Back-story on the REVELATION series - “During the summer of 2015, I was in Greece doing an artist residency on the island of Skopelos when I started painting and producing the REVELATION series. During my time in Greece they held their referendum, it also was when boats of Syrian refugees started to arrive, bank machines emptied due to the financial crisis and chaos commenced. This experience in Greece really expanded my thoughts about the purpose, reach and mission for this body of work and how I could paint these monumental events in history that shape and impact us all as a global community.
This was before the gruesome image of the baby washed up on the shores of Turkey reared its head in the media; this was before people were paying attention. I remember that Christmas before I went to Greece in 2014 receiving Aid Worker news about the IDP camps as well as the external refugee camps for the Syrians and the conditions they were faced with. I stayed up sick over it, crying and thinking about how we all bleed red and how they needed help.
I considered going back to work on the front lines and taking a position as a Field Communications Officer with an NGO to go share their stories but I had just come back from nearly five years in Haiti and had not even began to decompress from that. I chose another method to share my feelings on the matter and picked up my best weapon, a paintbrush and started ordering books online about Human Rights.
I then did some online courses in International Human Rights, I was terribly sick at the time from the tropical bug Chikungunya I had grabbed in Haiti and ended up stuck in bed for three months. I made use of the time stuck in bed by researching and doing e-learning courses. The fire really started burning for the series the more I educated myself on Human Rights, I had seen and witnessed horrid events in Haiti during my time living and working there so it was already brewing inside my soul searching for a way to release. It was not until I was on the Aegean Sea that I was able to produce and manifest the first paintings in the series.
The only pieces from the series I am featuring in this preview from the Greek Islands is “Article 3 - The Syrian Boat People” and" Article Four - Eve"; the others will be released and shown only at exhibitions and when the timing is right. There was more irony during my time in Greece, as I was painting I was also sending out press releases about an audacious human rights issue in the Dominican Republic at the time. The Dominican Government was exiling and banishing stateless Haitians to Haiti. There were various challenges, these people were not born in Haiti, they spoke Spanish not Creole, the List goes on, it was a travesty.
The news releases went unpublished in mainstream media for several weeks and the whole thing was and is so horribly wrong on so many levels. It inspired one of my paintings in the series of course you can read a bit about the whole fiasco in the NY Times - https://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/13/world/americas/fearful-haitian-migrants-flee-dominican-republic-for-camps.html?_r=0.
In Greece, I would sit at the local café alone writing out each human right in the declaration and what each right we all have as humans on this earth meant and stood for. I then decided that each human right out of the thirty rights we have in the declaration I would paint an applicable painting to associate relevant and historical content to. I painted away and did a small showing of the rough beginnings of the series and all was going well till the bank machines ran out of cash and things got funky in Greece. I decided to roll up my art in tubes and get on a boat off the island and back on the mainland as there was no airport on Skopelos and I didn’t want to be marooned during the crisis.
When I arrived in Athens the vibe was so different than when I had entered. My cabbies were ranting to me about the Syrians showing up and also how their pensions were all vanishing. Stores were closed, graffiti was at its max and so were flyers about the vote. I decided to pair up with a local Greek Economist named Axel and follow him around while he voted and shared his thoughts on the referendum.
The news in Europe was lit up with Italy taking in boats of people some in such poor shape they needed medical attention immediately as they had been smuggled for weeks in ships cargo, some dead with no ID. It was vivid and eye opening, such a large human migration. Those Syrians I cried over six months before in the IDP camps finally had enough and took the risk to find a better life. The thing is these are not down and out people who didn’t have a normal life before the war. These are educated working class people who were not used to living in IDP camp or refugee camp conditions and decided to take a massive risk to get on a boat to seek asylum elsewhere because their homes and business were bombed, they had no other options.
I ended up producing many street photos and sharing them in editorials focused on the referendum with the Epoch Times. It was a unique experience and it showed me how there was a shift coming and it was not just Europe. The waves would also hit the shores of North America soon enough.
Athens Street Photography 2015 / Copyright Stephanie Limage
Last year in February 2016, I moved to Ottawa for three months to live 10 minutes from Canadian Parliament and do some research. It was then I had the vision to produce the painting based on the image from 1982 of Pierre Trudeau and Queen Elizabeth signing the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I wanted to visit the historical places in my Nation and explore the roots of my own rights and freedoms. After the three months in Ottawa I migrated to Quebec and set up a studio on the other side of the river. I had visited Montreal before and Quebec City but needed to understand more about our National history and explore the museums.
I feel it is difficult to understand a place or culture unless you live among the people and assimilate.
A death in the family led me back to the West Coast where I am living and working again. I am preparing to head to South America soon for the project. I will be taking the REVELATION series to Argentina where I have been invited to do an artists residency and solo exhibition. I am looking forward to sharing this body of work with those in Argentina and continuing to produce this series in significant cities on earth.
REVELATION is an ongoing project due to its size. Given there are 30 Human Rights in the Declaration and much research and supportive content that go with each piece I produce. I feel it will be at least a few additional years before it is completed.
Thank you for expressing interest and support for this project and following the journey with me over the last few years. If you wish to sponsor this project or connect with me feel free to reach out".
1. Title + Medium - “Article 14 Trudeau and Friends”, Oil on Canvas, 2017, Produced in Vancouver, REVELATION Series, Copyright Stephanie Limage.
Article 14 Universal Declaration of Human Rights – “Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution”. – Source: United Nations.
People in the painting:
Ida Bell Wells-Barnett, more commonly known as Ida B. Wells, was an African-American journalist, newspaper editor, suffragist, sociologist, feminist, Georgist, and an early leader in the Civil Rights Movement.Born: July 16, 1862, Holly Springs, Mississippi, United States-Died: March 25, 1931, Chicago, Illinois, United States
Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (14 April 1891 – 6 December 1956), popularly known as Baba Saheb, was an Indian jurist,economist, politician and social reformer who inspired the Dalit Buddhist Movement and campaigned against social discrimination against Untouchables (Dalits), while also supporting the rights of women and labour.He was Independent India's first law minister and the principal architect of the Constitution of India.
Martin Luther King Jr. (born Michael King Jr., January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American Baptist minister and activist who was a leader in the Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for his role in the advancement of civil rights usingnonviolent civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs.
Justin Pierre James Trudeau PC MP (born December 25, 1971) is a Canadian politician. He is the 23rd and current Prime Minister of Canada and leader of the Liberal Party. The second youngest Prime Minister after Joe Clark, he is also, as the eldest son of former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, the first to be related to a previous holder of the post.
2. Title + Medium – “Article 3 The Syrian Boat People”, Acrylic on Canvas, 2015 Produced in Greece, REVELATION Series, Copyright Stephanie Limage.
Article 3 Universal Declaration of Human Rights – “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”. – Source: The United Nations.
Content - Théophile Alexandre Steinlen, frequently referred to as just Steinlen, was a Swiss-born French Art Nouveau painter and printmaker. Born: November 10, 1859, Lausanne, Switzerland , Died: December 13, 1923, Paris, France. I re-interpreted one of his old prints, I felt applied to the Syrian Refugees fleeing by boat. I incorporated water and waves crashing into the family. As it's said “there is nothing new under the sun” and this massive human migration due to War is nothing new for Europe.
3. Title + Medium – “The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms”, Oil on Canvas, Produced in Ottawa + Vancouver, 2016 – 2017, REVELATION Series, Copyright Stephanie Limage.
The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms - (French: La Charte canadienne des droits et libertés), in Canada often simply the Charter, is a bill of rights entrenched in the Constitution of Canada. It forms the first part of the Constitution Act, 1982. The Charter guarantees certain political rights to Canadian citizens and civil rights of everyone in Canada from the policies and actions of all areas and levels of the government. It is designed to unify Canadians around a set of principles that embody those rights. The Charter was signed into law by Queen Elizabeth II of Canada on April 17, 1982 along with the rest of the Act.
Link to the Charter - http/::laws-lois.justice.gc.ca:eng:const:page-15.html. – Source: Canadian Government Archives.
People in the painting:
Joseph Philippe Pierre Yves Elliot Trudeau , October 18, 1919 – September 28, 2000), better known as Pierre Trudeau or Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was a Canadian politician who served as the 15th Prime Minister of Canada from 1968–1979 and 1980–1984. He is the 3rd longest-serving Prime Minister in Canadian history (behind William Lyon Mackenzie King and John A. Macdonald), having served for 15 years, 164 days.
Elizabeth II (born 1926), queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia,and New Zealand since 1952.
4. Title + Medium - " Article Four - Eve " - Acrylic on Raw Canvas 1.5 Feet x 3 Feet, produced in Greece, 2015.
Article 4 Universal Declaration of Human Rights – “Freedom from Slavery”. – Source: The United Nations.
Content - Eve represents " Mother Africa " she cries for her people who were kidnapped from their homeland and forced into slavery on the island of Hispanolia , now The Republic of Haiti. Eve's necklace is from the Taino Indians the First Nations of Hispaniola that were enslaved and wiped out by Colonialists. Africans were then kidnapped and brought to Hispanolia to build " The New World ". The Haitian Gourdes represent the audacious Debt Ayiti still owed France for their own Freedom from slavery , a punishment for revolting and forming the First Black Republic. The praying nuns represent the cultural gentrification of the Africans and the flowers represent freedom, resilience and hope for a better Haiti as well as the beauty of the nation's people.
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