September 24 – October 3, 2021
The Main Gallery
Presented for the 2021 Design Week at Harcourt House and Alberta Culture Days
“Citizen of the World: 300 Portraits” is a massive print installation project of 6 x 6-inch linocut portraits created by Sara Norquay – a nationally renowned, Edmonton-based print artist and cultural activist – and portraying 300 individual members of our human collective (society) in an extended present tense. It is a portrait of humanity, but the individual portraits reveal diversity within the collective. As our identities are bound up with our ideas of difference and uniqueness, these prints challenge the viewer’s biases. Even though a photograph is often considered to be “truer” than a picture in another medium, all mediums contribute their own visual quality to the interpretation of a subject. Some viewers have said the portraits capture more than physical features and the subjects themselves had a say in how they were portrayed as they chose or approved of the photograph used to make the linocuts.
The interpretive nature of the viewer’s relationship to each subject adds to the discussion of what these portraits mean together and individually. We see the work through the lens of our personal experiences, ideas, and culture. As Sara Norquay says: “… for me, the portraits bring forth memories and emotions attached to each of the subjects. Each is someone I know or have spent time with, even of only for a single conversation. It is my interaction with each individual that I think about while cutting the plate. To be thought about by others is a kind of blessing. I hope the accumulative acts of making and viewing contributes to the energy of goodwill in the world.”
The exhibition is curated by Jacek Malec of Harcourt House Artist Run Centre.
Sara Norquay – born in Edmonton, raised in Toronto, and employed as a free-lance Opera Equity Stage Manager during her twenties. While living in Alberta, Norquay attended the Alberta College of Art (currently the University of Alberta Art) in the mid-1970’s. After receiving a B.A. in English from the University of Toronto and a B. Ed. From Queens University in the 1980s, she married and went to live in Santa Barbara, California. There, she raised children, taught, and exhibited her prints and artist books before moving back to Edmonton in 2009. She is known in Alberta and beyond for her linocut portraits, large woodcuts, and artist books.
Top Image: Citizen of the World: 300 Portraits (Jinzhe, Don), linocut on paper
Image courtesy of the artist