Arta Gallery is found on the west side of the Distillery District just beyond the sculptures and art pieces in the cobblestone Distillery Lane. This large gallery is one of the most important culture and arts centers in all of Toronto. The venue is operated by Mrs. Fay Athari, and has been a fixture in The Distillery for almost ten years now. Arta Gallery was established in the year 2003, when the Distillery District first opened!
Arta Gallery is known for serving delicious food and wine alongside the artist’s work which is professionally lite by beautiful track lighting in the ceiling. This is a state of the art gallery and sets the bar real high for all other venues in the city.
Andrew FitzGerald is back in Toronto after 14 years of living and working in Asia – and scouring the Asian art markets for rare talent. This man has returned with a life’s collection of beautiful modern art that was made by people living in societies very different than ours, on the other side of the world.
FitzGerald has lived and traveled extensively in Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam and The Philippines and gathered art from all these places and brought the best pieces back to Canada to raise awareness for Asian art and artists.
Sixteen different Asian artists are represented at this show of approx forty paintings
The artist include some well known names in Asia including, Lim Khim Katy, Kyee Myintt Saw, Than Kyaw Htay, Khin Zaw Latt, S. Moe Z., Nguyen Kim Quang, Ha Tri Hieu, Ngo Van Sac, Nguyen Quang Minh, Nann Nann, Pen Robit, Dinh Thi Tham Poong, Hoang Phuong Vy, Vu Huong Quynh, Vu Thu Hien
Andrew explained that Burma and Hong Kong were British colonies, while Vietnam was a French domain.
Both colonial powers operated art schools in their respective regions, and this has resulted in some modern artists taking a more Western approach to art, but they all have very different approaches to subject matter.
It seems the Burmese artist tend to treat their subjects with gentle love, and comfort, like this example below.
Vietnamese artists tend to paint images of social realism – hardships affected by laws and the injustice of the political system or their nation’s police forces. An example of this would certainly be Lim Khim Katy’s painting ‘New Law’ which in a triptych of oil on canvas and priced at $6000 CAN
The same painter Lim Khim Katy has created Shadow, seen below 5000 CAN
And this wonderful piece , name and $ escaped me. Check the East Gallery website and read the blog.
From Vietnam here is Khin Zau Latt semi realism with a wash showing life on a rainy day.
This painting was a favourite with many viewers at the show who marveled at the moment of clarity present over the red hat.
The biggest name at the show, and the most well known painter from Asia now glimpsed here in the West with most frequency is Ha Tri Hieu whom many credit as the Founding Father of Vietnamese contemporary art. He is a member of Hanoi’s ‘Gang of Five’, the first group of young artists to gain international renown after Vietnam opened up in the late1980s. The subject of much of Ha Tri Hieu’s poetic, expressionist work is the beauty and simplicity of rural life in Vietnam. Born in the capital Hanoi in 1959, Hieu was deeply influenced by the years he spent as child in the countryside where his family sought refuge during the Vietnam War. The top painting on the wall below the East Gallery sign is entitled Water Buffalo.
This painting, Country Girl 2 is also by Ha Tri Hieu is the most expensive piece at the show $12,000 and is oil on canvas.
More Vietnamese art, We Are The Night acrylic on canvas by Kyee Myint Saw, $3900
And lastly I was struck by the simple beauty of Hong Phong Vy, and his work with oil on canvas entitled Summer Heat, $1100
The Arta Gallery is open five days a week and offers a quiet and relaxed viewing atmosphere to gaze upon these masterful works. For more information on the show, please investigate the East Gallery website blog which has pictures and more information about the art and artists in this collection.