Goodbye, Saskatoon.

As some of you already know, my tenure in Saskatoon – and the Prairies – is coming to an end.



This means that my various writings that privilege this place for many publications will also be coming to an end, as my focus on “contested histories” moves elsewhere with me. It also means that the A Word radio show – and the accompanying blog, that in the last few years has been primarily the radio show, an “events calendar” for visual arts in Saskatoon and a bit beyond, and a means to access my writings about this place with other publications – will be “relocating” with me, and be rebooted in a new place. Negotiations for that have already started, and its a very exciting and rewarding endeavour for me.

As you read this, I should add that there’s at least two (or three) other pieces that will not yet see the light of day in publication until I’ve left Saskatoon, so the conversation may continue, briefly, for a little while longer. But my own history has taught me that when I generally leave a place, I don’t return, and have little desire to do so (except for brief visits), and that will be very true here, I suspect.

Ignazio Nighttraveller Gazzola (1998 - 2015), editing my piece on ReWilding Modernity for HA & L

Ignazio Nighttraveller Gazzola (1998 – 2015), editing my piece on ReWilding Modernity for HA & L. Note the look of exasperation.

I could enumerate what I’ve done here, and how I helped change the landscape (being a founding member of paved, teaching at the U of S for 10 plus years, my five year tenure as BlackFlash Editorial Chair and my long history of ARC board membership are just a few): but I have no interest to do so. I feel my real contributions have been how my writings on art have been published in nearly every issue of the Planet for more than the past decade, and I can’t remember if I’ve just broached 8 or 9 years doing the radio show with CFCR 90.5 FM (support them, visual arts community, as they’ve been extremely supportive of you all, in various forms). It has been mostly a joy: the latter was entirely volunteer work, but allowed for personal and public conversations about art and site that helped broaden this community, and enrich it.

I could also burn quite a few bridges, but again, I have no interest to do so: many people here within the visual arts community and beyond have been wonderful, and I count them as friends, colleagues or respected sparring partners in the realm of ideas and art. The rest may return to their foolishness, “as a dog returneth to his vomit” (Prov 26:11 – you knew a Bible quote would appear in this, I suspect).

I am very sad I will not be able to write about the ongoing Remai Modern and the ideas of locality / internationality that will play out with the new Chief Curator, as a further exploration of my recent conversation with Gregory Burke about using the Emma Lake model of bringing the world here.
Or perhaps my nearly two decades here will be put to use in speaking about that in the larger national and international narrative: my time here has marked me, and perhaps I’m like that palimpsest that is so often used as an analogy for here, and it will continue to surface and inform who I am, and what I do.
I’m posting this now, a little while before my leaving, as things are moving forward quickly, and my thoughts are already elsewhere: but it seemed appropriate and necessary to say goodbye.

About Bart Gazzola

Bart Gazzola has published with Canadian Art, Galleries West, FUSE, Hamilton Arts & Letters, BlackFlash, ArtSeen, ti<, Long Exposure and Magenta. Past curatorial projects include REGION (Contemporary Saskatchewan Painting) and Personal Geographies (an overview of The Photographers Gallery collection). Gazzola was Editorial Chair of BlackFlash Magazine (3 years), and was the visual arts critic for Planet S Magazine. He held the latter role for more than a decade, publishing reviews about Saskatoon visual arts and the larger community twice monthly. He's a frequent contributor to The SoundSTC and is the facilitator of the 5 x 2 Image Makers Conversations, through Rodman Hall Art Centre.
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