“A Day of Affectionate Actions” is an event at the Blackwood Gallery and it is a part of the gallery’s Take Care exhibition series. This event is comprised of two performances highlighting the difficulty of managing both art and familial responsibilities, yet acknowledging both responsibilities are nearly impossible to separate. The performances featured parent-artists and their young children who demonstrated how they combine family and creative commitments.
The event was introduced by curators Amber Berson and Juliana Driever. They explained that this project stemmed from personal frustration with how their parental status made it difficult to be acknowledged as an artist, or even welcome in the art community. Berson said that parents are “almost immediately disregarded as emerging artists.”
Through countless phone calls and Skype sessions, they shared the same dream of building an art community that is less exclusionary. Berson said that the goal of the event is to bring awareness to the issue of accessibility in these artistic and cultural institutions, regardless of familial duties.
The first part of the event was a performance by Lovid—a husband-wife duo of Kyle Lapidus and Tali Hinkus along with their three children. The family ensemble started the performance with the parents tending to their artwork, their two teenage daughters working on a laptop, and their young son, dressed from head to toe in green, drawing in his notebook. During the performance, the son became restless so Hinkus left her work to play with him. They danced and tackled each other as the father and daughters continued to work in the background. Lovid’s performance beautifully showcased the chaos of working as a family but also the beautiful artworks that can result from it.
When I later asked Lapidus how they started the artistic collaboration with their children, he replied: “They’re a part of our life and we haven’t made a distinction between our life and our artistic work. The practice of working together has been our primary artistic output for the last twenty years.”
The second performance of the event provided a platform for local parent-artists to share the unique and personal details of their children’s bedtime routines, illustrating the difficulty of juggling the everyday labour of caring for a child and dedicating time for creative work.
A common theme to all the parents’ accounts of bedtime is negotiation with their children. Jenn Goodwin and her seven-year-old son Sam utilize the “when-then” method when it comes to their bedtime routine.
“When you have your pajamas on…” Goodwin trailed off.
“Then we can do a story!” Sam finished.
On some nights, Goodwin stated that “whining sessions” about going to bed are just necessary. She said that because Sam is older now, they have moved on from the more childlike methods of going to bed, like the off-pitch singing.
The third circuit of the Take Care series is called “Infrastructures and Aesthetics of Mutual Aid,” and opens on November 20.