Robert L. Peters

24 November 2018

Some positive change, in Canada…

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Winnipeg, Canada

At a ceremony held on 19 November at The Canadian Museum for Human Rights here in Winnipeg, Canada’s new $10 banknote was launched into circulation. The face side of the note features civil rights activist Viola Desmond, first Canadian woman to be profiled on a regularly circulating banknote, with the The Canadian Museum for Human Rights on the other.

The first vertically oriented banknote in Canada, the design includes an artistic rendering of Halifax’s north end and waterfront, where Viola Desmond lived and owned a beauty salon; also depicted is an eagle feather, which the Bank of Canada says represents the ongoing journey toward recognizing rights and freedoms for Indigenous people.

On Nov. 8, 1946, Desmond took in a movie at the Roseland Theatre in New Glasgow while her car was getting fixed. When she refused to leave the whites-only section on the main level of the theatre, Desmond, 32, was dragged out by police and jailed. Black people were only allowed to sit in the balcony of the theatre. Her defiance shone a light on the civil rights movement and helped motivate the struggle against racial segregation in Canada.

Segregation was legally ended in Nova Scotia in 1954, in part because of the publicity generated by Desmond’s case. She is often described as Canada’s Rosa Parks, even though Desmond’s act of defiance happened nine years before Parks refused to give up her seat on an Alabama bus.

Read more in a CBC news report here. Read an in-depth primer article by The Globe and Mail here. Watch a Heritage Minute (video) about Ms. Desmond here.

Images above: The new vertical Canadian $10 bill that goes into circulation in the next month; Viola Desmond’s sister Wanda Robson with the new bill (at the launch ceremony in Winnipeg).

Image below: The old/outgoing $10 bill featuring Canada’s first prime minister and “founding father,” John A. Macdonald, along with a western osprey (Pandion haliaetus) — I’m happy to see the end of Macdonald in my wallet (he’s now widely seen as responsible for horrific genocide of Indigenous People in this country) — though I did quite like the large fish hawk.

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17 November 2018

Joni Mitchell at 75… Happy Birthday!

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Los Angeles, California

“On an early November day in 1966, a tall, thin, Nordic-Celtic vision in a minidress and clunky heels, hunched over the microphone at the Second Fret coffeehouse in Philadelphia, and against her then-husband’s wishes, she sang the songs she was beginning to write in great creative gusts. It was the moment that Joni Mitchell — a wounded, determined runaway from a complicated childhood in the Canadian prairies and soon enough from an unhappy marriage — became a star.”

The news media (around the world) have been abuzz in the past weeks with praise for and tributes to the one and only Joni Mitchell, who turned 75 last week. The inimitable artist has been mostly “lying low” lately, recovering from a brain aneurysm suffered in 2015, though she has made a few public appearances. In early November, a two-night gala benefit for LA’s flagship performing arts destination, the Music Center, “was crafted by loving hands to make a space for Mitchell to inhabit, likely in silence, and hear her voice come alive through her friends and acolytes.” Read more here, herehere, or here. 

Our design team at Circle was delighted to have the opportunity (in 2007) to design a stamp commemorating the song-writing and musical legacy of Joni Mitchell — one in a set of four stamps also celebrating Canadian musical artists Gordon Lightfoot (who turned 80 today!), Anne Murray, and Paul Anka. For Joni’s stamp, we were able to obtain usage rights for a beautiful photo by New York photographer Gregory Heisler/Cpi.

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14 November 2018

NO!

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In heartening news, this just in…

Friend Gary Taxali shares: “I just got a phonecall and I am very excited to announce my artwork, “NO” won a Gold Medal at the Society of Illustrators in NYC! Thank you to the judges for this very special honour. Especially for recognizing this image because it speaks to the amount of hate that’s growing in the world.”


7 November 2018

There is a crack in everything…

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Montreal, Canada

It’s two years ago today since poet/troubadour Leonard Cohen moved on into the next dimension. I came across this insightful tribute by Maria Popova online (with thanks to Brenda Sanderson for the link)…

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There Is a Crack in Everything, That’s How the Light Gets In: Leonard Cohen on Democracy and Its Redemptions

A generous reminder that we must aim for “a revelation in the heart rather than a confrontation or a call-to-arms or a defense.”

Trained as a poet and ordained as a Buddhist monk, Leonard Cohen (September 21, 1934–November 7, 2016) is our patron saint of sorrow and redemption. He wrote songs partway between philosophy and prayer — songs radiating the kind of prayerfulness which Simone Weil celebrated as “the rarest and purest form of generosity.”

One of his most beloved lyric lines, from the song “Anthem” — a song that took Cohen a decade to write — remains what is perhaps the most meaningful message for our troubled and troubling times: “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” It springs from a central concern of Cohen’s life and work, one which he revisited in various guises across various songs — including in “Suzanne,” where he writes “look among the garbage and the flowers / there are heroes in the seaweed,” and in the iconic “Hallelujah”: “There’s a blaze of light / In every word / It doesn’t matter which you heard / The holy or the broken Hallelujah”.

Read the whole post on Brain Pickings


26 October 2018

Sculpting, sculpting…

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Winnipeg Beach, Manitoba

My partner Evelin recently took a year’s sabbatical from making sculpture, but says “It’s gratifying to know that there’s still ‘an appetite’ for my work.” Four of her figurative pieces have sold in the past few months — some through the Pulse Gallery (at The Forks, Winnipeg), and some directly to collectors who contacted her through her studio. She’s now back in the atelier sculpting away… timely, as the autumn seems to be turning less favourable for “playing outside.”

Sculptures recently sold: ‘Deep Within (which went to Paris); ‘Carrot & Ginger‘; ‘Believe,’ my homage to aviator Amelia Earhart; and ‘Third Time Lucky,’ the metaphoric piece depicting a stressed, myopic lifeguard.


17 October 2018

As of today, cannabis is legal across Canada…

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Coast to coast to coast...

Today, Canada became the largest country in the world and the third (following Portugal and Uruguay) with a legal national marijuana marketplace. Read more here…

My photo in September 2017, Cox Bay Beach, Tofino (British Columbia).


29 September 2018

“American Justice”

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Source: Bruce MacKinnon | The Chronicle Herald, Halifax


1 July 2018

Reconciliation… begins with acknowledgement and understanding.

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Winnipeg, Manitoba

Canada, which just finished celebrating its 150th year as a “nation,” has a big problem. Since Europeans first arrived, the founding fathers “…used racism, bigotry and discrimination as a tool to not only assimilate First Nations into the Canadian polity, but to engage in a deliberate policy of genocide both cultural and physical…” Surprisingly, there are still many Canadians who are not aware of the country’s dark history, which makes it difficult for them to help bring about the positive change that is so needed.

A decade ago, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) was organized by the parties of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. Established in June 2008 with the purpose of documenting the history and impacts of the Indian residential school, it provided former residential school attendees an opportunity to share their experiences during public and private meetings held across the country.

In June 2015, the TRC released an Executive Summary of its findings along with 94 “calls to action” regarding reconciliation between Canadians and Indigenous peoples. The Commission officially concluded in December 2015 with the publication of a multi-volume report that concluded the school system amounted to cultural genocide. The TRC’s “calls to action” provide a clear path forward…

Links to two significant documents are provided here (in PDF form). Click on the images above for access and to download the documents. Please feel free to share this post…


21 June 2018

Natural Reflections (the book-launch was today)

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Winnipeg, Canada 

The launch of our book, Natural Reflections, took place this evening at McNally Robinson’s Booksellers in Winnipeg. I read select texts from the book’s five chapters, Mike displayed a dozen enlarged photographic prints (and provided back-story re: their creation), and we both answered questions from the standing-room-only audience who had gathered for the occasion. Fun!

Earlier in the day, I did a radio interview with Marjorie Dowhos, host of CBC Manitoba’s ‘Radio Noon,’ and Mike did an interview in French earlier CBC’s ‘Radio Canada’

An inspiring and highly original book of photography takes the reader on an unforgettable walk through the vast and wide beauty of “Natural Canada.” Natural Reflections captures natural beauty from the exceptional viewpoint and unique perspective of Mike Grandmaison’s lens.

A singular gallery of images is curated, amplified and informed by the observations of Robert L. Peters. Filled with insightful musings, truisms and parallel quotations from some of the world’s greatest thinkers, this book is bound to inspire and truly engage both halves of the brain. Divided into five contemplative chapters – On Inspiration, On Seeing, On Intimacy, On Order, On Change – this lavishly produced volume comprises a rich and seamless interweaving of image and word.

This is a book not to be missed by anyone interested in the natural world (and its preservation), the art of outdoor photography, the creative process or this vast land called Canada. The photographer and author, long-time friends and avid nature-lovers, share the humble view that, like a Mother, the Earth both bore us and sustains us, asking little in return but love and respect. This book is their reciprocal tribute and holistic offering.

The book is available at McNally’s and other book-sellers worldwide ( ISBN-10: 1771602546 / ISBN-13: 978-1771602549 ) as well as from online vendors such as Amazon and Chapters, etc…

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25 May 2018

Ay ay. Chi miigwetch. Thanks!!! Merci. Dankeschön. Gracias. Obrigado. Grazie…

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Winnipeg Beach, Manitoba

I am overwhelmed with gratitude, and thankful for the hundreds of friends, colleagues, and family members (around the world) who have held me in their thoughts and prayers during my recent health ordeal. I am also grateful beyond words to the specialists, doctors, nurses(!), nursing assistants, technicians, orderlies, physiotherapists and other vital hospital personnel who have helped me through one of the greatest trials of my life. It goes without saying that I am also incredibly thankful to live in Canada, where citizens are provided with universal healthcare!

I have happily returned with Evelin to her home, after spending the past seven weeks in four different hospitals (Selkirk, HSC in Winnipeg, Arborg, and then Gimli). I am weak, but recovering. Evelin stayed by my side throughout the 51 days in hospitals, sleeping watchfully along side me every night — what a love! I am now learning to walk again, and with the help of canes, am beginning to climb stairs as well.

What exactly transpired at Easter is still somewhat unclear (to the experts, as well as to me). What we do know is that I had a severe case of sepsis, which triggered a serious cardiac event and then an explosive series of strokes. I was heavily medicated with opiates for the first month, while doctors struggled to stabilize me and the various bodily functions that had been impacted. I’m very fortunate that, as MRIs are showing, the brain damage I suffered was only on the right side — not affecting my ability to remember, to speak, etc.

My focus over the next months (perhaps years) will be to heal, quietly and steadily, and regain whatever semblance of “normal” is available to me.

Again, a huge “Thank You!” for the love, prayers, encouragement and “light” that so many sent to me.


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