Artist Jazmin Sasky paints with a purpose.
“I didn’t want to do it just as a regular painter who [exhibits] in a gallery and gets commission, that was not the journey for me,” she said. “For me, it was more with meaning and helping and creating social effects, affecting life and people and donating the money... This project puts together all the values I believe as an artist.”
Her latest passion project, Home is Love, will exhibit paintings that reflect the stories of approximately 50 single mothers, with partial proceeds of the sales supporting the YWCA Cause We Care House under construction for low-income single mothers and their children.
Sasky asked single mothers associated with the Y to discuss their ideas about home, and then she interpreted their stories into a series of 12 paintings, which will be exhibited Feb. 12 to 15 at the donated Westside Grand gallery and event space at 1928 West Broadway. The women ranged in age from 14 to 35 and most were immigrant and aboriginal women.
“They are looking at a place to be safe,” she said.
Sasky’s canvases have been likened to windows in homes to reflect scenes of love, resolve and tenderness.
One of Sasky’s vibrant paintings depicts a mother sitting on a bathroom floor with her child, holding her hand up, signalling stop.
“That’s the strongest piece in the exhibition,” Sasky said. “One of moms told me that when she decided to leave her husband, she was very, very calm, after all the storm and the feelings, she was very calm.”
That resonated with Sasky, who was raised by a single mother in Buenos Aires after her father, who was verbally and physically abusive to her mother, left the family. (She says her father has come a long way and she enjoys a great relationship with him today).
Another painting portrays a mother sitting on the floor, playing with her daughter. This image was inspired by the story of an aboriginal woman whose parents hadn’t known how to raise her because they had been taken away to residential schools as children.
“She had no clue how to be a mother,” Sasky said.
Sasky invited representatives of the Y to her first foray in telling women’s stories through art, the Honouring Women: Every Woman, a Life Story to Tell exhibit she mounted at the Jewish Community Centre in 2013.
Chantelle Krish, manager of advocacy and public relations for the YWCA Metro Vancouver, says she and others were impressed by Sasky’s passion, paintings and approach, so they asked her to work with the Y on a fundraising campaign.
Sasky’s paintings will be priced from $2,000 to $4,000, and one-quarter of their sale will support Cause We Care House.
Cause We Care House is an initiative of the Y, the Vancouver Public Library and the City of Vancouver, with a budget of $25 million. The Y’s capital contribution is $10.08 million and as of Wednesday afternoon, the non-profit needed to raise $650,000 for the project that saw its groundbreaking last month.
Located at 720-730 East Hastings St., it will be located atop a new library and will include 21 units of housing alongside space for medical services, employment services and a mom-and-tot program.
The building is expected to open in spring 2016 and Krish says priority will be given to low-income single mothers.
“We run seven affordable housing communities for single mothers and their children across Metro Vancouver and there’s always waitlists,” Krish said. “So there’s definitely a need.”
The opening night reception runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Guests can RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-895-5826. Visitors can also view the paintings Feb. 13 to 15 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. To preview the paintings, visit jazminsasky.com.