Sarganis a Finalist for Kingston Prize

It started 10 years ago for Peter Sarganis.

Before he was chosen as a finalist for the Kingston Prize, before he had begun the painting, before he had even met his subject, the bombing of the Twin Towers captured his attention. Like many others, he followed the event on television, and collected magazines about it. He used art to capture the emotion of the day.

Nothing happened for five years until he met Noah.

“Noah’s a special young man.” Sarganis said, “He’s dealt with physical ailments since birth, but he has an incredible personality. He’s the kind of person who inspires you to want to do stuff.”

Noah Sebastien Klein was four when he, his mother, and his younger sister witnessed 9/11. The dust created by the event made breathing difficult for Noah, who had breathed through a tracheotomy.

9/11 filtered in the 8-painting series of Noah, and objects from the event. The series, titled Dust/Breath: A Day in the Life of Noah Sebastien Klein, took about a year to complete, and was Sarganis’ first solo exhibition in 10 years. The exhibition ran at the Sidney Gertrude Zack Gallery in Vancouver from September 8 to September 26.

When asked about how Noah felt about having eight paintings of himself displayed in a public gallery, Sarganis laughed. “I think having eight big paintings of yourself would be quite something in any situation.”

Though he had some reservations before the exhibition, they dissapated when it went up.

“The last time I talked to him, he said that he really loves it, and that he thinks that it’s awesome. So for me that was a huge relief.” Sarganis said.

“Noah in the Kitchen”, one of the paintings in the exhibiton, was perhaps the most stressful for Sarganis, not only because of its detail and complexity, but also because of its deadline for the Kingston Prize for Canadian Portraiture.

This biennial competition is open to all Canadian artists, regardless of their professional level, who have produced a portrait within 24 months of the submission deadline. Thirty are chosen to be represented in a travelling exhibition, and among those four prizes are awarded: the Kingston Prize – worth $10,000, the People’s Choice Award, and two Honourable Mentions.

“Noah in Kitchen”  was chosen from among 451 entries from across the country to be part of the travelling exhibit.

The exhibition will travel from Gananoque, Ontario, through Toronto, and end in Drummondville, Quebec. Stationed at the Firehall Theatre in Gananoque, and remaining there until October 23, the painting will move to the Royal Ontario Museum for a gala on November 10, at which time the prize winners will be announced.

“It would be amazing to be selected, at the very least, as the runner-up painting, or the top painting,” Sarganis said, “but regardless of that, just the fact that it was selected for this exhibition – in terms of my personal exhibiting and art life and career, it’s probably the biggest thing so far.”

Update: Congratulations to Mr. Sarganis. “Noah in the Kitchen” was chosen as one of the top five paintings in the exhibit.

The exhibit will continue to be shown at the Royal Ontario Museum until January 29, 2011, and will also be displayed at La Gallerie d’art Desjardins from February 28 until April 8, 2012.

To view all paintings in the exhibit, as well as other prize winners, click here

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