Gaia Orion Celebrates Women – Article in the Auroran
A collection of 35 paintings celebrating women and their femininity opened at the Aurora Cultural Centre on Saturday. Titled She Flourishes, this is artist Gaia Orion’s first big show in Ontario, although she has exhibited in several countries including Mexico, United States, Spain, Germany and Hungary and has received awards of excellence from Manhattan Arts International.
Her exhibition focuses women’s qualities and leadership in today’s world, and the potential for transformation. “Our world is trying to embrace and bring back their voice. Whether it’s Greta Thunberg or Serena Williams, we are starting to see young and older women speaking from a strong place of power, speaking the truth and inspiring so many people. The best part is that they are not a novelty; this is what they do. Twenty years ago, we wouldn’t have seen that, so it’s a sign of how much society has changed and where it is going,” said Orion.
Her title painting, She Flourishes, showcases a woman with her arms open and extending from the heart, emerging in a confident body stance. “She is very confident and very open. All the leaves around her are like fireworks. I think I see in her a confidence, an embracing of her talents and shining her light, spreading love, being open, vulnerable, and really embracing all those feminine qualities,” explains Orion.
Orion spent the first seven years of her life running naked on the beach and barefoot in nature. “I was born in Africa so it has an effect on my art. A lot of my planet paintings have Africa as the centre not just because it is connected to my personal story but also because Africa is the birth place of humanity. We are very Europe and America-centric, so putting Africa at the forefront of my work means something,” said the 46-year-old who grew up in Paris, France and met her husband while backpacking in Morocco. “We met in a bus. He’s from Canada so we had a long distance relationship. Then I moved here, we got married and we had three kids in a span of 14 months. My son is now 22 and my twin girls are 21 years old,” she added, laughing.
A mother of three, Orion is not afraid to share that she leads a good life. “I don’t have a stressful life. I live in nature and drink the healthiest water. I live in Orillia, a couple hours north of Toronto. My husband is a big nature guy while I grew up mostly in Paris so I like the bustling city and everything it offers. But I guess in my adult life, I’m getting to be more like a hermit who enjoys privacy and nature. Besides, it suits the life of the artist,” she said.
While her exhibition focuses on women, Orion clarifies that it is definitely about men too. “When women are heard by men, I think men are heard too. Men are much happier when they are respectful, soft, tender, vulnerable, sensitive and emotional. My paintings are inviting men as much as women to open up to She Flourishes,” she said.
Article for the Auroran Paper written by journalist Kinjal Dagli Shah
Copied with permission by the author.