Arts: Year in Review 2015-16

An audience member at the Wolfe Island Music Festival in summer of 2015, rocking out Elliot Brood.
An audience member at the Wolfe Island Music Festival in summer of 2015, rocking out Elliot Brood.
Photo by Krishna Patel

This year The Journal’s arts section focused on showcasing all the incredible art that Kingston and the Queen's community has to offer, whether it was profiling student artists, concert coverage or insightful pieces to start discussion. Below is a collection of this year's arts highlights.

Wolfe Island Music Festival 2015

Mourn the loss of this year's festival by reviewing our coverage of WIMF 2015.

Rembrandt comes to Queen's: Dec. 3, 2015

 On Dec. 1, Principal Daniel Woolf announced that the Agnes Etherington Art Centre has received another Rembrandt painting to add to the Bader Collection.  

The collection already contains two Rembrandt character studies, which had already made them the only art gallery in Canada with more than a single work by the artist.

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn, a 17th-century Dutch painter, is renowned as one of the great European painters. During his lifetime, he produced hundreds of portraits and character studies.

The painting, titled Portrait of a Man with Arms Akimbo (1658), was donated by Drs. Alfred and Isabel Bader.

Alfred Bader graduated from Queen’s, and he and his wife Isabel Bader have since become two of the University’s most generous benefactors.  

Dr. Alfred Bader (Sc ’45, Arts ’46, MSc ’47, LLD ’86) and Dr. Isabel Bader (LLD ’07) have donated approximately 200 paintings to the Agnes, including the three Rembrandts. 

“[Alfred Bader] is so dedicated to bringing the study of art first hand to students,” Jacquelyn Coutré, the curator of the Bader Collection at the Agnes, said.

Harlequin vs. hero's journey: Jan. 22, 2016

The sexism of the literary world lies beneath reviews that brand prolific female writers like Jodi Picoult as writers of “chick lit” while loudly declaring Franzen a modern-day Dickens.

Staging MLK's last day alive: Nov. 6, 2015

The Mountaintop takes the glorified image of Martin Luther King Jr. and puts him on stage as a humanized and relatable man.

The 95-minute, one-act play directed by Rebecca Benson, is set in the small motel room in Memphis, Tennessee, where King was assassinated. 

King, played by the enormously talented Michael Blake, comes home from a rally to get ready for the next day. When he orders room service, he meets the maid Camae, played by Natasha Mumba. 

King and Camae spend the night talking about topics ranging from King’s actions as a civil rights leader to his smelly feet.  

The dialogue between them is inspiring, tragic, funny and touching. It’s nothing short of a masterpiece. 

A new gallery on the block: Dec. 3, 2015

Gallery owner David Dossett wants his new open-air gallery, Martello Alley, to be an experience his father would have loved. 

Described as an “Artful Adventure” on its Facebook page, Martello Alley is Ontario’s only gallery located in an alleyway.

Although the gallery officially opened in July, Dossett, the gallery’s owner, hosted a grand opening on Nov. 28. 

The gallery occupies the alley between Green Door Vitamins and Sally’s Roti Shop on the block of Wellington St. between Princess St. and Queen St. 

Kick & Push kicks off: July 28, 2015

This July and August, the inaugural The Kick & Push Festival comes to downtown Kingston, bringing six theatre companies together to present their crafts.

The festival is a convergence of six independent and professional Kingston theatre companies — Theatre Kingston, Blue Canoe Theatrical Productions, the Cellar Door Project, Single Thread Theatre Company — and Toronto-based companies Fixt Point and Convergence Theatre. 

Each present their own unique shows, ranging from musical productions to plays to storytelling. The festival will feature panel discussions, skill-development workshops for people interested in professional theatre and weekday theatre camps for kids.

Mike Sheppard, the artistic producer and founder of Blue Canoe Productions, said the festival was born out of a collaboration between himself, Brett Christopher of Theatre Kingston and Liam Karry of Single Thread Theatre Company. 

For the love of drag: Feb. 11, 2016

 There aren’t many shows in Kingston where the performer simulates a blowjob on an unsuspecting audience member. 

The art of drag is fun, glamorous and hilarious. Like all good art, it’ll bend your expectations and remove your inhibitions.

Andres Caravantes, ArtSci ’18 — known as Mimi Osa when in drag — started performing in August of 2015. 

“Once I started doing it, I was like really into it. I just love lip-syncing and no one will watch you if you’re not wearing a wig and a pound of makeup,” he said.

For Caravantes, his aptitude for drag began at an early age. 

“I came out really early, so like when I was 12, and my favourite artist is Mariah Carey, so I’ve always been lip-syncing and doing dances around my house.”

Drag allows Caravantes to exhibit a side of himself that he doesn’t often get a chance to embrace. 

“I liked the idea of just like showing the more feminine side of myself that I don’t necessarily get to show in everyday life in an acceptable manner,” he said. 

“So, drag seemed like an easy way to kind of get that outlet of, well, I want to act over-the-top and want to do this and not be persecuted for it the same way I would be if I acted that way as a male.”

Arkells take Homecoming by storm: Oct. 30, 2015

Arkells felt right at home at Queen’s Homecoming.

The AMS held its second annual ReUnion Street Festival on Saturday night, which brought food, music and dancing to students and alumni on Union St.  

This year, the AMS hosted Hamilton rock-band Arkells for an unforgettable performance at the festival. The band performed at a large stage set up in the parking lot next to the Kinesiology and Heath Studies building. 


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