The WOMEN OF MICHEL – PIECES OF HER – ART STORY DRESSES
WOMEN of MICHEL -ART PHOTO BOOK
DAUGHTERS of Miche -Docu-series
PIECES OF HER- AR:T STORY DRESSES
Master Muralist and Storyteller, ARTIST Michelle Kozler- Loughery
Michelle was born in 1961, in Michel BC, in a midwife’s home at dawn. Her mother named her after the town that morning, resulting in the name Michelle Dawn.
In 1965 her mother, Patricia, was devastated by the loss of her baby Mary. From her earliest years, Michelle had an empty feeling that she couldn’t pinpoint. She yearned to connect with a mother grappling with unspoken loss. Michelle developed a sixth sense for unseen trauma that permeate every family and community. Michelle took that sense to support the thousands of youth she mentored during her career. Michelle sought truth, and as a spirited young woman, she had no choice but to live authentically. This seeking has resulted in this important piece of work she created called “Pieces of Her-Patricia”
In the 1990s RDEK director Geri Rothel reached out to Michelle. She asked her to work at the Sparwood Arts Council. This opportunity and support from Geri, Michelle says changed her life. A young mother in an industry town, Michelle sought to bring culture and arts to her children’s lives. The work and women of the organization, and the roots of the amazing women of Michel, Natal and Middletown that were part of her upbringing are what Michelle always speaks of in the creative community work she does. She is well known for saying “The Wayfinder model is what I learned from the women of Michel. To build a hospital, how do you do it? You bring the women to the table and it will happen. From births, deaths, weddings, teas, fundraising and life, it is the women that are the thread that tie us all together.”
Michelle found her calling: working large and building communities around the world. Thirty-five years since painting the heritage murals in Sparwood, Michelle hasn’t stopped. By founding the Wayfinder Project she beautifies communities and mentors youth around the world. She received the British Columbia Community Achievement Award in 2005. She has also received recognition from the premier and lieutenant governor. Projects of note include the Route 66 Mural Project, The 911 Memorial Painting, now in the Smithsonian and one of her murals was sanctioned by Elvis Presley Estate.
Michelle lives and works in Vernon, and now has five grandchildren.
She is collaborating on the “Pieces of Her “ project with her mother who is also an artist, and other women from Michel BC and around the world. The project is based on the pieces that are lost and shared as women walk through their lives. Loss, love, hope, and more are represented in the pieces removed from the wedding dresses and the stories the dresses tell.
Loughery has a digital story telling component to the art pieces where the viewer can listen to the story of the dress and companion portraits to the pieces. The fun fact is Michelle cut up her mother’s Chantilly wedding dress when she was a young teen to make a doll dress. As horrible as that must have been for her mother, Loughery says her mother instead praised the doll outfit. To this day Michelle says her mother has been her greatest artistic influence.
“Pieces of Her ” is a multi media art exhibition that explores the lives of women. Loughery is interviewing women and responding to their stories while creating contemporary evocative installations of paintings, encaustic art, and deconstructed wedding dresses that when combined with her podcast platform create a place of return and healing.
The exploration is a life tribute the the community work and unseen presence of women that have inspired Loughery in life and career. Loughery was born in the small coal town of Michel BC. Named after the town, Loughery explores the deep roots of the coal and natural environment that she is from. Her stories and installations are breathtaking to behold.
ART STORY DRESS Tour 2022
September – October Fernie BC- Fernie Museum 2022
September -October Vernon BC – Gallery Vertigo 2022
PIECES OF HER STORIES @ARTROUTERADIO