Yared Nigussu, an Ethiopian-born portrait artist, creates powerful and insightful large-scale paintings of people's faces: faces he sees on the street, in magazines or on television.
The inspiration behind these "faces" came to the artist when he first arrived in France, and for the first time in his life, had the opportunity to observe a diverse range of people "living together in great tolerance and beauty." Using powerful colours and an urgent style (he paints each portrait in one studio session), Nigussu successfully captures the spirit and essence of each of his subjects.
"Eyes can hide a lot of stories... That's an infinite source of inspiration for me," he said in an artist's statement.
Nigussu moved to Vancouver in September 2009. Since 2001, he has exhibited his work throughout Ethiopia, France and Canada. His portraits are currently on display at Whistler's Hayden Beck Gallery, a space that is dedicated to the promotion of distinctive Canadian and international contemporary art. On Thursday evening (Dec. 23), Nigussu will be on-hand at Hayden Beck, painting live, accompanied by musician Shane Carling on guitar.
Holiday happenings around town
Santa rolls into town this weekend, and while many of the festive activities leading up to the big day have already come and gone, there are still a few activities planned to help get you and yours into the holiday spirit:
From Friday, Dec. 17 to Sunday, Jan. 2 the Whistler Conference Centre is transformed into the Whistler Holiday Experience (family fun zone) from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (except on Christmas Day and New Year's Eve). The experience is free, though you should try and bring a donation for the Whistler food bank, if you can!
On Friday, Dec. 24, the Whistler Children's Chorus is hosting their 27 th annual Christmas Eve service of lessons and carols, with help from community readers and the Whistler Community Band. The performance takes place at the Westin Resort & Spa at 6:30 p.m.
Into the "Deep" on Jan. 15
The next few weeks are shaping up to be busy ones for local action sports photographers: not only is Whistler Arts Council looking for shooters for it's annual Out of Bounds: Tales From the Backcountry competition, but Arc'teryx has just announced that the fifth annual Deep Winter Photo Challenge is on its way.
Six photographers - Ilja Herb, Blake Jorgenson, Andrew Strain, Robin O'Neill, John Scarth, and Tim Zimmerman - have only three days to shoot during Whistler's legendary January storm cycle. Each shooter takes their team of handpicked athletes into the backcountry, and on the fourth day they set their best images to music. Then, on Saturday, Jan. 15, they present their slideshow to an audience of 1,000 people, as well as a panel of esteemed industry judges, at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, all in hopes of being crowned "King of Storms" for 2011 and taking home some of the $6,000 prize purse.
Tickets to the event are $17; get yours by calling 1-800-766-0449 or visiting Whistler Blackcomb Guest Relations. For more information on the competition, or more on the competitors, visit deepwinterphoto.com.