During these times of crisis, there’s no doubt that art inspires life, hence recording artists’ impromptu music releases and virtual concerts that serve as a means to uplift our spirits (see here Sophie’s article on concert live streams to this effect).
However, by the same token, life inspires art, and this continues to be true amid the pandemic; photographers capture images of the empty streets, while writers and painters find the subjects of their works in solitary confinement. Thus, nothing has changed, as this relationship between art and life is integral to the human experience; the earliest representations of it can be traced back to those first strokes of pigment on cave walls.
Touching on these themes, Vanier student Miguel Cano Gallo has taken these social distancing measures and “quarantine-induced boredom” as an opportunity to start a podcast known as Canvas Club. Invoking early memories of his grandmother’s library and his high school’s art & literature clubs, he talks about wanting to re-establish these kinds of spaces online for his peers.
“My idea is to turn this [podcast] into one of those [art & literature] clubs […] in order to bring culture to all sorts of people: the ones who listen to something in the metro, people that are bored at home and want to listen to something entertaining and, at the same time, educational,” he says in the prologue episode of Canvas Club.
In the first four episodes, Cano Gallo draws from works such as Pieter Bruegel The Elder’s The Triumph of Death, as well as concepts like the danse macabre, to talk about the theological and artistic representations of death throughout history, namely during the period of the Black Death. Of course, these discussions are directly related to our current circumstances.
Though the subject matter of this podcast is seemingly dense, the episodes have proven to be both digestible and fruitful for conversation in relation to all things art history. Hence, Cano Gallo explains that he wants people to see this podcast as “a culture club,” as well as “a place where [they] can share [their opinions], […] listen to others’ opinions, [and] learn something new.”
Ultimately, this podcast is meant to be an interactive space for people to “have fun and get closer to art”. Thus, members of the Vanier College community are free to take part in supporting this student-run initiative by following Canvas Club Podcast on Spotify, as well as by sending in suggestions for future episodes through Instagram (@canvasclubpodcast).
By Mel Spiridigliozzi
Cover art: Manuela Agudelo