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Item Name: Drawing
Title: She strives to become what, in actuality, she already is
Maker: Kate Kokotailo
Year: 1997
Country: Canadian
Materials: coloured pencil on paper
Measurements: in frame: 72.5 cm x 92.5 cm; work: 57.5 cm x 76 cm
ID Number: ART 064
Legal Status: ART RENTAL

Extended Label Info: In this softly rendered drawing, Kate Kokotailo uses layers of pencil crayon to create a study of pattern and colour. Looking into the lush tangle of plants and flowers, we can see several smooth rocks or tiles between the leaves, etched with rune symbols similar to those used in a Nordic system of divination. On the right edge of the drawing, a printed cloth peeks out. The title of this work is very evocative: “She strives to become what, in actuality, she already is.” These details invite us to think about a symbolic reading of Kokotailo’s imagery. We might ask, “where is the person who is the subject of this image?” This drawing is from a series that was first exhibited in 1997 at Rosemont Art Gallery (now Art Gallery of Regina). The exhibition, entitled “Signs of Life”, also featured works by Ken Vaughn. In a review for the Regina Leader-Post, Greg Beatty noted that while Vaughn’s studies featured the body, Kokotailo’s drawing series seemed to describe an unseen person, an absent body signified by a dress lost in the foliage of the garden, forgotten or discarded. In a later interview, Kokotailo described this series as an exploration of her feelings during a period of personal hardship in which she felt loss and invisibility, and that the titles of the drawings were based on a book of Nordic Rune divination that had inspired her at the time. Kate Kokotailo studied Fine Arts at the University of Regina from 1973-74. In Regina, she worked as the graphic designer for Regina Public Library for 30 years. In 2012, Kokotailo moved to the Comox Valley, British Columbia, where she is a full-time artist, and holds memberships in the Brushworks group in Comox, ArtSphere Comox Valley, and Pearl Ellis Gallery. In recent years her focus has been on watercolour, studying with well-known American watercolour painters Birgit O'Connor, Leslie Redhead and Soon Y. Warren. Kokotailo’s current body of work is an exploration of colour in floral studies and landscape. Her work has exhibited regionally and can be found in public and private collections such as Dunlop Art Gallery and City of Regina.