Teacher's passing inspires tribute exhibit
Kenakin gave the gift of art to many
By: Scott Hayes
| Posted: Saturday, Oct 20, 2012 06:00 am
Mr. Kenakin's Memorial Art Show
Featuring the artwork of Catherine Jorden, Alix Willis, Shannon Giebelhaus, Jill Carolei, Kat Lamb, Becky Shepherd, Gwendolyn Wallace, and Selena Konkin.
Sunday, Oct. 21 from 6 to 9 p.m. at Bellerose Composite High School, 49 Giroux Road
Lawrence Kenakin was a beloved teacher of several subjects at Lorne Akins Junior High School before transferring to Bellerose High at the end of his teaching career. He was well known for promoting Ukrainian culture – especially during his performances with the Cheremosh dance company – and for his love of art.
When he passed away on September 23, it caught many completely off guard and struggling to find a way to show their thanks to the one person who offered them so much wisdom during his life.
One former student, Catherine Jorden, was sad to hear the news, and his memorial service occurred without many in the community even aware of the event. So she took it upon herself to assemble some likeminded friends and do something they knew he would appreciate: an art exhibit.
“When I heard about his passing, it was pretty low key,” she began, later adding that it was through a friend with connections with the school board. “I only knew a few people that knew about it. I wanted to put together something just so people that knew him could share their feelings about what happened.”
Jorden, 24, still has fond memories of when Kenakin was her art teacher for a few years starting in 2003. The experience led her to continue pursuing art education at a private art school in west Edmonton. Kenakin was also looking to take classes and develop his skills with oils instead of his favoured watercolours. Instead, he opted to teach himself.
“He just followed his own direction.”
The two kept in touch periodically. Kenakin was a member of the St. Albert Painters’ Guild and participated in at least one of the group’s semi-annual show and sale events.
Jorden first started a Facebook group called Mr. Kenakin’s Memorial to help make contacts and gather up people who would be interested in participating in a tribute exhibit. At last count, there were already several Bellerose alumni on the billet, although more could be signed up by the time the event starts on Sunday.
For her own part, she said that her work is much like her former teacher’s, realistic and with a lot of detail.
“One of his favourite artists was Brom,” she said, referring to the American fantasy artist.
She has several works inspired by Brom that will be on the walls. Her wish is that the event offers not only creative inspiration but also collective consolation for the loss of a dear friend.
“I’m just looking for people who knew him to attend, to share stories.”