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Deborah Margo

On March 15 2016, landscape artist Deborah Margo presented at the McCord Museum with her theme “Tending Asphalt Oasis”. She transformed several blah areas into very natural and organic environments. She enjoys showing the whole cycle of plantlife from blossom to decay. “There is beauty in decay,” she says. It was a very inspiring presentation.


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D’Or et D’Azur, Susan Stromberg, & Musee des maitres et artisans du Quebec

Below is an account of the cultural outing that took place on March 17th, 2016 to a rare book collection, written by WASM member Elaine Bacal:

On March 17th, 2016, 13 members of WASM attended a wonderful guided tour of D’Or et D’Azur, an exhibit of very old books and illuminated manuscripts dating from medieval to early renaissance. The exhibit was in the Bibliothèque des livres rares et collections spéciales (BLRCS), located in the Samuel Bronfman Pavilion on the campus of Université de Montréal. Our guide, Nicholas Herman, PhD student in art history and curator, expertly explained the exhibit and showed his passion for this ancient art form.

2 group pic at rare books exhibit with EBUpon entering the exhibit space, there was a collection of old books belonging to the BLRCS with intricately carved covers, all hand-lettered and illuminated on vellum pages. Opposite this cabinet was a display of writing tools, including feather quills, ground lapis and cobalt for pigments, saffron, gold-leaf and eggs, the whites of which were used as binders for the pigments.

1 exhibit areaThe next section of the exhibit contained beautiful reproductions of liturgical books which were used by clergy for mass, as well as examples from the Lindisfarne Gospels and Book of Hours, which also contained prayers. Nicholas explained that there are many versions of the Book of Hours for they were customized for each wealthy and literate owner, often including portraits of the owners themselves. Very small books, no larger than the palm of the hand, were made for women so that they could read the prayers any time they wished throughout the day. An interesting fact regarding these replicas is that they are very valuable, sometimes ranging in the tens-of-thousands of dollars as opposed to millions for the originals.

4 book of hours and small book

The following part of the exhibit included single pages from old books, for at some time in the past, the pages of the books were separated and sold or given away as gifts. Some of the pages were musical scores. Nicholas has done some research on trying to find pages from a single book, but because these pages are scattered in museums, universities and estates throughout the world, finding more than two or three pages from one book is a difficult task indeed.

8 single sheet music page

7 single book page2We then moved on to the final section which included printed pages, on paper. Examples from Albrecht Durer were on view here as well as a small collection of old, finely scripted documents found in various departments of the Université de Montréal, including an order for oatmeal!

5 MARS replica

9 A Durer woodcut

All-in-all, we thoroughly enjoyed the exhibit and learned very much about this ancient and very beautiful art form. We thank Nicholas Herman and the BLRCS for D’Or et D’Azur.

On April 12, 2016 well-known sculptor Susan Stromberg presented, “Living in 3 Dimensions” at McCord Museum.




On April 19th 2016, a cultural outing, organized by Josette Wecsu, was made to the Musée des maîtres et artisans du Québec. Avy Loftus greeted the group of 12 WASM members at the Musée des maîtres et artisans that afternoon.  She was pleased to guide us through her exhibition on Indonesian batik in which are displayed her beautiful batik dresses and shawl creations. Avy  took time to explain the ancient origins of these intricate batiks and how they are part of the national soul of Indonesia and tied to its cultural identity.  She instructed us on the batik technique and all the processes involved in the creation of batik artistry. It was a most enjoyable afternoon and a good learning experience.

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Louis Babin presentation

On March 29th 2016, Louis Babin, composer and speaker, joined us at the McCord Museum to present his orchestral music dedicated to Antoine de St. Exupery, the author of several books, including the famous “Le Petit Prince”. He then explained to us how the piece was created. For more information on Babin, visit his website at



Deanne Habeeb presentation

Kicking off the spring portion of this year’s WASM’s events was Deanne Habeeb, presenting “My Montreal – fantasy in collage”.  On March 1 2016 at McCord Museum, Deanne Hall-Habeeb presented a slide show featuring her fabric collages. Deanne showed more than 90 slides of fabric collages which depicted street scenes of Montreal and environments. She spoke of her love of Montreal and its eclectic architecture. Her works depicted Montreal as a visually exciting world verging on fantasy and a city of unbelievable colours.


WASM Members' Day March 1 2016


Jaber Lutfi & Allyna Harris

On November 10th 2015,  Jaber Lutfi joined WASM at the McCord Museum. Lutfi is a thought-provoking artist and creator who came to discuss several of his paintings and sources of influences. Photos were taken by his friend Jean Tremblay, a dear friend of Lutfi.

010Comments from members who attended the lecture remarked that they could have listened to Lutfi for hours and that his creations were wonderfully original with no presence of “copying/pasting”.



On November 24th 2015, Allyna Harris, painter, photographer, musician and composer, came to McCord to speak about her art. She discussed how nature heavily influenced her. Having always grown up around nature, it is reflected in the paintings and music that Allyna creates. Her intricate video productions incorporate natural sounds like rushing water and birds to enhance her themes of nature and music.




Dr. Mary Hunter on Toulouse-Lautrec’s, “Rue des Moulins, 1894″

On October 27th 2015, WASM held another event at the McCord Museum where  Dr. Mary Hunter, Associate Professor of Art History and Communications at McGill University, discussed Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec‘s painting, Rue des Moulins, 1894.


Although Dr. Hunter focused on that particular painting, she also discussed his other fascinations and depictions with Parisian prostitutes and their relationships with STIs, particularly syphilis. She explored the troubled ties between bodily and painterly surfaces, medical penetration and artistic encounters, as well as the tensions between the ‘slow time’ of waiting and the desire for speed and efficiency in modern medical life. The lecture was fascinating and Dr. Hunter’s in depth knowledge of the topic facilitated interesting discussion.




Some reviews on the event:

“Thoroughly enjoyed Mary Hunter and her lecture. One can never learn too much about the relevance of visual art in society. I wish every meeting would focus on artists in our field.  Thank you for a well spent afternoon.”

“I give this an A+ and I am looking forward to reading Dr. Hunter’s book which is coming out in December. The lecture was fascinating, especially so for me because I worked in gynaecologic pathology for many years at McGill and Jewish General Hospital. As a matter of fact, I have enjoyed all the lectures so far; inspiring, informative and thought-provoking.  Thank you !”

“Very interesting. The art/medicine angle intriguing.”

“Thank you for a wonderful lecture by Dr. Mary Hunter, a very interesting topic and so well presented. I give this a 10 out of 10.”


“Come dance with me” (Sandra Wong) & Viewing of film, “Suffragette”

On October 12th 2015, Sandra Wong of Ensemble-Karel joined us at the McCord Museum to demonstrate and explain Balinese dancing. In addition to dancing, she also brought and discussed traditional dance clothing and head dresses.



020On October 22nd 2015, some WASM members attended a screening of the film Suffragette, a movie portraying working class feminists fighting for equality in the early days of the feminist movement. Although the film focuses on the initial fights for equality, it implies the continued fight that exists to this day.


photoThe above picture was taken with the Suffragette phone app. At there’s more information on how to get involved with the current day fight of women for equality.


“Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition” and Shari Blaukopf Watercolours

Last Friday September 25th 2015 a small group of WASM members got together to visit “Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition” at the Palais de Congres. While the audio tour lasted an hour and a half, many members stayed for almost three hours. Since people stayed at the exhibit for varying durations, they did not meet for coffee afterwards, but did enjoy the time together as they admired the intricate replicates of Michelangelo’s famous frescoes. The exhibition is in Montreal until October 24th and is definitely worth a visit!


This past Tuesday September 29th 2015 was our second event held at McCord Museum: Shari Blaukopf, a water colour artist of Montreal. She discussed Urban Sketchers Montreal, a non-profit organization that aims to foster a community of artists who appreciate and participate in on-location sketching. Their mission is to promote the value of on-location sketching and to connect those within its community. Urban Sketching Montreal meets on the fourth Sunday to draw and welcomes everybody to join. Urban Sketching Montreal has taken places in locations such as Atwater market, Little Italy, and Mont Royal.

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WASM’s first Event and Cultural Outing of the 2015 – 2016 year

On September 15th 2015 WASM held their first event with a viewing of the documentary, Celesta Found, at the McCord Museum. Marco Fraticelli discussed his involvement with the film, having found the original diaries that prompted the exploration into Celesta’s life, as well as the creation of the documentary. David’s Tea offered samples of tea before and after the film, pairing well with the multitude of snacks brought in by board members.  Dozens of new and returning members were at this event, kicking off WASM’s 2015 – 2016 year to a great start.

The following Tuesday on September 22nd 2015 was our first cultural outing to the Château Ramezay, a historic site and museum of Montréal.  15 members went on a guided tour and afterwards had lunch together in one of the many cafes of Old Montreal. The Museum is a rare remaining building going back to New France and is a classified historic monument. Their exhibit spans 500 years and included first settlers, their pottery, paintings, mahogany furniture, ovens, costumes as well as the Governor’s Gardens.

Chateau Ramsey Guide

WASM tour group



September 17, Tuesday. McCord Museum 1.30 – 2.30 Surkalen – Chilean Folk Music Group

PRESENTING  ‘ESSENCE DE LUMIÈRE’ – “Always look upwards towards the light”   1.30 – 2.30 pm

We are opening our season with a magical journey – a musical performance by the trio of  native Chileans Sandra Ulloa, Claudio Rojas Dávila and Rony  who will lead you on a poetic voyage of ancestral and modern rhythms recognizable in many cultures today.     SURKALÉN merges the musical inheritance of the South American culture with African, Asian, European and Middle Eastern music. Such a musical mixture gives rise to a unique and eloquent music that they call ethno-fusion.

The group’s members  met in 1995 in Valparaíso, Chile.      They travelled separately in Europe for some years and finally met up in Montreal, Canada.    In 2008, they formed the group “SURKALÉN TRIO“.     In 2009, the Russian-Canadian violinist, Maria Demacheva, joined the trio to form the current quartet.   The group was renamed “SURKALÉN“.

In 2012, they were nominated for the Canadian Folk Music Awards as the best in the World Group and won the Best 2012 CD for Essence de Lumière.     The instruments you will hear today are the cuatro, guitar, tabla, violin, bass, percussions, darbouka, cajon and more.

The name of the group “SURKALÉN” was not randomly chosen;   “Sur” stands for the South American roots of three of the members of the band and “Kalén” means «different» in the Selknam language. (Selknams are the ancient inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego, a small Native American community, which disappeared in the middle of the 20th century).
Most of the band’s music is strongly influenced by different kinds of world music with  South American rhythms being very present in their compositions.

Check out their website HERE.


October 15, Tuesday. McCord Museum 1.30 – 2.30 David Sherman – Playwright


David Sherman has enjoyed a career in journalism, going back to when papers were actually newspapers. He has also worked as a documentary filmmaker – his film on Mordecai Richler won a Gemini Award.  He was playwright-in residence of Centaur theatre under Gordon McCall, where they produced his play Have a Heart and is now playwright-in-residence at Infinitheatre.  Artistic director Guy Sprung has produced three of his plays: The Daily Miracle, a dark comedy about the destruction of the newspaper industry, a story culled from his nights working the news desk at The Gazette; Joe Louis: An American Romance, a story of celebrity and race in America, and Lost & Found, a musical with his partner Nancy Lee, about how two older folk musicians meet and fall in love through music.

Their slogan: Old folkies folk better. Today David performs in and around Montreal and out of town with Nancy, playing their original songs – David has a recording contract with Montreal label Big Fat Truck Records, who produced his first CD, If I Could Run, and is now working on a CD with Nancy, called Lost & Found.    He writes often for the Ottawa Citizen, the Gazette, Toronto Star and National Post and is leading a playwright workshop at the Quebec Writers Federation this fall.



October 29 – The Sweet Adelines – Women’s Barbershop 1.30 – 2.30 pm & DAVIDs TEA until 3.30 pm

We are delighted to welcome The West Island Sweet Adelines, a choral group  dedicated to the promotion of women’s barbershop harmony through education and quality performance. Together its members aspire to achieve musical excellence while creating a spirit of unity, enthusiasm and fun, in which each individual can realize her greatest potential within the organization.

Wondering about barbershop, well,  it’s  a unique four-part close harmony style, most often performed a cappella, based on performance practices common in the American south during the late 1800s and early 1900s.    Today, the word ‘barbershop ‘   covers many different musical forms and repertoire but still adheres to key  characteristics of harmony, structure and style.   The Sweet Adelines are dedicated to the preservation and promotion of this wonderful art form.

For more information and if you wish to audition to join the group:

After the  performance, instead of meeting for coffee at Van Houtte as we usually do,   DAVIDsTEA will be on hand in the theatre, offering free cups of their delicious teas.   Stay awhile and feel free to go up and talk to the singers who will be happy to share their musical stories with you.  The McCord is extending our time in the theatre to 3.30 just for this event.

DAVIDsTEA (or “David’s Tea” as we’re often searched) is a premium tea retailer devoted to uncompromising customer service and the proliferation of the world’s finest teas.

The latest count puts us past 150 different teas, with more popping up all the time whenever we find something new. We are here to bring the best teas from all over the world into your life, one delicious cup at a time. 



November 12 – Doreen Lindsay – J’existe – my life in images. 1.30 -2.30 pm

DOREEN LINDSAY – J’existe – my life in Images


The London, Ontario native first came to Montreal in the late 1950s to study painting at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts under the tutelage of Group of Seven painter Arthur Lismer, and earned her Masters’ degree in Fine arts at Sir George Williams University.

After meeting and marrying her husband, Hungarian photographer Gabor Szilasi, the couple settled in Westmount, where Lindsay quickly became a fixture in the artistic community.

Lindsay helped to run a women’s art gallery, the POWERHOUSE GALLERY on St. Lawrence Blvd in the 1970s, and from 1983-1993 she was one of the directors of ARTSWESTMOUNT, a group which brought artistic productions to the city.  She also served on a cultural committee that encouraged the city to create a permanent art gallery, hire a cultural administrator, and renovate Victoria Hall.

Today, Doreen specializes in combining painting with photographs and early photography processes.



November 26 – Joe Schwarcz on ART & HEALTH 1.30 – 2.30

Joe Schwarcz is Director of McGill University’s “Office for Science and Society.”  He is well known for his informative and entertaining public lectures on topics ranging from the chemistry of love to the science of aging.  Professor Schwarcz has received numerous awards for teaching chemistry and for interpreting science for the public and is the only non-American ever to win the American Chemical Society’s prestigious Grady-Stack Award for demystifying chemistry.  He hosts “The Dr. Joe Show” on Montreal’s CJAD and has appeared hundreds of times on The Discovery Channel, CTV, CBC, TV Ontario and Global Television.  Dr. Schwarcz also writes a newspaper column entitled “The Right Chemistry” and has authored a number of books, “Radar, Hula Hoops and Playful Pigs,” “The Genie in the Bottle,” “That’s The Way The Cookie Crumbles,” “Dr. Joe And What You Didn’t Know,” “The Fly In The Ointment” “Let Them Eat Flax” “An Apple A Day,” “Brain Fuel,” “Science, Sense and Nonsense,” “Dr. Joe’s Brain Sparks,” “Dr. Joe’s Health Lab” and his latest, “The Right Chemistry, ”all of which have made it on to the best seller list.  He is also an amateur conjurer and often spices up his presentations with a little magic.  Dr. Schwarcz has been awarded the 2010 “Montreal Medal” which is the Canadian Chemical Institute’s premier prize recognizing lifetime contributions to chemistry in Canada.  In the spring of 2011 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Cape Breton University.  He also hold a previous honorary degree from Athabasca University.  In November of 2011 the McGill Office for Science and Society received the largest gift ever in Canadian history ($5.5 million) from philanthropist Lorne Trottier to further its work in promoting scientific education and critical thinking.

Click here for more information.

With all Joe Schwarcz’s many titles after his name,  I was hesitant to invite him to present for the Women’s Art Society of Montreal until I remembered the excellent and provocative lecture he gave at McGill many years ago on artists, their paints and subsequently, their health.   When I asked if he would be willing to do a repeat performance for our Society,  he graciously and generously accepted.    We are very grateful.    Cheryl Braganza


December 10 – Deepali Lindblom – Indian Classical Dancer 1.30 – 2.30 pm

Deepali Lindblom performs “THE HALL OF SHAME”.    She is a Montreal based professional Bollywood and Bhangra dancer. Trained in Kathak, an Indian classical dance, she is also an Actor and a Choreographer.

Deepali’s artistic work consists of

- Theatrical production
- Dance class/ workshop for individual or a group.
- Dance performance with her troupe Mix Masala at weddings, festivals, corporate events etc.
- Creating or collaborating for projects that impact communities in a positive way.



February 11, 2014 – Katherine Waters – Literature Professor 1.30 – 2.30

TOPIC:  GERTRUDE BELL, “Queen” of the Arabian Desert & Shaper of Iraq

A Montrealer, KATHERINE WATERS has degrees from McGill and Oxford.  She has taught at Carleton University and as an Associate Professor for 35 years at Concordia where she specialized in Modern British Literature, in particular, Virginia Woolf.   For the last 7 years she has been involved teaching and learning at the McGill Centre for Lifelong Learning. 

She will speak about Gertrude Bell (1868-1926)  who made seven archaeological journeys to the Middle East before World War I,  became a British spy and established the borders and governance of Iraq, all the while dealing with the challenges of being a woman.   

February 25, 2014 – Stacey Zhang, Fashion Designer. “Art, Business & La Mode in Montreal – Fast Fashion vs. Local Design”

“Art, Business and La Mode in Montreal –  Fast Fashion vs. Local Design”

Born in bustling Shenzhen, raised in leafy-green Jamaica, schooled in frosty Montreal… Stacey completed a degree in Design and went to work for a large fashion company.

A short time later, Stacey became Head Designer for a renowned junior line, then finally Creative Director for a prestigious contemporary collection. But all along she had something else in mind.

So in 2007 she started her own company and launched the first Stacey Zhang collection: Silk, Linen, Organic Cotton… sustainable fabrics, ethical production and chic limited run clothing with a focus on beautiful coats for all seasons.



March 11, 2014 – Gabor Szilasi – Photographer 1.30 – 2.30 pm


Documentary photographer, GABOR SZILASI was born in Hungary but immigrated to Canada in 1957.  He is renowned for his humanitarian vision, social realism and exploration of the traces we leave on our environment, whether through photographs of people, urban cityscapes, architecture or interiors.  A self-taught photographer, he has had more than 30 one-man shows in various parts of Canada and Europe and participated in 60 Canadian and international group shows.  He has received grants from the Canada and Quebec arts councils.  He taught at the Cégep du Vieux-Montréal, Concordia University, the Academy of Fine Arts in Cracow, Poland and Stanford University in California.  

“My main interest has always been people and their environment, including portraits, interiors and architecture, ”  says Szilasi.


Photos from the event:

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March 25, 2014 – Sheila Kindellan-Sheehan – Writer


Sheila Kindellan-Sheehan has published a memoir and seven novels. Her work has been featured in theGlobe and Mail, read on CBC Radio, Radio One, CBC Montreal and CJAD, and seen on CTV and Global TV. Her latest mystery, The Courier Wore Shorts, was released in September.


Town of Mount Royal, Town Hall; Stewart Hall; Quebec Authors’ Association; St. Patrick’s Society; West Island University Women’s Club; Delta Kappa Gamma, Quebec Chapter; and the retired teachers of Greater Montreal.


April 8, 2014 – Susie Arioli, beloved Montreal jazz singer tells us her story – Note date change. BUSINESS MEETING from 1 to 1.30 pm will precede this event.

Nominated for three Juno awards, Susie Arioli lives in the city, sings at the Montreal International Jazz Festival and is a favorite of many Montrealers.  She will talk about her life and tell us how she got to where she is now.

Susie Arioli sat and gave us a run-down on her life, her music, her inspiration, her neighborhood, did a sing-along and sat a few ditties for us in her inimitable style.  Thank you for this sharing Susie.

CIMG0835 Susie Arioli



April 22, 2014 – Stefan Jovanovich – Fashion & Modernism (date change)



Stefan will be speaking to us about Fashion and Modernism and how it pertains to the early 20th century.

 Jovanović is a PhD candidate in Art History in the Département d’histoire de l’art et études cinématographiques at Université de Montréal, where he received a Doctoral Research Fellowship from Fonds québécois de recherche sur la société et la culture (FQRSC).  He is completing a dissertation that deals with questions of subjectivation and ethics in photography theory and criticism.  The thesis compares recent statements on the definition of photography (arguments as to its identity, historicity, referentiality and ideological efficiency) with concurrent claims relating to the ethics of contemporary photography practice and criticism, focusing on several exhibitions of archival, documentary and fine art photography. He has also published a number of essays on the relation of cinema to modern and contemporary art.  His essays and reviews have appeared in Parachute, Offscreen and in the catalogue for the exhibition Timelength (Leonard and Bina Ellen Gallery, 2004).



May 6, 2014 – ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING – 1 – 1.30 pm. Donna McGee 1.30 – 2.30 pm

Donna McGee


Donna McGee did her B.A. at McGill in Literature and her M.A. at Concordia in Art History while working at the Canadian Centre for Architecture. She has published articles in academic journals and wrote a gallery review column while at McGill. As well as being an artist in her own right, she also teaches art (drawing, acrylic and watercolour) and continues to do research and give talks on art-historical subjects.


Lecture:  “Changing Perceptions.  Paintings of the Baroque Era through the lens of a painter & researcher”