Artworks by Kim Bruce, influenced by gender inequality, are showing in the Kiwanis Gallery in the downtown Red Deer Public Library. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).

Central Alberta artist seals book pages to decry the lack of education for many girls

Kim Henigman Bruce’s exhibit DisBound is showing at Kiwanis Gallery in Red Deer

Kim Henigman Bruce entered Alberta’s entrepreneurial ranks by opening her own commercial design company and hiring a dozen employees.

She sold her successful Calgary-based business 17 years later, when she opted to become a visual artist.

Bruce figures these choices were only hers to make because she received “the gift of a college education” from her parents.

While the Cochrane resident defied the 1950s expectation for females to take on “women’s roles,” she’s dismayed that many girls and women around the globe are still being denied an education because of cultural misogyny and/or religious discrimination.

Her latest exhibit, DisBound, at the Kiwanis gallery in the Red Deer Public Library, uses the symbolism of sealed books to draw attention to this gender inequality.

Waxen head art by Kim Bruce

The pages of knowledge that are kept out of the grasp of girls who are married off at puberty are encased in wax in Bruce’s sculptural wall hangings.

Without the benefit of these educational pages, she feels these women will not have the means to fend for themselves and their children if circumstances change and they are left without husbands due to war, widowhood, or family strife.

Bruce, who has exhibited throughout Alberta and in the U.S., makes art from books she gets from a recycling company.

She dips their pages in hot wax, then manipulates the shapes of the encaustic books, often adding symbolic objects, including human hair, pieces of wood and wire.

Some of her wax-covered creations resemble packages that can be opened with a zipper.

Others look like the ancient papyrus scrolls that once held the religious dogma still being used in some countries to keep women dependent.

Several viewers have told Bruce her encaustic books resemble the wood that paper is made from — which she thinks has a “kind of cool, full-circle” aspect.

“Books bring me peace,” she admits.

As a bibliophile in a digital world, Bruce hopes her exhibit will also make viewers think about the continuing allure of these tangible printed objects.

Older ones, with their sepia-coloured pages, bear evidence of being read by many people. Although they carry a “reliable,” set story line, it will be interpreted in personal ways by each reader.

Bruce hopes viewers of her exhibit will similarly allow their own interpretations to surface as they walk through the display.

“There’s a lot of innuendo in my work, and I hope people bring their own stories to it.”

DisBound, presented by the Red Deer Arts Council, continues to Aug. 17.



lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

red deer arts council

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

House of Commons can manage virtual voting securely if MPs want it, Speaker says

House of Commons can manage virtual voting securely if MPs want it, Speaker says

Liberals detail changes to COVID-19 aid as they ask MPs to OK new spending

Liberals detail changes to COVID-19 aid as they ask MPs to OK new spending

Some Red Deer preschools won’t open for the remainder of school year

Short notice from provincial government one of the reasons

Solidarity together: Central Albertans protest in Red Deer against racism

There’s no such thing as a little bit of racism. Even one… Continue reading

How proceedings in the House of Commons during pandemic differ from normal

How proceedings in the House of Commons during pandemic differ from normal

Feds continue to add to COVID-19 supply stores to meet future demand

Feds continue to add to COVID-19 supply stores to meet future demand

Feds continue to add to COVID-19 supply stores to meet future demand

Feds continue to add to COVID-19 supply stores to meet future demand

Ontario mulls collection of race-based COVID-19 data; some argue it’s essential

Ontario mulls collection of race-based COVID-19 data; some argue it’s essential

NFL tells teams they must hold training camps at home

NFL tells teams they must hold training camps at home

MLS players skip training again but reports suggest a deal may be close

MLS players skip training again but reports suggest a deal may be close

Jets captain Blake Wheeler on racism: ‘You can’t be silent anymore’

Jets captain Blake Wheeler on racism: ‘You can’t be silent anymore’

Canadians seem OK with possibly being benched as playoff venue: survey

Canadians seem OK with possibly being benched as playoff venue: survey

Most Read