For the artist, Anick Fernandez, the theme of her upcoming exhibition at the Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre resonates with the experience of many who had to leave the place they called home either for a short time – or sometimes, forever.
The collection on display in the Joyner Gallery from Nov. 3 to 27 represents the migration of people from all over the world and the barriers found along the way. The show features a collection of collagraphs and monotypes in three acts: “Migrations, Frontiers and Territories.”
The Syrian crisis and the ensuing journey of refugees inspired Fernandez to start the series of prints while she still lived in Europe.
Her body of work developed as she saw parallels in the migratory flow that was occurring around her, notably, the plight of migrants resulting from conflict, persecution or the effects of climate change.
“Throughout history, people around the world are constantly moving from one place to another for different reasons. As they travel, they may be confronted not only by physical borders but also by all sorts of barriers such as prejudices towards cultural, religious or ethnical differences,” says Fernandez.
“Every person leaving their country is also leaving behind a trace, like footprints that others can follow in a non-stop migratory flow that has been going on for thousands of years,” she says.
“Territories may seem very different from each other, but just like people, they are all interdependent. We are now more conscious than ever of the interconnection between them.”
Her own creative experience spans several continents. Her early works as an artist in Mexico were in drawing, oil, pastel, acrylics and sculpture.
In 1995, she started experimenting with different printing techniques at L’Atelier de l’Ile, a print art production centre in Val-David, Que. Her expertise in this medium developed as she started working with dry point, aquatint, linocuts, etching, serigraphy and monotypes.
Her growth as a printmaker continued across the Atlantic when Fernandez moved to Spain in 2005. She started investigating the extensive possibilities of collagraphy, a non-toxic and eco-friendly technique that allowed her the greatest creative freedom in printmaking.
After years of experimenting and documenting her research, Fernandez began teaching printmaking in 2013 at Hedera Printmaking Studio in Madrid. Since 2019, she has called Niagara-on-the-Lake home and has installed her printing press from Spain in her atelier where she continues her craft.
Her work has been exhibited in group exhibitions throughout Europe and North America. Fernandez has received many accolades including the first prize in International Miniprint Biennial Santander in Spain. Her prints can be found in public and private collections in Mexico, Canada and Spain.
With health and safety protocols in place, the public is invited to meet Fernandez on Sunday, Nov. 7, 10 a.m. to noon at the Pumphouse.