SYMPOSIUM speakers

The Third Annual Art of the Peace Arts Symposium brings together four guest speakers representing a variety of visual arts media. With topics ranging from painting and sculpting to filmmaking, photography and marketing, this two-day event, hosted by The Dawson Creek Art Gallery, promises to address everyone’s creative palette.
By Ellen Corea
Laine Daheln - Untitled

Laine Dahlen

For more than 28 years, Laine Dahlen has taught visual art at Northern Lights College. He sees himself as a painter on a lifelong mission to master the skills that allow him to interpret the world creatively. His work reflects traditions of the masters in both their symbolism and imagery. The process through which we deliver such creations is another main focus for him.

Dahlen’s work and teaching look at the role of the artist, who, by definition, is a student of the arts who creates works. He ponders questions like: Can all works, including what is discovered or rendered in the sciences or math be considered art? Where practical application and understanding of the arts are taken care of by the muses, Dahlen sees the chemist as possibly channelling a similar muse to create elaborate crystal trees.

For Dahlen, people address these questions as they, in turn, explore their own creativity. As the painter develops his skills, and the sculptor masters his medium, they, as do all of us, ask: “Am I an artist?””We tend to be uncomfortable with the definition,” he says. “Perhaps the titles painter, sculptor, dancer, poet, give boundaries and are thereby more comfortable to wear.”
Bone Goddess

Sharon Moore Foster

To what the eye can see, the artist adds feeling and thought. He can, if he wishes, relate for us the adventures of his soul in the midst of his life
-Kilmon Nicolaides.

Sharon Moore Foster is one of those artists humbled by the term. Whether drawing or painting the graduate of the University of Alberta’s main goal is acquiring knowledge, connecting all her senses through the manual labour of art.

In an essay entitled Ground Zero, Moore Foster shared her thoughts around her choice of career as visual artist.

“What is ground zero? It is the place where I begin again, much like the Boy Scout campfire songs sung in rounds. Finneghan begin again? Ground zero is the Maginot Line where I hold loosely organized chaos at bay. Ground Zero is where I regroup and recharge and re-illuminate my heart. In this space I draw and sculpt.

After I struggle to show up, past the barbed-wire fences and random foxholes, I engage in the most perilous battle of all, extricating my self from my mind and repositioning her physically in this moment. It is said that the battle of the spiritual warrior is always with the self, building and shaping one’s character through action, trusting the process and remaining unattached to outcomes. In Ground Zero, my arena for self-conquest, awarness, single-mindedness, discrimination and perserverance are called upon. The weapons used for recovery and reconnection with my self are drawing and sculpture.” Moore Foster will explore more of the visual arts and her work at the symposium.

Don Pettit

Don Pettit at workFor over 30 years, photographer Don Pettit has travelled the rich landscape of the Peace River Region of Northeastern BC and Northwestern Alberta exploring and documenting his unique vision of this beautiful Canadian Frontier. His lifestyle and images express his active concern for the natural environment.

Pettit loves photography, with its finely crafted cameras and lenses and the way the film is kept cool until just the right moment. Experimentation is important in his work; making little discoveries, strange accidental images that no amount of skill could ever reproduce. The techniques and technology offer some of its richest rewards. Like other technical crafts, photography provides the satisfaction of creatively applying acquired tools and knowledge, won after years of study and practice. Pettit loves its magic and crisp reliable reality. He appreciates its usefulness, its ability to precisely record, but also to reveal strange, unseen worlds: The infrared and polarized, stopped motion and blurred time, the almost invisible made manifest. Precise focused pulses of light making images. Petit will tell symposium guests about the process of taking an artistic product to the next level, through publishing, marketing and distribution of varied art wares.
Aaron Sorensen

Aaron Sorensen

Aaron James Sorensen is an award-winning feature film director from Dixonville Alberta. His first feature Hank Williams First Nation was the first Canadian film to ever open in competition at the American Film Institute’s AFIfest in Los Angeles. There, it premiered with such films as Hotel Rwanda and Merchant of Venice. The same film has gone on to play several US festivals and recently won the “Best Music in a Feature Film” at the Nashville International Film Festival. The Village Voice in New York City recently cited Sorensen’s film as the Best Undistributed Film of 2004.

Just out of university, he began his working life as a small town school teacher and newspaper reporter in 1989. Sorensen’s varied career include stints as president of the oilfield company CompuTorque Canada Ltd. and elected municipal councillor. As a musical composer and performer, Aaron travelled much of North America with a variety of ensembles. He also worked with the Loose Moose Theatre Company while studying acting at the University of Calgary under visiting director Keith Johnston.

As President of Peace Country Films, Mr. Sorensen is currently overseeing the Canadian theatrical release of Hank Williams First Nation, which opened in Toronto on five screens this September. He is also involved as writer/director and co-producer on a script called Meet Pamela with Paramount pictures.


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