Long-term care residents featured in outdoor photo exhibit in Corner Brook

Chris Allen has walked past the Corner Brook Public Library on West Street several times over the past few weeks.

The building has acquired a certain importance for him because above the entrance to the library is a photo of his father, Gerald Allen.

Gerald Allen was one of 11 residents of the Corner Brook Long-Term Care Home who participated in the PULP Grenfell Student Gallery-led “Picturing Community” Photo Project in partnership with Western Health, City of Corner Brook, Corner Brook Museum and Archives and Library.

Photos taken by students of the Grenfell Visual Arts Program of these residents will be on display outside the Library and Town Hall for the remainder of the summer.

The photos were taken in the fall of 2019, but the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed their exposure.

Gerald Allen passed away in October 2019, just a day after visual arts student Candace Roberts-Curlew took his photo.

Chris Allen says he feels a lot of emotion when he walks past the library and sees it.

“I just wish I had more time with him,” he said.

He knew his father had the pictures taken.

“I’m so proud. I’m so proud he did it before he died.

During the process, the students and residents were able to learn more about each other, and Chris Allen says the photo captures his father perfectly.

“My God, he looks horribly shaggy over there,” he laughed about his father’s scruffy beard.

“He was going to be Santa Claus in the long-term care home for the floor he was on. And that’s all he was looking forward to was to be Santa Claus, and he didn’t make it.

Chris Allen said he was not surprised his father was involved in the project.

“It was dad. He was outgoing. Everyone knew Gerald.

His father worked at the John Howard Society, and the young people he worked with called him Uncle Gerald.

“Dad never had an enemy in the world. Everyone thought of the world of him. He would do what he could for anyone, ”said Chris Allen.

“He was a nice guy,” he said. “Whoever came up with the idea (for the exhibit), I think it was wonderful.”

• • •

Roberts-Curlew is from Happy Valley-Goose Bay and has three courses to complete before graduation.

If textiles are her main area of ​​interest, she also enjoys photography.

“For this project, I like the connections with the people I have met,” she said.

Roberts-Curlew only met Gerald Allen a few times before his death, but during that time she learned a lot about him, she said.

“He really told me about his life and all the hardships he’s been through,” she said.

“I loved listening to these stories. I enjoyed hearing what he had to say and then basing my photographs around it.

Gerald Allen told Roberts-Curlew he was religious, and so after his death she took photos in a church to commemorate him.

The portrait on the bookcase was her favorite of all she took.

“It captures its essence very well,” she said.

It’s something the exhibit does for everyone involved, she added.

“It was about really connecting with our community. You can capture who these people are with these photographs.

“With the little time I was able to spend with him, I felt a connection.”

Like her son, she also wishes she could spend more time with him.

• • •

The photo of Lori Lynn George in the “Picturing Community” exhibit is on display outside the Corner Brook Public Library. – Contributed

Lori Lynn George, 54, has been a resident of the long-term care home for seven years and was all about getting involved when Sharon Coish, the home’s recreation worker, asked her.

“I couldn’t say no to Sharon,” she said with a smile.

George was paired with student Jess Pynn, who took photos in her bedroom, capturing images of herself and things that are dear to her, like horses and a photo of her mother.

“It makes me feel good,” George said of her photo in the library, adding that she was thrilled when people recognized her.

“It’s me, tall and shiny on the bookcase,” she said with a smile.

George received a copy of all the photos and gave a copy to his entire family last Christmas. She said she couldn’t pick just one as a favorite.

“They were so beautiful. They turned out to be nice.

• • •

PULP Gallery creates opportunities for students and recent graduates

Marc Losier is an Assistant Professor in the Visual Arts Program at the Grenfell Campus and founder of the PULP Gallery.

He started it in 2017 with funding for teaching and learning from the university.

As a visual arts teacher, he wanted to develop a platform for students and recent alumni to experience and share their work with the community in the form of a student-led exhibition, he said. -he declares.

While there are other galleries, including one in Grenfell, none are strictly student-oriented, Losier said.

“It’s really about filling that gap and giving our students the opportunity to grow professionally and get involved in each other’s programming, exhibiting their work and sharing it with the community,” said he declared.

It’s also an offsite window to the visual arts program, he added.

He said that through “Picturer Community”, students have developed touching and strong relationships with residents and have started working with subjects in vulnerable circumstances.

“And being able to capture and photograph them in a really sensitive and touching way.”

The COVID-19 pandemic swept away plans to display the photos in a conventional gallery space and became an opportunity to share them with the community in other ways.

“We wanted to do PULP initiatives outside that wouldn’t be limited by social distancing, so that people could see and experience them 24/7 in their own way from the streetscape,” said Losier.

“Picturing Community” is just one of two outdoor exhibitions that Pulp Gallery has organized this summer. The exhibit, “Soft. Power.”, Which ended on July 25, focused on coastal communities and oceanic environments, and student art related to these themes had been exhibited outside Swirsky on Broadway. .

Diane Crocker reports on West Coast News.

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Twitter: @WS_DianeCrocker

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