Eesti Elu
‘Outsider Inside’ – bringing the 2014 Song and Dance Festival to Toronto via art
Kultuur 14 Feb 2015 EL (Estonian Life)Eesti Elu
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Named a ‘Collage Series’, the exhibit features the Art of Jessie (Anneli Viirlaid) McNeil, a Vancouver based interdisciplinary artist, curator, festival coordinator – probably totally comfortable in expressing herself within many other settings.

A 2013 graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design, McNeil’s work has ranged from book media to collage, examining themes of place, collective and personal memory, language, landscape emphasizing cultural history and identity. She is drawn to the dilemmas of cultural identity having Estonian heritage on her mother’s side, Scottish on her father’s.

(People of Estonian heritage recognize the Viirlaid name belonging to her grandfather, Arved Viirlaid, acknowledged as the most prolific novelist, poet, memoirist in the exile Estonian community, whose works reflect not only the tragedy befallen the nation but also the resilience and determination of the people to survive the aggressiveness and brutality of a totalitarian foreign regime.)

Last year she was invited to be the resident artist at Tartu, the Estonian Printing Museum & Paper Museum (Trükimuuseum and Paberimuuseum).

Her eclectic work has been exhibited in Vancouver, New Westminster, Tartu, Burnaby, London, with artist talks at several of her exhibition locations. She has also resided in Barcelona and Paris.

Her talent has been recognized by a Vancouver Foundation DTES Small Arts Grant, by being a Nominee for BMO Art First Award, by winning the solo artist piece at the First Annual Ruby’s Ukes Ukulele Song Contest, by winning the Henry Boyer de la Giroday Memorial Scholarship, the Linda Fritzler Memorial Scholarship, the Drawing Studio Award and the Vancouver School Board District Scholarship for Fine Arts.

Not only has she been a productive artist, bug she has also carried the responsibilities of a curator at numerous events such as the Nordic Culture Days in Vancouver, as a curator/coordinator at Canzine West in Vancouver and with numerous other events and cultural festivals.

Her works are permanently available to see in the artist book collection of Emily Carr University Library, at Halifax’s Anchor Archive Zine Library and in private collections throughout Canada, Mexico, the U.S. and Europe.

“Outsider Inside” opens on Wednesday, February 18 at 7:00 pm in Tartu College. The talk will be in English.
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