Citizen of the World by Sara Norquay

Sara Norquay 
The Art Incubator Gallery . March 29 – May 12, 2018
Opening Reception: Thursday, March 29th, from 7 – 10 pm
Harcourt House Artist Run Centre, 3rd floor, 10215 – 112 St, Edmonton

The Citizen of the World (everyone is a citizen) project now has over 200 portraits of people from all walks of life. Some I have known my whole life, while others I may have known during a single conversation. I casually invited people to participate whenever the subject of my project arose. Although I am still adding portraits to the project, it will probably never will be a collection of everyone I have ever known.

This project portrays individuals as a human collective in an extended present tense. It is meant to remind us of our humanity, not to glorify or compare individual biographies. Thus, no information about those portrayed is offered. The work is meant to give viewers the space and time to consider their status as citizens of the world as well as the fact that all human beings have this inherent status, no matter their personal, social or ancestral history.

The initial visual presentation of so many faces appears as a single portrait of humanity but the individual prints reveal diversity within the collective. As our identities are bound up with our ideas of difference and uniqueness, these prints challenge the viewer. Are they examples of portraiture and identity or merely attempts at likeness and representation? The reaction of my subjects to their portraits has been mixed. Some people have reacted with smiles and appreciation. For others, the graphic nature of linocuts interferes with their notion of what they look like and they find the abstraction that non-photographic images inevitably create difficult to appreciate. Depicting a person’s face in a photograph is often considered more realistic (and thus true) than in another medium. The linocut medium brings its own graphic qualities to its subject matter. The exhibition asks what is lost and gained when a person’s face captured in a photograph is re-presented in a linocut.

How the viewer interprets what these portraits mean together and individually expands the work’s meaning. We see the work through the lens of our personal experiences, ideas and culture. For me, the portraits bring forth memories and emotions attached to the nature of my relationship with each of the subjects.

Artist’s Biography

Sara Norquay has been a printmaker for twenty years, making monotypes, photopolymer etchings, woodcuts, linocuts and copper etchings. She also makes artists books and works with felt. After living, working and exhibiting for nearly 20 years in California, she moved back to Canada in 2009 and now exhibits her work in Edmonton, Calgary, and Toronto, as well as in California.