By Hannah Morgan, Eastern Edge Gallery
At home on the historic waterfront of St. John’s, Eastern Edge Gallery is resonating with contemporary artistic practice and community fervor. Founded in 1984, Eastern Edge is the only artist run gallery in Newfoundland & Labrador. Exhibiting local, national, and international art we strive to promote diverse practices and connect our province with the greater contemporary arts community. We are at the heart of current visual arts activity and social engagement within the city. Our Island location is a haven for independent artistic activity; drawing artists who want to be challenged to create in an environment where pragmatic, uncompromising dedication to personal vision is celebrated.
Committed to creative research, generation and presentation of contemporary art, we are witnessing what occurs at the intersection of rural and urban practices. As the province’s only artist run gallery, we are a hub of community driven creation; the primary location to discover new emerging art and a place for artistic experimental presentation to engaged audiences. In addition to our exhibitions, we offer a whole host of events from film screenings, karaoke, book launches, talks, performances and more. Run by artists for artists, our space is dynamic and supportive of emerging and established artists speaking to a diversity of perspectives from Indigenous, feminist, and queer voices. This alternative venue provides a safe, welcoming space for creation and inspiration.
Our current Main Gallery show is ‘PEJIPUK’ by Meagan Musseau, an artist from the west coast of Newfoundland. Musseau is of Mi’kmaq, French, and Irish ancestry and connects her work deeply to Ktaqmkuk (Newfoundland) with acts of creation and performance reclaiming her Indigenous knowledge and identity. Activating traditional practices of basketry and beadwork in a contemporary scope of non-traditional materials, her art work speaks to the opposition and resilience against colonial power structures for Indigenous peoples. Bringing bright neon pinks, oranges, and purples through the vinyl weaving and bead embroidered rabbit fur, Musseau’s work excites audiences with its vitality and rigor.
Musseau’s exhibition is part of a larger project called Identify: A Celebration of Indigenous Arts and Culture, funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter Program. It is an Indigenous –led initiative providing spaces for Indigenous voices and ideas to come together through artistic initiatives and dialogue. From April 8th - 22nd we will be hosting a multidisciplinary arts and culture festival in conjunction with the Identify project. The festival will include: exhibitions through the city at Eastern Edge Gallery and Government House, The Rooms and The St. John’s Native Friendship Centre amongst other venues. Indigenous programing includes workshops, theatre, music, dance, panel discussions, culinary classes and the opportunity to engage in necessary dialogue around decolonization. Identify will be a chance to focus on the histories and stories from Indigenous peoples of Newfoundland and Labrador. When serving our community, we hope to reflect their concerns in our programming and nurture critical engagement. Eastern Edge Gallery promotes our community of artists by contextualizing and affirming local art practices within national and international contemporary art dialogue.
One of the most anticipated events in the city is Eastern Edge’s HOLD FAST Contemporary Arts Festival. Inviting artists from across Canada to headline the four-day festival in August, HOLD FAST takes over the downtown core with a launch party at Quidi Vidi Brewery, animated workshops, Fancy Artist Talks, and culminates in an exciting Art Crawl which features local pop-up events hosted in alternative venues. As of 2017 HOLD FAST artists now also have the opportunity to be an artist-in-residence for the month leading up to the festival! Acting as an open studio the gallery welcomes audiences and artists to engage with the visiting artist and their practice, Eastern Edge transforms during the summer months.
Eastern Edge hopes you will join us for our upcoming shows and find a warm welcome, a cozy yet vibrant space, and perhaps even an artist inspired cocktail. Become an Eastern Edge Member to keep up to date on events and opportunities, and also stay connected to the local artistic community in Newfoundland and Labrador! To find more information on our shows, festivals, membership, submission deadlines, and additional events check out our website and like our Facebook page!