Warriors for the children

One of Nelson’s artists has been given an opportunity at some great exposure, but it’s all in the spirit of helping children.

Jackie Tahara with her painted Terracotta Warrior

One of Nelson’s artists has been given an opportunity at some great exposure throughout the province, but it’s all in the spirit of helping children.

The BC Lions Society for children with disabilities started the Terracotta Warriors project in which artists from all over the province paint replicas of the sculptures to be displayed in the Lower Mainland until September, and then auctioned to benefit the society’s services for disabled children.

Jackie Tahara, a Nelson artist, was one of 33 who used the seven-foot tall fiberglass replicas as their canvass.

“It’s been an eye-opening experience,” said Tahara.

“Working on something like a 3D statue, which I don’t usually do, was great from a learning point of view. Participating in the unveiling was quite eye-opening, seeing all the other statues that were painted and then of course having a statue in downtown Vancouver, there’s lots of traffic going by. It’s just a really great opportunity for an artist.”

Tahara’s piece, sponsored by the UBC Sauder School of Business, is being displayed at the corner of Burrard and Dunsmuir in Vancouver until it’s auctioned off.

It took her about four months to complete her Terracotta Warrior painting, which when finished sported two flying mythological dragons in honour of the 2012 Chinese year of the dragon.

“The dragon is the most auspicious and powerful creature of the Chinese astrological calendar, bringing with it good fortune,

prosperity and happiness,” says Tahara.

Working in her studio home, Tahara usually works in India ink and acrylic gouache.

“I work on paper and then cut it our and collage it to wood panels,” she said, adding that the experience of working on the Terracotta Warrior project in straight acrylic paint has inspired her to try a different direction.

“It definitely has given me a taste for doing more public art. The process was painting was somewhat painstaking, it took a long time, but working on a larger scale with the public art setting is something I want to pursue,” she said.

Taraha says that she’s done art all her life and that “it’s the colour and design and the pattern that draws [her] to do what [she does].”

After studying at several schools in the Lower Mainland and even in Toronto, Tahara said she came back to Nelson for the slower pace.

“Just the overall ambience of Nelson is what drew us here,” she said.

“We have two young kids and the lifestyle here is just great, it’s good for artists.”

The Terracotta Warrior project was initially designed to be associated with a touring exhibit of some of the original Terracotta Warriors, which ended up not taking place. As the wheels were already in motion, the project continued and became more about cultural diversity, celebrating artist creativity and capturing the imagination of children, adults and tourists alike.

Those seeking to view the sculptures at some point before their auction can find a guide at terracottawarriors.ca.

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