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Tuesday, June 18, 2024
Artists in their element at Niagara Pumphouse art show
Amanda Immurs is an artist from Hamilton who uses her work to tell whimsical stories about children and animals. EVAN LOREE
Taruna Singh works with a mix of materials to give her work a distinct texture. EVAN LOREE
Marzena Kotapska says she usually paints streetscapes and architecture, but her patrons seem to like it when she paints people. EVAN LOREE

A brush stroke is as natural as a breath of air, but a canvas is as complex as a beating heart.

That was the sentiment of artists hosted at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Pumphouse over the long weekend. 

“It just seems to be second nature to me,” said Hamilton painter Amanada Immurs describing her art.

“It’s like breathing to me, actually. I can’t imagine not doing it,” she said.

Immurs was one of over 60 artists at the Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre’s 16th annual Art at the Pumphouse show.

Immurs’ display featured several pictures of children and animals. 

For her, there’s something “whimsical” about painting the two subjects together.

The Hamiltonian painter said she finds it peaceful to watch the birds fly by in her backyard, which was one reason she gave for why they make it into her paintings so often.

The 40-year-old artist said she likes to paint the children partially obscured because it tells more of a story.

“People get caught up in what the child looks like,” she said

She’d rather people experience the emotions of her painted characters.

Immurs has been drawn to art since she was a child and recalls inheriting a supply of oil paints from a family friend after he died when she was 15.

Unlike Immurs, who’s been painting her whole life, Taruna Singh picked it up during the lockdowns of 2020 after she was laid off from a job in graphic design.

“To deal with my own anxiety and depression. I started painting,” she said.

Singh said her work is very emotional.

“It’s my heart, my everything on canvas,” she said.

Singh said she takes a lot of inspiration from the Women, Life, Freedom movement, an Iranian women’s rights movement which began in September 2022 after a woman was killed by Iranian moral police for not wearing her hijab properly. 

“I’ve lived in so many parts of the world now. And I experienced so many different cultures. That’s what inspires me,” she said.

Singh was originally born in India but currently lives in Oakville.

Singh likes to mix her acrylic paint with other materials to produce a unique texture in her paintings and encourages people to touch her canvases as part of their experience.

“I use whatever I can to kind of make the art more dimensional,” she said.

Lise Andreana, board chair at the Pumphouse, was pleased to see a diverse showing of artists at this year’s show.

“What’s life without culture?” she said.

Artists get good exposure at the annual event, Andreana said, which is why many choose to come back year after year.

“I’m always pleased to see the number of new artists coming in because that keeps a show fresh,” she said. 

She said they had almost 25 per cent more artists this year over last year.

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