Whether on the road or on the water, Oshawa is a city on the move.
Not all roads lead to Rome, one leads to the Biltmore Theatre in downtown Oshawa on Thursday, December 7, 2023. ‘On The Road’ is an arts and music celebration taking place at the historic Biltmore and includes a review of the art exhibition from the Convergence Festival, Oshawa’s debut arts and music festival, which took place on the road outside the Theatre and in the former Genosha Hotel, now 70 King.
That exhibit, curated by Steven Frank, included work by Viktor and Judith Tinkle, Lynne McIlvride and Will Zenga, artists from the Uxbridge, Ontario area. As an extension and tribute to Convergence, Frank has curated a multimedia evening showcasing not only the aforementioned artists but also Jenn E Norton, Dani Crosby, Margaret Rodgers, Gary Greenwood, Grant Cole, Mike Drolet and Steven Laurie. Norton is the artist/projectionist whose work was shown on the side of 70 King during Convergence.
Frank says the night is an exploration of Oshawa’s love for the road, as exemplified by its heritage as the automotive capital of Canada, and the international rock anthem, “Born to Be Wild”, written by Oshawa native Mars Bonfire of Steppenwolf. The evening is also a tribute to the late Canadian actor, Kenneth Welsh, partner of McIlvride. Welsh was a well-known Shakespearian actor and his truck, painted by his partner, was covered in quotes from the English Bard. The truck was on the road outside the Biltmore during Convergence.
There will also be a screening of the Zenga Brothers’ film, “Tall Bikes Will Save the World”, and award-winning blues guitarist, Jack De Keyzer, no stranger to the road, will release his latest CD.
Proceeds from ‘On The Road’ will go to Durham Outlook for the Needy.
Before Oshawa was on the road in a car, it was on the water in a canoe. The location of Oshawa on Lake Ontario on land covered within the traditional and treaty territory of the Mississauga, Chippewa, and Anishinaabeg, was an important portage to Lake Scugog, Lake Simcoe and Lake Huron. First Nations from around the Great Lakes travelled along the portage, a major route for trade and hunting
Those looking to explore Oshawa’s relationship with First Nations can follow the original portage route, now Simcoe Street, down to Lake Ontario to the Oshawa Museum located in Lakeview Park. The Museum has three buildings; Henry House, Guy House, and Robinson House. ‘A Carrying Place’ is on display in Robinson House. It's an immersive exhibit featuring objects from the Grandview and MacLeod sites from the culture of the ancestral Wendat that lived in this area from 1380 – 1450 CE and examines the impact of European settlements. Displays from the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nations, the Oshawa and Durham Region Métis Council, and the Durham District School Board are also included.
The journeys of the Inuit are at the base of ‘CAMP’, an exhibit currently on at the Robert McLaughlin Gallery until February 18, 2024. Couzyn van Heuvelen is an Inuk sculptor and multi-disciplinary installation artist, born in Iqaluit, Nunavut. The exhibition draws on the seasonal practice of setting up camps to hunt and fish where stories and skills are passed from one generation to another, travelling across time. ‘CAMP’ was curated by Erin Szikora.
Szikora also curated ‘World-builders, shapeshifters’, an exhibit happening until April 7, 2024 at the Gallery. The history of colonization and decolonization of the land is explored in work by Alex Jacobs-Blum, Kat Brown Akootchook, Kay Nadjiwon, Natalie King, Nishina Shapwaykeesic-Loft, and Sheri Osden Nault. This exhibition is supported by the Maada’ookii Committee, Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, the Downie & Wenjack Foundation and Hudson Bay Foundation through Oshki Wuppowane: The Blanket Fund, and was also curated by Szikora.