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Donnalee Downe embodies her art

Hosting Event Casualty, March 31, 2017 photograph diptych by Donnalee DowneDonnalee Downe of Charlottetown wants to use the grant that she received from the 2017 PEI Grants to Artists program to create work that explores the preparations involved when hosting in domestic spaces.

She says that she has become increasingly interested in works which involve elements of performance, and how movement becomes embodied in the practice of art. An obvious example is how dancers move, but perhaps less obvious is for example, how a potter pulls up the sides the clay, or how a painter strokes with the brush. Donnalee says,“How the thing that you do makes the thing that you make.” 

Donnalee’s own practice has for years involved bringing people together into her own spaces, into her home, for such things as the Peake Street Collective art events and exhibits, this town is small meetings and Art in the Open “wrap parties.” What she embodies as she readies and conducts these events is her own form of art practice.

A second aspect of her interest is in the process of archiving, in particular photographing what goes on, either in the online Instagram way or in physical photo albums. And the perceived differences between these two. Her archiving practice also includes photographing what she calls memory objects, including “stuff that’s not important,” such as everything that’s in the “junk drawer.”

Donnalee is already putting her grant funds to work. “They allow a freedom to have things happen.” She foresees hosting approximately ten events, some open to the public—exploring the roles played by food, music and conversation—while photographing what goes on with the people, the space, the objects involved.

The grant funds will also allow her to print these photographs for a future exhibition. “It is a bit of a dream come true,” she says, being able to cover the costs for high quality archival prints. “I realize that virtually any lens can render new work and rejuvenate a practice. I am grateful for the generous funding.”

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