Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Local Art Scene: Moira and Steveboyyi Art Opening/Fundraiser @ The Red Mug

Tonight at 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. there's an art opening / fundraiser featuring paintings and drawings by Moira Villiard and Steveboyyi Makubuya at the Red Mug Coffeehouse on the corner of Hammond and Broadway in Superior.

Here is the announcement that was sent this weekend:


DULUTH, MN - On Tuesday, September 12 artist Moira Villiard will be hosting an art opening, birthday celebration and fundraiser at the Red Mug Coffeehouse in Superior, WI from 5:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. Her colorful portraits and surrealism will be displayed alongside artist Steven Boyyi's most recent body of incredible paintings that depict animals and daily living in his home country of Uganda. Prints and original smaller artworks will be available for purchase at the opening and refreshments will be served. The event is free and open to the public, with 100% of sales of Steveboyyi’s work going towards his medical and living expenses following his denial of reentry into the USA.

Steveboyyi is currently back home in Uganda where he's facing a series of hardships related to his health. He was diagnosed with permanent blindness in one eye as a result of a traumatic injury, and suffers from multiple life-threatening conditions that surfaced in the months after returning from the USA. Despite these ongoing obstacles, his dream continues to be bringing art to children who grew up just like him through Dream of Duluth: A Global Street Outreach Initiative.

About the Artists:

Moira Villiard

Moira Villiard is a young, independent traditional artist, activist, muralist, writer, designer and filmmaker who, by some feat of pluralism, hopes better our community through these niches. She’s known for her live painting demonstrations at cafes, fledgling businesses, event openings, and in classrooms; a major part of her philosophy is making art accessible and interactive. Stylistically, her artwork ebbs and pulls between the realms of portraiture, illustration and surrealism.

She currently works as the Cultural Program Coordinator for AICHO Galleries in Duluth, MN, curating art shows, connecting with native artists, aiding in the development of community outreach strategies, and organizing culture, arts and language-based workshops for both housing residents and artists alike. An established visual artist herself, Villiard's career as a professional painter began with the help that AICHO provided at her first art exhibition 3 years years ago. Since then, she has been featured in over 100 gallery exhibitions, art workshops and demonstrations, and has worked as an event coordinator for a variety of different community institutions. She currently serves as a freelance editor and graphic designer, as well as the Vice Chair for the Executive Board of the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council and is a coordinator of the Twin Ports-based variety show, A Goody Night.

In 2014, Moira came down with a chronic pain condition that prevented her from painting with her dominant hand for the next year or so. Towards the end of 2015, she underwent surgery and continued in her recovery until she was able to finally (and carefully) paint again that summer. She is currently working on a series of surreal paintings exploring topics related to commodity fetishism, "infrastructure", data clouds, blackbox technology and other arbitrary systems and concepts that form the invisible backbone of society.

Steveboyyi Makubuya

Stevenboyyi is a young artist from the streets of Kampala, Uganda who dreamed one day he might come to the United States and share his talents with the world. Towards the end of 2016, through both hardship and miracles, he found his way to the U.S. with the help of a local church and on a foundation of his artistic talent.

Steveboyyi doesn't know when he was born (though he picked a birthday of October 12 for himself in his later years). Brought to a children's home at the age of around nine months, he grew up without the knowledge of his name, his parents, birthday, or even the presence of a family. When the orphanage closed its doors, Steven was 17 -- he continued his life back on the streets, relying on his creativity and courage to survive daily obstacles. He cites the rain as his enemy and the birds as his friend during this time.

Steveboyyi had been making art since the age of 13, when the orphanage was visited by a local man who taught the children the core techniques of ironing ginger cloth with wax and painting it with watercolors. He paid attention to the man’s work and tried it for himself, developing the style he uses to this day. At the age of 20, just a few years after the orphanage closed, Steveboyyi began gathering bits of trash from the streets and incorporating it as color in his artwork. Having lived on the peripheral edge of society and in spending so much time on his own, his art became a sort living, breathing, meta-cognitive portrait of everyday life in Kampala.

“I base the pictures on my life and the lives of most of the African children who grow up on street and have talents which can be helped to become better people in the world," says Steveboyyi. Little did he know, his artwork would become a catalyst for bringing people together and enabling healing to take place in their lives.

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Learn more about Moira in this Perfect Duluth Day story.
Read my 2015 interview with Moira Villiard here and here
Learn more about the artist Steveboyyi of Uganda.
More about Steveboyyi can be gleaned from this DNT story

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Meantime, art goes on all around you. Get into it.

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