Artist Risen: Eleanor King


Halifax artist Eleanor King personifies artouteast’s mandate. Artist, professor, musician, mover and shaker, King is bringing to the forefront the vibrant art scene of the Maritimes for all of us to see.
King is an interdisciplinary artist who works with site-specific installation incorporating elements of audio, video, photography, and sculpture. Her work fuses found materials in a playful way to critique social behaviours, investigating consumer and tourist cultures.

Obso-less-sense: room from entrance, A version of this work will be presented at Eastern Edge Gallery, St. John's NL in 2011. Image by Steve Farmer

I asked her, “what is Tourist Culture?” She explained it is a term that she coined in 2002, when the Nova Scotia Arts Council was disbanded, replaced with what the minister of culture so cleverly deemed the Nova Scotia Arts and Partnership Council in the Department of Tourism, Culture, and Heritage.

“It sounded like double-speak to most of us, and it was clear:  we no longer had a fully independent, arms-length, art funding organization.   It has always bothered me that Tourism was lumped in with Culture, and felt that the exported ideas of Nova Scotia (or generally east coast) were outdated, false and unfortunate. Our exported “culture” was based on the assumptions that others might have of this place, ideas promoted basically for the benefit of tourists.  The fiddle music, the sou’wester fisherman hats, the east coast music awards, these examples didn’t reflect my experience, which was of real, contemporary, and exciting things that were actually going on.”

King has exhibited nationally and internationally and has participated in residency programs in Canada and the US. King teaches in the Media Arts department at NSCAD University and holds the position of Exhibitions Coordinator at Anna Leonowens Gallery. She is also a member of indie-rock bands The Just Barelys and The Got to Get Got.

This week King is getting ready for Art Rising, an annual fundraising gala in support of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in Halifax in which she is participating. It’s all very secretive; even the location will not be revealed until the night before the event on March 5th.

Needless to say, she’s busy. What is on the agenda after Art Rising?

After Art Rising this week, it’s on to the next: a piece in a group show called “Warming up” at Confederation Centre, an installation for Nuit Blanche Toronto, a 2-person show with Dustin Wilson at Eastern Edge in St. John’s and a show with Le Pont Gallery in Syria.


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