by Riley Cassidy
Airdrie-based artist Veronica Funk’s massive project, titled, “The Grandmothers,” is being exhibited for the first time, on display at the Leighton Art Centre in Millarville, Alta.
The project is the collection of 60 painted portraits and stories of different women who continue to serve as inspiration to their descendants to this day, featuring 30 Albertan grandmothers, and 30 more from around Canada and the rest of the world.
Funk finished the project in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, so there have been few opportunities to share it with the public, but the project was finally exhibited for the first time on February 5.
Funk said she was elated that she can finally physically share the project with others.
“Museums and galleries have been closed so much, so this is actually the first time there’s been an opening,” said Funk.
“I knew I was going to have to wait (to show the project), so this was kind of like the icing on the cake. This was the perfect opportunity,” she said.
53 of the 60 grandmothers are on display at the Leighton Art Centre. Folks who go to check it out will be able to find a seat to read through the stories that are paired with each portrait.
It’s one of the first two exhibits that the Leighton Art Centre has been able to showcase since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and given its history, Funk said she was honoured to be featured.
“Barbara Leighton was the one who started the Leighton Art Centre. It’s a historical building, and fitting that these grandmothers are in there,” she said.
“It’s so nice that it was a woman who started this as an art centre, and these grandmothers are being shown there. It’s just the perfect fit with the Leighton Art Centre.”
Funk has been approached about having the project featured in other exhibits, but so far there are no concrete plans.
She said she would like to exhibit it in Airdrie, but current opportunities are scarce.
“We don’t have a lot of opportunities for local artists to show their work anymore in Airdrie. Maybe someday (it will come to Airdrie),” she said.
The Leighton Art Centre is about an hour drive from Airdrie, but checking out, “The Grandmothers,” may be a good excuse for a day trip for anybody who might feel like going for a drive.
More about the exhibit and Funk can be found at leightoncentre.org or veronicafunk.com.