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JHSBC Oral History Collection
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Joyce Ozier

Oral Interview with Joyce Ozier for the JMABC Artists Scribe. Interviewed by Carol Herbert. She speaks about her upbringing in the Jewish community of Boston, MA and provides a brief summary of her immediate family. She talks about her education, including her early artistic influences, and anecdotes relating to producing art and experiences as a child and teen. Joyce talks about how her arts career truly started in the experimental theatre/performance art scene in 1970 Vancouver. She talks about how this led her into arts administration in dance companies, and later teaching English as a second language into her fifties. Joyce explains how ESL teaching didn’t bring her the same happiness as the arts, and how her son convinced her to try store window dressing, which she eventually turned into a business for 10 years. She tells of how she transitioned to a full time visual artist, and how her art style is based in abstraction, movement and thematic use of colour. She also describes a prominent collection of work about the Holocaust that she is most proud of. She talks about how she continues to paint, and is also a part of a collective that she created for artists aged 65 and above called the B-Older Gallery.

Miriam Aroeste

Oral Interview with Miriam Aroeste for the JMABC Artists Scribe. Interviewed by Daniella Givon. Miriam was born in Mexico City in 1961 and she explains how her family ended up in Mexico from Poland prior to WWII. She discusses her immediate family, and how her and her husband resettled in Vancouver in 1990. Miriam talks about her career in the film industry and how she transitioned to visual arts with inspiration from her father and the need to balance her career with parenthood. She speaks about having little interest in arts, besides dance, growing up, but that changed when she lived in Europe for almost a decade during her 20s. Miriam describes her art style as more abstract than figurative and discusses her love of bright colours and the necessity of knowing what you want from an art career. She talks about curating art for Vancouver’s 2010 Olympics, selling her work, and the kinds of commissions she enjoys. Lastly Miriam discusses her time in art galleries as an artist, curator and art consultant and what she had learned about art collectors and art institutions along the way.

Susy Naylor

Oral Interview with Susy Naylor for the JMABC Artists Scribe. Interviewed by Helen Aqua. Susy was born in Brooklyn in 1943 and talks about her family history in the city and abroad, as well as her immigration to Canada as an adult. She talks about her education including two nursing degrees which led her to teach nursing upon moving to Winnipeg. Wanting to transition to counselling, Susy moved to Coquitlam and commuted to school in Washington which eventually enabled her to open a private practice. Susy describes her challenges doing art from home as a middle-aged mother and how her outlook on her artistic ability changed as she did more workshops and gained mentorship, albeit still experiencing impostor syndrome. Susy discusses how her paintings don’t truly have stories, but are ambiguous and she loves to hear the interpretations of the viewers. Susy also discusses how participating in a Leonard Cohen themed art show made her realize her difficulties visualizing imagery in her head when she had an idea, helping to clarify her artistic process. She talks about her involvement in galleries and art crawls, and teaching classes to others who question if they can be an artist.

Anna Lutsky

Oral Interview with Anna Lutsky for the JMABC Artists Scribe. Interviewed by Helen Aqua. Anna was born in Tunis in 1952. She describes her family history, mostly situated within Tunisia, where her artistic influences came from her mother and sister. She recalls going to a strict French school in Tunis until the age of 16, when her family moved to a diverse kibbutz in Israel. She discusses the beginning of her art career as a young mother at the age of 22. Anna describes how her artwork acted as diaries for the places she lived throughout her life, including France, Italy and Cyprus, where the landscapes were the common sources of inspiration. She talks about how her art evolved into a mixed-media style that included painting on objects like furniture or clothing to repurpose their form and function, but one of her largest reoccurring themes remains nature. Anna tells of her most prominent memories of galleries and exhibitions where her art has been shown; this includes turning her home into a gallery, but also participating in World Expos abroad and being commissioned to represent France and Canada with her pieces. She further discusses how her art is more secular than reflective of Jewish connections.

Nora Patrich

Oral History Interview with Nora Patrich for the JMABC Artists Scribe. Interviewed by Carol Herbert. Patrich was born in Argentina in 1952 and speaks about her upbringing between Argentina, Israel and the United States. She discusses her exposure to political activism and Latin American expressionist art throughout her formative years, including mentorship within her father’s politically charged arts collective named the Spartacus Movement. She tells her experience of the military coup in Argentina during the ‘70s, that forced her into exile in Israel with young children after her husband was assassinated. She explains how this led to a life of traveling activism denouncing Argentina’s past military atrocities, including anti-Semitic genocide, and fighting for human rights through art and protest. Patrich’s primary art mediums are painted murals and sculptures; she discusses their public installments into places like past concentration camps and military bombing sites, and how her art will always be political. She closes by talking about doing mosaic work, independent book printing and publishing, and how there is a documentary about her stories of Argentina.

Mia Weinberg

Oral History Interview with Mia Weinberg for the JMABC Artists Scribe. Interviewed by Bill Gruenthal. Mia was born in London, England in 1958. She describes her life as a child of German-Jewish refugees post-WWII, growing up in England and the role this had on her life, including her art work. She discusses her transition from a materials technologist in England to an immigrant in Vancouver, going to art school in her 30s and becoming an independent working artist. Mia is known for working with unconventional materials in her works, most often sculpture and installations.

Janet Esseiva

Oral History Interview with Janet Esseiva for the JMABC Artists Scribe. Interviewed by Helen Aqua. Janet Esseiva was born in South Africa in 1964. She is an artist currently based out of Bowen Island, B.C. Esseiva describes her younger years in South Africa during the time of Apartheid and her meaningful exposure to the arts. She explains her transition from an Information Technology professional in Cape Town to an immigrant in Canada eventually working as a full time artist. Esseiva is known for painted works that focus on nature, and she explains how these works can evoke strong emotions and meaningful connections between art and artist, as well as artist and viewer.

Ron Appleton

Oral History Interview with Ronald (Ron) Appleton, accompanied by his wife Brenda Appleton for the JMABC Artists Scribe. Interviewed by Carol Herbert. Ron Appleton was born in Vancouver and describes his youth working with his father who was an auctioneer and arts dealer. This experience introduced him to Inuit art which became the focus of his life’s work showing and selling works of Indigenous artists in his family-owned and operated galleries. Ron and Brenda describe the relationships they formed with Indigenous artists but also many art collectors, especially Jewish diaspora, around the world. Ron shares anecdotes related to prominent Canadian artists, as well as unique art pieces he’s seen across the decades in the business.

Olga Campbell

Oral History Interview with Olga Campbell for the JMABC Artists Scribe. Interviewed by Bill Gruenthal. Olga Campbell was born in Iraq in 1943 and immigrated to Canada at the age of five in 1948. She explains her family’s experience with both Russian prison camps and the Holocaust during WWII, where they eventually made it safely to Canada. She discusses her journey as a social worker turned arts professional, including her time spent at Emily Carr and Capilano arts schools. As a second generation Holocaust survivor, Olga discusses how being Jewish and the associated inter-generational trauma of Holocaust survivorship has informed her works. Olga is a mixed-media artist, working in digital and traditional mediums, including collage and sculpture. She also published her art in a book focused on her family’s experience of the Holocaust that has fostered connections to her story, shared herein.

Sima Elizabeth Shefrin

Oral History Interview with Sima Elizabeth Shefrin for the JMABC Artists Scribe. Interviewed by Brynn Gillies. Shefrin was born in Ottawa in 1949. . She is married to Bob Bossin, a Canadian folk musician, and they live together on Gabriola Island. She spent her youth part-time in Italy, surrounded by family fabric-workers and tailors. She describes how this informed her enthusiasm for fabric as a medium, and how she aims to convey stories through sewn projects. The name of Shefrin’s studio as well as her website is Stitching for Social Change, which she explains how she does fabric arts while integrating folk art tradition with activism, including feminism, anti-war sentiments, and reclamation of her Jewish heritage. Most notably, Shefrin tells the story of the Middle East Peace Quilt which aimed to discuss what peace would look like between Israel and Palestine with participants sending her quilt squares with their visions of peace from around the world. Shefrin also shares her exploration of comic and illustrative arts working on Jewish themed children's books and comics about her own life, including her husband's cancer diagnosis and life over the Covid pandemic.

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