Alex Dufresne’s latest exhibit highlights journey of discovering ethnicity, family, and self

·2 min read

This Saturday, October 9, a new art exhibit graces the walls of Callander’s Alex Dufresne Art Gallery. Entitled, SPIT, The Art of Disclosure, this solo exhibit features the work of Callander artist Fran Hanover.

The collection presents “a powerful story from one of our local artists,” said Natasha Wiatr, the gallery’s curator. “You can tell she went on a journey while creating these pieces,” Wiatr added, “and put a lot of herself and her own discoveries into the works.”

Indeed, the works offer a visual narrative of the artist’s “journey through the mysteries and social challenges of ambiguous ethnicity, 1960’s adoption, and discovery,” and do so through the mediums of oil painting, sculpture and mixed media.

Hanover was “adopted during the Sixties Scoop,” the artist explained, noting “records were sealed, ethnicities kept hidden, and medical records were not included” in many cases, making it difficult for an adoptee to find information about their birth family.

Hanover’s attempts to trace her biological family “were met with redacted documents and vague details.”

In 2016, Hanover’s search went to a genetic level “when sample DNA verified her ethnicity, connected her with her biological family, and gave warning to a ticking time bomb.”

She did not elaborate on what bomb was lurking within her DNA, although she mentioned “a medical miracle” helped to inspire her new works.

The collection details the “emotional complexities and creative passions” brought forth by the artist’s process of trying to discover and reconnect with her birth family.

It also explores how “our genetic memory creates a molecular roadmap for our lives established by inherited traits,” Hanover explained, “and may even offer clues to the design of our imminent death.”

The result is a “remarkable” collection, Wiatr said of the exhibit, which closes this November 13.

“We are honoured to be hosting this show that is telling Fran’s powerful story through her art,” Waitr said.

The show opens this Saturday, and the artist is expected to be on-site in the afternoon. The gallery is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and entry is by donation. Gallery staff remind patrons to wear a mask while inside and maintain social distance.

David Briggs, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,

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