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Shelly Rahme

North Bay
March 23, 2010

Shelly Rahme is an artist (and sometime Akimblog correspondent) living in North Bay, Ontario. She received her undergraduate degree from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, after which she journeyed west to Alberta and British Columbia and worked as a welder-fabricator for five years. She then moved to the United States to pursue a Masters of Fine Art at the Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. After graduate school, she tried living in Brooklyn for a year, then Toronto. She now lives in Northern Ontario where she keeps the pulse of nature. She is currently exhibiting Crude (sublime sculptural landscapes) at AKA Gallery in Saskatoon.

1. Wilderness

I spend hours everyday walking in the wilderness with my dogs. To know the slightest changes in my surroundings - the vibrancy of fauna, the competitive chatter of nesting birds, the broods of insects and spiders, the infinite types of snow fall - is what keeps me grounded. I keep the pulse of my surroundings and in doing so make constant discoveries. Humming bird moths come in the spring, wolf scat is full of hair, wild strawberries come first before the blueberries and raspberries, and fishers eat porcupines, to list a few.

2. Dogs

The ability of dogs to cross over into our domestic world is a gift. They have taught me that instinct is unstoppable and to be worked around, and that canine communication is body language and an oral-factory history beyond my grasp. The hound nose commands above all and the ceaseless empathic radar of a sheep herder is emotional intelligence par excellence. Dogs are what make me rubber-neck in this world and I take every opportunity to watch their language and instinct in action. My consciousness is my dogs and we are inseparable.

3. Local Food

I subscribe to the belief that change can only be effected by changing your immediate surroundings. This is why I chose to become an advocate for local food. I chair a local food group and also run a small local food distribution business that specializes in natural pasture-fed beef. I am able to support local farmers and secure the availability of healthier, fresher food. I support the local economy and reduce oil consumption. My effect may be incremental, but that’s the nature of change.

4. Special Needs Community

When I moved to the North Bay area I unexpectedly began working with the Special Needs Community. I now provide a home for a special needs gentleman and am constantly challenged with this type of care. I have to continuously evaluate my expectations and toss most of them out the window. My ingrained expectations only lead to disappointment and interfere with great friendship.

5. Art Practice

I am re-evaluating my art practice constantly. The white cube experience in which I typically create is now incongruous with my other interests and community work. I am moving towards community art projects, traveling projects, and relinquishing my vision so I may let others take over with their own. Learning how to facilitate is what I am moving towards.



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