courage :: Okan Arts


Shackleton Lecture PosterBy Patricia Belyea 

VICTORIA BC  This afternoon I watched Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure, an IMAX film, at Royal BC Museum in Victoria. Familiar with the heroic exploits of Sir Ernest Shackleton, I wanted to know more about his courage to overcome all the hardships he endured.

Never once in the movie was the word “courage” mentioned. Instead the premise of the story was that Shackleton exhibited great leadership and his 27 fellow adventurers showed great endurance . Surely courage lay at the heart of the journey’s outcome—the survival of all after almost two years of extreme circumstances.

My twin sister, Pamela, gave a farewell speech to the artistic community at Gage Academy of Art ten days ago entitled “Courage”. To follow are excerpts from her rousing speech which she delivered while wearing the dean’s vestments from St. Mark’s Cathedral:

“Courage—it’s a big word. We use courage to describe heroes of war & strife – people who have faced down fear, uncertainty, danger and intimidation.”

“Since Courage describes a brew of perseverance, honesty and passion, I have become acutely aware of the Courage required by artists to forge ahead in their work. Indeed, Artists have to face the blank canvas; they have to face the toughest boss (themselves); the loneliest job and an uncertain professional future, at best.”

St. Mark’s Lion

Pamela gave the first-ever Award of Courage to third-year atelier student Ulan Moore who overcame his own personal challenges to attend Gage, finished significantly more work this year than any other atelier student, helped out many beginning atelier students until the wee hours of the morning, and volunteered in countless ways to help the school.

Reading the transcript of Pamela’s speech inspired me to take on the theme of Courage in my next quilt. The ability to confront fear and the fortitude to forge forward against incredible opposition make it a compelling virtue to interpret with my newly dyed indigo fabrics.

(The Award of Courage was designed and fabricated by Seattle paper artist, Patty Grazini.)



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