Lilian Broca

portfolio

Introduction

The exhibition Heroine of a Thousand Pieces: The Judith Mosaics of Lilian Broca opened in Vancouver, Canada, at Il Museo,  (Il Centro) on Nov 12 and within one month had over 2000 visitors. This show attracted diverse audiences, from art enthusiasts to those who were exposed to the medium of mosaic for the first time. The exhibition became an important catalyst for discussions on contemporary art, ancient women, as well as the enigmatic nature of the Judith story. In 2016 the exhibition travelled to Toronto, Canada. Presently, this traveling exhibition is on its 3rd leg, Dallas TX. 

IN VANCOUVER
November 12, 2015 – March 31, 2016
Il Museo at The Italian Cultural Centre
3075 Slocan Street,
Vancouver BC V5M 3E4
 
IN TORONTO
May 5 – July 31, 2016
JD Carrier Art Gallery Columbus Centre
901 Lawrence Avenue West,
Toronto ON M6A 1C3
 
IN DALLAS, TX
January 22–April 23, 2017
Museum of Biblical Art
7500 Park Lane,
Dallas, TX 75225

Introduction

The exhibition Heroine of a Thousand Pieces: The Judith Mosaics of Lilian Broca opened in Vancouver, Canada, at Il Museo,  (Il Centro) on Nov 12 and within one month had over 2000 visitors. This show attracted diverse audiences, from art enthusiasts to those who were exposed to the medium of mosaic for the first time. The exhibition became an important catalyst for discussions on contemporary art, ancient women, as well as the enigmatic nature of the Judith story. In 2016 the exhibition travelled to Toronto, Canada. Presently, this traveling exhibition is on its 3rd leg, Dallas TX. 

IN VANCOUVER
November 12, 2015 – March 31, 2016
Il Museo at The Italian Cultural Centre
3075 Slocan Street,
Vancouver BC V5M 3E4
 
IN TORONTO
May 5 – July 31, 2016
JD Carrier Art Gallery Columbus Centre
901 Lawrence Avenue West,
Toronto ON M6A 1C3
 
IN DALLAS, TX
January 22–April 23, 2017
Museum of Biblical Art
7500 Park Lane,
Dallas, TX 75225

Statement

 My art belongs to the “critical postmodernism” assertion that all artistic perspectives are valid, but that greater understanding of society is possible by viewing them through the lens of individual artworks or narratives.

I create contemporary large scale glass mosaics in which I employ historical iconography and utilize an ancient medium; through them I am able to comment on contemporary societal issues.

Legends and mythological stories carry powerful and meaningful messages. With these two mosaic series and through their symbolism I express ideas about the role of women that also extend to more universal statements about the human condition.

Judith and Esther are biblical figures representing strong women who left their subservient position in a patriarchal society and who, through courage, wisdom and determination, succeed, despite all odds, to achieve leadership status in their respective communities. Although their stories are very similar, the two women are the exact opposite in temperament and in their approach to action. Esther uses her physical attributes, intelligence and the art of quiet diplomacy in her negotiations, whereas Judith, a warrior from the start, uses all the above plus adds her own secret  agenda to destroy the enemy…. and without any physical help.

I consider The Byzantine style appropriate for the Queen Esther series because like Esther herself, it is a quieter style, with more formal poses, less action and although expressive, it is less emotive than other artistic movements. The unifying motif which holds the whole series consistent and connected, is the wrought iron lattice, a symbol for women’s oppression in ancient societies.

The Judith mosaics require action poses to suit her hands-on personality, therefore the style I employ consists of more naturalistic spatial arrangements and visual appearance, compared to Esther’s stylized forms and flat decorative backgrounds. I achieve fluidity of movement through dramatic poses, theatrical gestures and emotional expressions.

By placing the Judith compositions on white sketchbook pages with perforated tops, and with the transition from the black and white pencil sketch to monochromatic 2D and finally to full colour, I portray the gradual rejuvenation of an ancient story through its retelling.  The sketchbook page itself becomes the unifying motif in the Judith series, the equivalent of the wrought iron lattice motif in the Esther series. The perforated page with its black and white graphite drawing is a 21st century prop. The images of the heroine's plight and fighting spirit dressed in biblical clothing and placed in ancient surroundings provide a bridge across the centuries. As the black and white sketch unfolds onto the mosaic, slowly repairing, reviving and animating itself into full blown colour, the inherent symbolism becomes a continuous journey between antiquity and the present day.

Both mosaic series, Queen Esther and Judith, reveal a personal interpretation of two ancient stories which brings forth ideas about women’s role in society, encouraging contemporary women to find inner strength and reminding them that we all possess the potential of the assertive Esther and the courage of the independent and daring Judith.

 



[1] Koscianski, L. “What is Critical Postmodern Art?” Tamara, The Journal of Critical Postmodern Behavioral Science. 2002

Biography

 Vancouver artist Lilian Broca received a BFA, (Concordia University, Montreal) and a MFA degree, (Pratt Institute, New York). In a career spanning over thirty years, including thirteen teaching painting and drawing at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, her work has been featured in more than sixty exhibitions in Canada, the United States, and Europe. Celebrated for her spirited exploration of contemporary societal issues in a variety of media, Broca draws on historical iconography, legends, and popular myths. A series of paintings and drawings on the theme of Lilith led to the book, The Song of Lilith, produced collaboratively with the acclaimed Canadian writer Joy Kogawa.

Among many distinctions, Broca was the subject of a retrospective exhibition at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle in 2001 and was invited to exhibit at the 2003 Florence Biennale International Exhibition, where her mosaics won the coveted Lorenzo il Magnifico Gold Medal in the mixed media category.

Broca’s mosaics also received First Prize in the two-dimensional category at the international juried exhibition at the Italian American Museum in San Francisco in 2004 and at the High Risk Gallery in Chicago in 2006.

Two art publications on contemporary mosaics in which Broca is featured were released in 2010: Tiffany Studios' Techniques Inspiration for Today's Artists - by Edith Crouch, (Schiffer Publishing, Atglen, PA, USA), and Mosaic Fine Art Portraits - by Irit Levy and Pam Givens, (Mosaic Fine Art Books, USA).

The book The Hidden and the Revealed: The Queen Esther Mosaics of Lilian Broca, (Gefen Publishing House, N.Y., Jerusalem), by Sheila Campbell, Yosef Wosk and Lilian Broca, was released in 2011.

Return to Byzantium: The Art and Life of Lilian Broca, a one hour made for TV documentary on Broca’s art and life aired on CBC TV across Canada in 2013 and 2014; selected in 5 international film festivals, it won Best Documentary Award in San Pedro International Film Festival, LA.