Arts

  • Talking Turkey About Tulips

    Ottawa’s annual Tulip Festival owes its origins to a Turkish refugee and Canada going Dutch during the Second World War, Susan Korah discovers.

    The transformation couldn’t be more dramatic. Each May, thousands of tulips in full bloom turn Ottawa’s parks and public gardens into bursts of vibrant colour, ranging from fiery reds and yellows to delicate pastels—all the more striking after the dreary gr...

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  • Borat’s Subsequent Shallowness

    Sacha Baron Cohen’s sequel satirizing America’s cultural moment is at once crude and convincing yet suffers from a cruel refusal to see those it mocks as human, Josh Nadeau writes.  

    Like many other North Americans trying to make the best of the pandemic’s second wave, I sat down last week and watched Amazon Prime’s latest sensation: Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. It’s a sequel to 2006’s Borat, which saw comedian Sacha Ba...

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  • Beethoven, Spring and Nature

    As spring has sprung, Fr. Raymond de Souza reflects on how the Kingston Symphony’s melded-together performance of two vastly different compositions show that while man and nature often collide, God’s creation is still a garden.

    It’s springtime. Let the crocuses – but not the viruses – bloom. And if it is not possible to get outdoors to enjoy the spring in this coronavirus season, why not listen to it? I did just that six weeks ago, courtesy of the Kingston Symphony.

    The ver...

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  • The Timeless Treasure of Little Women

    Dayna Slusar says the latest remake transforms Louisa May Alcott’s 19th century classic into a dazzling mosaic of 21st century sisterhood.

    Leaving the theatre after watching director Greta Gerwig’s Little Women, I was disappointed. The film itself wasn’t a disappointment although, in my frustration, that was my initial conclusion. I realize now, a few days out, that my feelings after ...

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  • The Cultural Mousetrap of Cats

    The less-than-purrfect Cats movie presents an underlying problem with the way in which our entertainment industry claws at art and replaces it with something in-fur-ior. 

    Cats the movie is worse than bad. It is offal. 

    Its director, Tom Hooper, utterly guts the gentle soul of T.S. Eliot’s classic Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, from which the film is drawn as if by a child’s hand in green and or...

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  • Stitching an Abrahamic Tapestry

    During the years he spent knitting together a vast artwork of ecumenism, Kirk Dunn thought he might be wasting his time. Convivium’s Rebecca Darwent writes that what he produced is just what our present time needs.

    Photo credit: Jorjas Photography

    Unveiling the artist’s work at the end of a show might seem back...

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  • Kanye Dig It? He’s Really Christian

    While listeners puzzle over what to make of Kanye West’s new Gospel album, Jesus is King, Aaron Neil argues that Ye’s Christianity has been part of his music all along.

    Kanye West is not a typical celebrity. The producer, rapper, fashion designer, and entrepreneur repeatedly dizzies fans with eruptive interviews, award show antics, and innovative albums. His recent conversion to Christianity broadcast on his latest album, ...

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  • A Concerto of Prayer

    Collin Pierlott hears the presence of God in music – even when words are absent.

    I often turn to music, as many do, as an avenue of prayer to God. However, I also listen to pieces of music without lyrics and have found these lyricless pieces to be quite effective for reflection and prayer. I sometimes find the artistic expressions of hu...

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  • The Word That Gives Birth to Art

    Montreal actor, singer and writer Alisha Ruiss reflects on the way a collaborative event she long dreamed of creating was given flesh by musical theatre artists at the city’s Segal Centre this past spring.

    “The feminine is that which receives inspiration, grace, life, holds it within the body, and gives it existence. Woman is the receiver through whom God transmits the life-giving signal of His love into the world. The mediatrix. The medium in His will made m...

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  • Alberta's Show of Hands

    Premier Jason Kenney’s no-frills swearing in gives Father Raymond de Souza time to turn from politics to art and find beauty in the work of human hands.

    EDMONTON – The swearing-in of Alberta’s 18th premier, Jason Thomas Kenney, and his cabinet was a rather workmanlike affair, in contrast to the swearing-in of Rachel Notley four years ago. Then, the ceremony was held outdoors, on the expansive groun...

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  • Born to Fly: Mary Poppins, Bruce Springsteen, and the Spell of Immortality

    Children remind us not to look backward in nostalgia, but to look forward to a freedom that childhood merely prefigures, writes author Jennifer Trafton. The Mary Poppins sequel is a piece of art that unpacks the variety of gifts that imagination offers—and the freedom it promises.

    This piece was originally published in The Rabbit Room.

    My husband is a crier in movies; I am not. Occasionally something w...

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  • Waiting for Aslan

    An Ottawa production of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe leaves Convivium’s Rachel DeBruyn sensing the anticipation of Advent and the impact of the way in which we remember.

    Photo by Chris Spencer

    Imagine if it were always winter, but never Christmas. 

    This is a daunting prospect (especially for Can...

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  • Redeeming a Doofus Sweater

    Our reviewer, John Robson, caps his acid pen after discovering that a musical version of “The Hockey Sweater” scores where Roch Carrier’s original short story whiffed worse than the Leafs trying to make the playoffs.

    Frankly I wasn’t keen on the assignment when my editor first handed it to me. Write a review of the musical adaptation of Roch Carrier’s beloved “The Hockey Sweater” at Ottawa’s National Arts Centre. Great. A boring Canadian classic of Quebec tribalism over...

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  • Religious, Not Holy

    Patti Smith—the punk poet laureate—identifies Christ as an artist, crafting his ideal of salvation with imagination. Smith’s own art and imagination, writes Convivium Publisher Peter Stockland, is a cry against the modern mania for “God usurped by Goal.”

    In his introduction to Patti’s Smith’s gloriously strange and vivid 2018 book The New Jerusalem, Dutch writer Rob Riemen asks the essential question about one of the world’s great and famously invisible ar...

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  • Shredded Suite

    Famed street painter Banksy’s sneak attack on his own freshly auctioned work may seem like hanky-panky for philistines, but Convivium’s Rachel DeBruyn contends it’s of a piece with the artistic urge to create, destroy and m’oeuvre it on over again.

    Last week, Banksy pulled a stunt that left the world buzzing and my family theorizing across the turkey and stuffing. Shortly after the gavel fell at an auction in London, confirming that Girl With Balloon had sold for £1 million, the print fell halfway thr...

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  • Super As We Are

    Josh Nadeau finds virtue in the signals sent by superhero cinema.

    Looking back at some of the highest-grossing films last year, one can certainly see a pattern: Spider-Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor, Wonder Woman. And it’s no blip – box office returns from the decade so far have all...

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  • Esther Bryan's Two Quilts: Visible & Invisible

    In the monumental Quilt of Belonging, writers Sharon Dawn Johnson and Peggy Arnell discover, human eyes can witness God’s purposeful, guiding hand at work

    Certain artworks offer a profound experience of mystery and that is most certainly true of Quilt of Belonging (quiltofbelonging.ca). This monumental piece of textile art, 120 feet long and 10 feet high, has a wondrous presence that draws vie...

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  • The Gospel Spell of Godspell

    With a new production of Godspell about to open in Ottawa just before Easter, Convivium’s Hannah Marazzi talks to artistic director Jonathan Harris about what makes a 48-year-old play about 2000 year old Scriptures such captivating theatre for today’s audiences.

    Convivium: You are the artistic director of the production of Godspell which is being put on by the 9th Hour Theatre Company at Centrepointe Studio March 8-17 here in Ottawa. Tell us about the unique vision of the 9th Ho...

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  • Funny Like Judges

    Martin McDonagh’s latest film brilliantly blends the Bible and pitch black comedy, writes Convivium reviewer Erik DeLange.

    There is a brutal and haunting scene in the middle of Martin McDonagh’s latest film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri in which the young racist cop named Dixon (played by Sam Rockwell with Oscar-worthy depth and simplicity) comes unhinged b...

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  • Every Moment Holy

    Do you have liturgy at the ready for ordinary life? Today, Convivium contributor Anthony Diehl reviews Doug Mckelvey's Every Moment Holy, a liturgical companion that baptizes the everyday in prayer. 

    A good liturgy gives us words to pray together in key formative moments of our discipleship: gathering to worship, confessing our sin, lamenting our suffering, confessing our faith, celebrating the Eucharist, baptism, marriage, and burying the dead. These p...

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  • Blade Runner: The Miracle of Birth

    Director Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 is far more than a sequel to the 1982 classic about robot rebellion. It recovers from the dregs of techno-saturated hedonism, Convivium reviewer Stephen Porter writes, a theology of the body making dignity inseparable from sexuality ordered toward life

    In a society frequently left wanting of wonder, science fiction has emerged as a refuge for the modern audience. Information is increasingly well within our grasp, and our understanding the world around us grows exponentially in ever-decreasing increments o...

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  • Signposts of the New Creation

    As the Convivium Team reflects on the launch of the Sacred Spaces Gallery, Hannah Marazzi sits down with Makoto Fujimura, artist, writer, and catalyst to understand the role of beauty, belonging, and art as signs of the New Creation. 

    This past year, Convivium launched the Sacred Spaces Gallery, a unique online space devoted to contemplating the intersection of the sacred and divine within ordinary life. Photographers from across the n...

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  • An Artist’s Hand

    Photographer Rob Wilson submits this photograph as a testimony to the art and song of creation. 

    The pristine canvas of cloud cover reflects off a lake, giving the illusion of a symmetrical painting of the peaks of Mount Shuksan, viewed from Artist Point in Washington State, USA. With no clear sense of depth or space, the crystal clear reflection makes...

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  • A Musical Heart Shift

    People of faith pursue God, but gospel musician Brooke Nicholls reminds us in this Convivium interview that God also pursues His people. The meeting place between them, the Chatham Ontario native tells Hannah Marazzi, is invariably touched by beautiful song. 

    Convivium: You’ve said that you “fell in love with music when you were just a little girl” and that you would sing duets with your father and listen to your mother sing hymns as she went about her day. Is there a particular song of faith that you ca...

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