Rein­vent­ing Pandora for new NAC show

The Niagara Falls Review - - FRONT PAGE - JOHN LAW

It’s a bit of Greek mythol­ogy that has always both­ered Dr. Ron Clavier.

Under or­ders from Zeus, Hephaes­tus molded the first woman out of the earth, with all of the gods be­stow­ing her with unique gifts. She lived in a paradise, but one day opened a box which re­leased all of hu­man­ity’s evil and mis­for­tunes.

It’s a tale which in­sin­u­ates women are re­spon­si­ble for mankind’s trou­bles, point­ing to her as the source of all mis­ery in the world.

Her sym­bolic sis­ter Eve knows the feel­ing.

For his latest art show, Clavier wanted to paint Pandora in a new light. His 20-piece ex­hi­bi­tion opening at the Ni­a­gara Artists Cen­tre Nov. 25 poses a “hu­man­is­tic chal­lenge to cul­tural misog­yny.”

“My wife, my mother, my sis­ters, my daugh­ters and my fe­male col­leagues and friends are strong, in­tel­li­gent and coura­geous,” he said. “As­sum­ing that Pandora her­self was such a woman, I asked my­self why she would have opened the box.

“When the an­swer came to me. I knew I had to re-in­vent the myth on can­vas.”

Clavier is an in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned psy­chol­o­gist who moved to Ni­a­gara-on-the-Lake in 2013. Among his first Ni­a­gara art shows was a trib­ute to John Stein­beck com­prised of paint­ings in­spired by Cal­i­for­nia’s Sali­nas Val­ley. Pro­vid­ing voice overs to ac­com­pany the show was Clavier’s friend Woody Har­rel­son.

For the new show, Clavier wanted to ex­pose the nar­ra­tive of Pandora by Greek mythol­ogy’s male gods, and con­trast it with a sto­ry­line in which pow­er­ful fe­male gods turn the ta­bles. Rather than ac­cept her fate, Pandora re­ceives strength, in­tel­li­gence, cu­rios­ity and com­pas­sion from fe­male gods such as Aphrodite and Athena.

Through a fem­i­nist con­text, he says, opening the box be­comes an act of hero­ism.

“Though she suf­fers wrath and hu­mil­i­a­tion for opening the box, Pandora is se­cure in the knowl­edge that what she did was right,” says Clavier. “She emerges with hard­earned re­spect, equal­ity with men, con­fi­dence and in­ner peace.”

One-third of sales from the show will go to­wards Gil­lian’s Place in St. Catharines, which of­fers abused women and their chil­dren shel­ter, sup­port and ser­vices.

The show will be ac­com­pa­nied by a con­ver­sa­tion Clavier is host­ing at the Mah­tay Cafe in down­town St. Catharines Nov. 21.

The show opens Nov. 25, 7 p.m., at the Ni­a­gara Artist Cen­tre’s Dennis Tourbin Mem­bers’ Gallery. The gallery is at 354 St. Paul Street, St. Catharines.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

Part of Ron Clavier’s 20-piece ex­hi­bi­tion Pandora, opening at the Ni­a­gara Artists Cen­tre Nov. 25.

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