical poses uncovers the depth of their relationships. This exhibition was particularly memorable for its unique and engaging presentation.

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Juan Ortiz-Apuy: Tropicana

Aimed at the younger audience but enlightening for all ages, “Tropicana” by Juan Ortiz-Apuy offers a critical look at consumer society and child-targeted advertising.

Through a vibrant visual and sound environment, the exhibition invites visitors to examine how advertising, especially in the era of social media, shapes our desires and consumption patterns.

From the allure of “unboxing” videos to the sensory appeal of ASMR, Ortiz-Apuy uses humor and creativity to engage with the language of advertising.

This exploration is not only entertaining but also educational, providing insights into the impact of marketing strategies on young minds and their future implications.

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The Esker Foundation’s current exhibitions offer a unique lens through which to view the art of the everyday. Whether it’s Hierro’s commentary on consumer culture, Suryajaya’s intricate portrayals of personal connections, or Ortiz-Apuy’s critique of advertising, each exhibition challenges visitors to see beyond the surface of daily life.

Free to the public, this gallery is a treasure trove of thought-provoking art that captures the essence of contemporary society. A visit to the Esker Foundation is an opportunity to engage with art that mirrors our lives in surprising and meaningful ways.

Also Featured

There are two additional exhibitions:

“Edelweiss” by Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky showcases an immersive experience that reflects on memory and the passage of time. This evolving display starts with a lantern in a dark shed and gradually brightens as more lanterns appear, illuminating the space with a soft, changing light. Each lantern is crafted from mulberry paper, wax, and wire, representing items from Mahovsky’s childhood home on Calgary’s Edelweiss Road. All the main exhibitions will close on April 28th.

And in the gallery’s street-level 9th Ave SE Project Space: Wei Li “Skinbound” is open until  June 9.

For more details on these exhibitions, visit www.eskerfoundation.art.

“Edelweiss” by Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky

Live Talk with the Artist

Join us for a live talk with Leonard Suryajaya at Esker Foundation, discussing his exhibit ‘Parting Gift for Quarantine Blues’ with curator Elizabeth Diggon. Dive into how Suryajaya’s art reflects his journey and relationships, using vibrant images and everyday objects to explore themes of intimacy and identity.

When: Thu, Apr 11, 6-7 PM
Where: Esker Foundation, 4th floor, 1011, 9th Ave SE, Calgary, AB
Details: Suryajaya’s work combines his experiences in Chicago during COVID-19 and his family ties as he navigates US citizenship. Discover how he transforms ordinary items into stories of connection and belonging.

Esker Foundation
4th Floor, 1011 9th Avenue SE
Inglewood, Calgary”

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