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Calgary artists get ‘groundbreaking’ opportunity to showcase work worldwide

Click to play video: 'Calgary artists get ‘groundbreaking’ opportunity to showcase work worldwide' Calgary artists get ‘groundbreaking’ opportunity to showcase work worldwide
WATCH ABOVE: Some Calgary artists are getting a new chance at some worldwide exposure for their work. As Gil Tucker shows us, it’s part of a project that’s the first of its kind in Canada. – May 6, 2021

Calgary artist David Oppong is really making his mark with a recent work called “Resiliency and Coronavirus.”

“Resilience means finding strength and hope when everything seems to be going bad,” Oppong said. “I pictured dark clouds, representing sadness, and the sun represents happiness and hope.”

Oppong created the piece as part of his work with the  National accessArts Centre in Calgary.

Read more: 3 Calgary artists enjoy ‘phenomenal’ success after opening gallery during COVID-19 pandemic

“David’s piece just symbolizes what we’re all going through right now,” the centre’s CEO J.S. Ryu said. “Our organization supports a community of about 350 artists, with primarily developmental disabilities.”

Oppong and a dozen other artists at the centre are now hitting the world stage, after their work was purchased by the federal government.

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“This is so groundbreaking, the first time that our country’s foreign affairs ministry is partnering with a disability arts organization.” Ryu said. “This means that those works will soon travel to all corners of this globe, moving through either embassies, ambassadors’ residences or cultural centres.”

Read more: ‘There’s so much pain’: Art shows mental toll COVID-19 taking on youth, expert says

Oppong’s family feels it’s a great opportunity for him.

“Hopefully (“Resilience and Coronavirus”) will go to Ghana, where David is from, so we are very excited that he has this opportunity and super proud of what he has achieved,” Opppong’s mother Awa Gomez said.

“What he has is called an intellectual disability, so sometimes he operates from a Grade 3 to Grade 4 level.”

Art makes a huge difference in Oppong’s life.

Read more: University of Alberta med students bring therapeutic art to isolated seniors

“It boosts his morale, gives him more confidence and (helps him) to express himself,” Gomez said.

Oppong said he feels fortunate to be able to develop his talents as an artist.

“What I like about doing art is how the painting colours look bright,” Oppong said. “I want people to look at it and be happy.”

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