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ILLUMINATION: A Celebration of Canadian Literature & Authors

Today I have the pleasure of introducing you to Mark Raynes Roberts, renowned crystal artist and photographer. An artist with a career spanning over 30 years, Mark's latest artistic work illuminates Canadian literature and authors through 12 intricately hand-engraved crystal pieces and an installation of 150 photographic portraits. Mark's work will be showcased at his ILLUMINATION exhibitions taking place this fall at three Toronto venues. These two distinct artistic installations are connected by the theme of literature and light and celebrate Canada's rich literary culture. As Mark says, “Literature is an art of illumination. Every author wants to shed light on some truth no matter what form the writing takes: fiction or non-fiction. Writing is a pursuit of knowledge and understanding; the desire to bring attention to a story that needs to be told, whether it be about a person, an imagined life, an issue, a part of our history or the human condition. This is why literature is important. We’re not only enriched by it; we’re connected by it.” Literature is very near and dear to my heart, so it's wonderful to see the Canadian literary community celebrated through art and photography.

I had the opportunity to sit down with Mark to learn more about this project and I'm delighted to offer you a sneak preview of what you will see at the exhibitions. He is so passionate about his craft, it was quite inspiring to hear him talk about it. Since photography is at the heart of Mark's crystal interpretations, I first want to share some of the author portraits that will be featured at the Portraits of Canadian Authors exhibition. Authors are the quiet and humble celebrities of our society, often shy of the camera and prefer to produce content rather than be the content - Mark's mastery of his photographic talent brings out the authors' personalities and let's them shine.  

Barbara Reid authored and illustrated some of my favourite childhood books. Her style is unique - she moulds plasticine to create relief images that are photographed for her books.

Lawrence Hill, author of The Book of Negroes

Lori Lansens. I've read 3 of her titles so far, with another sitting in the to-be-read pile.

Rick Archbold! I know this author personally so I was happy to see his portrait included in this exhibition. He's published many great titles covering a variety of historical subjects such as the Titanic, the Hindenburg, Shakespeare, and the Canadian flag, to name a few.

Margaret Atwood, Canada's literary treasure.

Want to see more? Portraits of Canadian Authors is taking place at two venues this month: 

Toronto Reference Library: Oct 11-Nov 1, 2015
International Festival of Authors, Harbourfront Centre: Oct 22-Nov 1, 2015 

Why should you definitely not miss the chance to see this important exhibition? I'll leave you with these words from Mark himself: 

Canada is a country known for its modesty. But we have every reason to feel proud of our literary excellence and to herald our Canadian authors whose words of truth, solace and wisdom are read by people from around the world. ILLUMINATION is about bringing into focus portraits of those who write the words in silence and in solitude.” 

For more information on the artist and his exhibition, please visit the Raynes Illumination site.

Check back on Thursday, October 15th for an in-depth look at Mark Raynes Roberts crystal pieces and the literary passages from Canadian authors that inspired them.  These pieces will be presented at the Portraits of Canadian Literature exhibition. ILLUMINATION is proudly sponsored by Truefitt & Hill, IZEA, and Kacaba.  

ILLUMINATION: Portraits of Canadian Literature - Crystal Sculptures

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