Newfoundland in Venice

I’m proud to say that I have an essay in the Spring 2014 issue of the Newfoundland QuarterlyIt’s about Newfoundland’s first official appearance at 2013’s Venice Biennale, one of the most prestigious and important fine art events in the world. The inclusion of Will Gill and Peter Wilkins’ exhibition About Turn: Newfoundland in Venice in the Biennale is a signal accomplishment for Newfoundland’s art, and is the the culmination of years of work and fundraising by the Terra Nova Arts Foundation (TNAF), an organization dedicated to raising the international profile of Newfoundland art.

I was going to be in Venice at the tail end of 2013’s Biennale; I proposed to Joan Sullivan, the editor of the NQ, that I might write about seeing Newfoundland’s exhibition. Unfortunately, I discovered, when I arrived, that About Turn: Newfoundland in Venice had packed up shop a couple of weeks earlier than scheduled. The tidal floods that plague Venice were posing too great a threat to the art.

My essay in the current edition of the NQ is about this failure to witness Newfoundland’s debut on such an important and historical stage (the Biennale dates back to 1895). I hope I managed to weave something worthwhile out of this disappointment/failure. Unfortunately, it’s not available to be read online at the moment; after this issue goes off the newstands, I might approach the editor about publishing a copy of the article on this blog.

The Spring 2014 Newfoundland Quarterly

The Spring 2014 Newfoundland Quarterly

A word about the NQ: the Newfoundland Quarterly is almost as old as the Venice Biennale (it goes back to 1901 and is the second-oldest magazine currently publishing in Canada). This is my fifth time publishing with them, but I still get a thrill seeing my work in such an intelligent, cultured, and well-put-together publication. If you live in St John’s, it’s very easy to pick up the current issue: many shops downtown and tourist spots around the city carry it (for example: it’s at The Rooms, Rocket Bakery, The Travel Bug, and the magazine kiosk in Atlantic Place). It’s distributed by Magazines Canada, so it should be in Chapters and Indigo across Canada, but I have never seen an issue there, and I’ve looked for them, sporadically, for years. In Toronto, it used to be carried by Book City on Bloor, but this independent bookstore has recently gone the way of so many of its kind: kaput. I’ve sometimes picked up copies at the Bloor location of International Press in the Annex.

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