Canadian exhibition illuminates diversity of women artists

By University Advancement and Communications Posted: February 20, 2020 2:25 p.m.

Dr. Risa Horowitz stands next to her paintings from the series "Trees of Canada" now on display at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Risa Horowitz stands next to her paintings from the series "Trees of Canada" now on display at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C. Photo: courtesy of the Embassy of Canada, Washington, D.C.

The University of Regina’s Dr. Risa Horowitz has many reasons to celebrate. Earlier this month in Washington, D.C., she joined 26 other renowned Canadian women artists whose artworks are being exhibited at the Embassy of Canada in “A New Light: Canadian Women Artists.” Running from February 7 to April 30, the exhibition aims to illuminate Canada’s diversity, reflect the country’s rich cultural heritage, and work towards balancing gender parity in the artworks exhibited at our foreign embassies. It also serves an important cultural diplomacy function that supports Canada’s foreign policy objectives.

 “I’m very happy to be a representative of Canadian women artists,” said Horowitz, a multi-media artist, associate professor, and head of the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Regina. “It’s about time. I believe in earnest that parsing cultural diplomacy through arts and culture signals Canada’s diversity and inclusion.”

The exhibition features five pieces from Horowitz’s series Trees of Canada. She created a total of 150 paintings of trees for this project, representing the Indigenous and naturalized trees in Canada, which she discovered in the 2004 National Forestry Inventory.


Horowitz’s All These Boundaries
photograph was selected for
permanent exhibition in the
Canadian Embassy’s rooftop
Arctic Room. Photo:
Risa Horowitz, 2017

Horowitz’s work stands alongside Governor General Order of Canada recipients Jane Ash Poitras, Dorothy Knowles, and Joyce Wieland along with emerging and established artists from across Canada.

“Dr. Risa Horowitz’s inclusion in this prestigious exhibition is a testament to the quality of her work, and demonstrates there is a growing recognition of her contributions as an artist,” said Rae Staseson, Dean of the Faculty of Media, Art, and Performance (MAP).

“MAP is extremely proud of this accomplishment and there is no doubt such high-level dissemination raises and extends the profile of the University of Regina’s research programs, both nationally and internationally. What a wonderful recruitment tool in terms of attracting top students to our programs.” 

Horowitz views her international exhibitions as an important opportunity for her students at the University to see professional practice and the rewards of a strong work ethic, determination, and persistence. “One of the most important things I think we can do as professors is model our disciplines to our students,” stressed Horowitz. “The University of Regina has been incredibly enabling and supportive of me. I get to share my knowledge in the nurturing of future artists and arts patrons, as a practicing professional artist and an educator.”

Horowitz had another reason to celebrate while in Washington. “I was able to visit the permanent installation of one of my photographs in the Canadian Embassy’s Arctic Room.” In 2017-2018, Horowitz travelled to the Arctic, to Longyearbyen, Svalbard, for two different artist residencies. The photograph chosen for the Embassy’s permanent installation from the collection of Global Affairs Canada is one from a body of work developed while sailing the fjords on a tall ship during the time of midnight sun. (Read more about Horowitz’s Arctic works in the Fall/Winter 2018 issue of U of R’s Degrees magazine.)

The Embassy’s Arctic Room,
with works (from left to right)
by Canadian artists Mary Pratt,
Renée Duval, Acacia Johnson,
and Risa Horowitz. Photo:
courtesy of the Embassy of
Canada, Washington, D.C.

Exhibitions such as these fulfill the country’s cultural diplomacy strategy in promoting our collective values about peace and conflict, human rights, climate action, and gender equality,” said Horowitz. “These international cultural initiatives also respond to Canada’s engagement with several UNESCO agreements, including the protection and conservation of cultural heritage, which ties in closely with the University of Regina’s Identity, Living Heritage, and Communities Research Cluster.”

This is not the first time Horowitz’s work has been selected by the Government of Canada as a representation of renowned Canadian artists and their work. In 2015, 20 pieces from her work Trees of Canada were purchased by Global Affairs Canada for permanent installation at Canada House in London, England                                                 


Government of Canada

Risa Horowitz website