Article by Andrea Blanar, President of the Canadian Hungarian Artists’ Collective
The Pier 21 Exposition of “Reflections Canada-Hungary” opened in Halifax on Thursday. Joyce Millar, the curator of the exhibition flew down from Montreal.
The first surprise was right on entering Nova Scotia at the tourist center, the large Nova Scotia tourist book opens up to advertise a full color page of “The Canadian -Hungarian Artists Collective” Exhibition at Pier 21.
Despite the hurricane like weather Pier 21 was full of visitors as several immense cruise boats that were 6-plus floor high had recently arrived. So our show is getting international visibility, as thousands of tourists and visitors arrive daily right next to Pier 21.
The entire area is an active harbour area and artists’ community with warehouses that have been converted to sculptor and artist studios, with a top class contemporary “gallery 21” located right at the Pier.
We were extremely well received by Pier 21 officials, you sensed their fondness for Hungarians. All the Officials were there the CEO, the President of Board and members, the Pier 21 Volunteers. They organized a buffet reception inviting the local business community. We were also welcomed by a group of Hungarians living in Halifax.
The Show itself was a challenge to hang hang, as their exhibition Space for visiting exhibitions was under construction and not finished. Nevertheless, we were well located right next to the huge permanent exhibition area that chronicles the story of Canada’s immigrants. The visitors are drawn into the gallery space the well placed works looked impressive – the lighting being exceptionally good. Facing out and inviting the guest into the gallery space were Andrew Benyei’s works, particularly successful as the work at the front wall leans out, these are figures squeezed into an elevator, and the frontal figure actually steps out of the composition, ……. from all angles of the exhibition space – the Benyei……. works have dramatic placement and lighting!…….
It was a heart wrenching day – tearful, the entire museum dedicated to the immigration stories- photos archives. The permanent exhibition space has as its welcome image a huge plexiglass image of Hungarians arriving at Pier 21, every one who visits carries a Kleenex — I am still overcome by this experience – Here are our works, all of us immigrants, in this amazing structure that welcomed endless waves of immigrants- their spirits somehow still present…An amazing day.