Asian Heritage Month 2022: Art on Display

Visit stunning exhibits at Sackville Public Library and Halifax Central Library

In celebration of Asian Heritage Month at Halifax Public Libraries and beyond, Sackville Public Library and Halifax Central Library are hosting community art displays.

Emily Flinn at Sackville Public Library

May 5-31

Emily Flinn is a multi-disciplinary artist, raised in Halifax/Kjipuktuk, focusing on painting, drawing, and varieties of printmaking. She feels most like herself when her hands are busy, and making. Emily is currently attending NSCAD University in pursuit of a BFA, majoring in Interdisciplinary Arts.

"This triptych of oil paintings explores my feelings about my identity as an adoptee from Vietnam, living in Canada. With homage to Frida Kahlo’s “The Two Fridas”, the two twins reach out to each other, never fully connecting, but holding each other’s hands regardless. Though they have outgrown what ties they had to an unknown history, they hold onto them, and all parts of themselves."

Emily's work will be on display at Sackville Public Library from Thursday, May 5 through Tuesday, May 31, 2022.

Sogetsu Ikebana Exhibition at Halifax Central Library

May 13-15

Miyako Ballesteros was born in Nagano and lived in Saitama, Tokyo, and Hong Kong before moving to Halifax.  She has been practicing ikebana since the early 1990s and now holds the rank of Teacher's Diploma 1st grade (Jonin Somu) in the Sogetsu School of Ikebana. Miyako started teaching ikebana after a successful one-woman exhibition in Halifax in 2008. Their exhibition at the Keshen Goodman Library in 2019 was given recognition and received an award from the Sogetsu Headquarters in Tokyo.  Miyako also frequently collaborates with the Japanese Language & Culture Program at St. Mary's University.

Together with her husband, they run The Ikebana Shop , opens a new windowon Quinpool Road where they sell hard-to-get ikebana supplies as well as other authentic Japanese items like tea, incense, pottery, and anime & kawaii toys.

About Ikebana

Ikebana is the art of Japanese flower arrangement.  Although there are many different schools of ikebana in Japan, in its essence, it is very distinct from Western styles of floral arrangement in its treatment of space and its approach to the creation of an arrangement. Ikebana offers us a deeper insight into the Japanese aesthetic.

The use of space

Ikebana is an art form that seeks to create space, rather than to just fill it.  Ikebana utilizes “empty” space as an integral part of an arrangement.  Just as the space between leaves and branches in a tree allows us to hear the wind rustle through, negative space gives room for the flowers and branches to breathe and tell us their story.

The gorgeous and grand bouquets of western flower arrangement is like a choir. There are many people, people singing beautifully in unison. Ikebana, on the other hand, is like a duet.  There is nowhere to hide. Only the necessary parts remain in the arrangement. All the clutter and distractions are cut away. 

Imperfection, impermanence, imbalance

Ikebana does not strive to be perfect. Ikebana revels and celebrates the natural imperfections of plants.  A leaf, half eaten by a caterpillar, could be a very prized part of an arrangement.  Weeds, drying leaves, and bare branches are all welcome.  Ikebana celebrates impermanence. An arrangement may use a lily bud to start. In the next few days, the lily will bloom and then eventually die. Through all these stages, the arrangement lives. You may also notice that most ikebana arrangements are asymmetrical. We hardly see bushes and trees grow into perfect shapes, and we don't expect it in ikebana either.

Miyako and her students will be presenting the Sogetsu Ikebana Exhibit at Halifax Central Library from Friday, May 13 to Sunday, May 15.

We hope you enjoy these stunning exhibits!