Union Gallery launches collaborative art project

‘Together, we tile’ uses ceramic to bring people together

Image supplied by: Supplied by Union Gallery
The project is the brainchild of Abby Nowakowski.

In participation with Culture Days, a program taking place across Canada from Sept. 24 to Oct. 24, Union Gallery has launched a collaborative art project called Together, we tile.

Those participating in the project will receive a ceramic tile to be decorated based on central themes of dreams, exploration, and re-imagining our tomorrow. 

The Journal spoke with Carina Magazzeni, director at Union Gallery, about how the isolation of various lockdowns over the last year inspired the minds behind Together, we tile.

“People can sign up for one tile, two, three, or four, and pick them up here at Union Gallery, or we can mail them out,” Magazzeni said. 

“Everyone is invited to design their tile in whatever way they’d like. They could do a collage, or even use things from around the house. All of the tiles get brought into Union Gallery at the end of October, and we’re going to grout them all together to create a sculptural item that we hope will live outside on Queen’s campus.”

Together, we tile is the brainchild of Abby Nowakowski, a queer interdisciplinary artist and arts facilitator who started working with Union Gallery last month as the administrative & communications coordinator. Magazzeni explained how Union Gallery’s recent exhibit titled Whale Fall by Nicholas Crombach and Nurielle Stern provided a starting point for the tile art. 

“Abby Nowakowski designed [Together, we tile] from the ground-up,” said Magazzeni. “There was a big part of [Whale Fall] that was ceramics, so Abby was trying to think of something in relation to ceramics, but also just different ways that we can all make together on a [larger] scale.”

One core element of Together, we tile is the opportunity for those participating to create their tile art using whatever techniques are most comfortable for them. 

Along with tile, those participating will also receive an instructional zine from Abby featuring suggestions and ideas to inspire their own work. 

Magazzeni wants to send everyone home for reading week with their tiles. Union Gallery hopes to have at least 100 tiles when everything is said and done—this strong community contribution would go a long way toward affirming their post-COVID mission. 

“This year, all our programming is guided by our ethos of centring everything in care,” she said. “We’re really wanting to bring programs that can connect students [organically].”

“Even for a lot of students who might be in their second year now, this [might] be their first time on campus, and we have a student majority team. A lot of our students are really excited about actually getting to meet people. To have a space where we can come together to think about a better tomorrow is the guiding focus of [Together, we tile].”

More than anything, Magazzeni hopes Together, we tile sparks collaboration.

“We’re putting tools directly in people’s hands and breaking down something that might seem unapproachable at first for some. We’re really centred in making sure we’re providing access and opportunity to students from all departments and disciplines to get creative.”

Union Gallery intends to have all tiles collected for the sculpture on Oct. 23. Those interested in participating can sign up for free on their website.


Visual art

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