Two artists living in rural Saskatchewan are among those whose work was purchased for the Saskatchewan Arts Board’s Permanent Collection this fall.
Both Hanna Yokozawa Farquharson of Saltcoats and Catherine Joa of Denare Beach are new to the collection.
Yokozawa Farquharson was born in Japan and moved to Canada in 2011. The textile artist incorporates traditional Japanese cultural elements and aesthetics in her work, at the same time reflecting the land and environment where she now lives.
The piece the Arts Board purchased is the quilt, Zen Garden. “A key influence in my artwork is the concept of ‘Wabi-Sabi’, the beauty in imperfection. It finds richness and grace in simplicity. I try to capture the negative space, and I limit the number of colours I use in my art to help find that beauty in simplicity. ‘Wabi-Sabi’ requires people to use wider and deeper thinking to find meaning in the artwork,” she explains.
Yokozawa Farquharson finds inspiration in the landscape of east central Saskatchewan. “I find the prairie landscape has a simplicity, purity and depth. Living in a rural area and small town gives me a warm feeling of belonging. The world of nature, and the smallest components within it, such as a piece of bark, can address me, say something to me. It is as if that piece of nature says, ‘Look at me. See the beauty in me. Feel the connection between me and you,’” she says.
Joa feels a similar connection to nature. “Being outdoors and in nature influences my life at lot. That being a backdrop to everything that happens in my life is calming to me and makes me feel grounded. If I am going to paint anything, I want to paint what is most important and most beautiful. That would be nature,” she says.
Denare Beach is a northern village on the east shore of Amisk Lake, more than 400 kilometres northeast of Prince Albert. The remoteness of the community means that residents spend a lot of time on the road. Joa did a series of work called the Hanson Lake Road paintings about the four-hour-long drive people take to go south.
The Arts Board purchased the acrylic painting, "Now that’s some easy wood right there." The work is named for a conversation she and her husband had on their journey down Highway 106. “Residents of northern communities share this drive in common and likely do similar things to pass the time in the car. The landscape outside of everyone’s window is the same, despite any differences in the people. The land is there whether we notice it, appreciate it, like it, or not. It is a constant, and it binds us,” she remarks.
Both artists find it gratifying to have their work added to the Permanent Collection. Joa says, “I received that validation that ‘You are an artist and we’ve noticed you.’ It just makes me think this is the beginning. I can keep doing this and keep making more art.”
Yokozawa Farquarson feels the purchase honours her mother, whose “greatest legacy was leaving for me and my brothers a sense of personal value, of being able to achieve and to live purposefully,” she says. “It also becomes something of the legacy that I will leave for my children and grandchildren and, hopefully, will be an encouragement to the next generation.”
Top: Hanna Yokozawa Farquharson, Zen Garden, 2018, machine-pieced and quilted cotton and linen fabric
Middle left: Hanna Yokozawa Farquharson
Photo courtesy of the artist
Middle right: Catherine Joa, "Now that's some easy wood right there.", 2019, acrylic on canvas, birch frame
Bottom: Catherine Joa. Photo by Sadie Joa-Hall