Zorica Vasic, a Toronto-based artist, merges folklore, historical fascinations, and popular culture in her new series 'Zwarte Piet: Legends of the Sea' exhibiting at LandymoreKeith Contemporary Art in Toronto, Ontario from December 7, 2007- January 7, 2008. The artist will be present at the opening event taking place on December 7 from 6-9 pm.
'Zwarte Piet: Legends of the Sea' claims it's title from fairy-tale figure Zwarte Piet, Santa Claus' helper servant who on December 4th of every year sails on a boat from Spain to Holland. The exhibition features imaginary portraits of Zwarte Piet combined with portraits of documented historical pirates who were adventuring in the seas of Europe from the 15th -19th Century: inventing names and personas for themselves, becoming self-appointed nobles and perishing in the tropical circuit. Vasic' series confronts the viewer with human-size cultural symbols of the exotic: on the one hand repulsive, brutal and barbaric, on the other hand attractive, colorful and seductive. The exhibition blends the historical with the imaginary, falling somewhere between a thrilling yarn of the sea and an illustrated encyclopedia, creating a reading of history as entertainment.
Vasic has exhibited her work internationally at private galleries, public spaces and film festivals including Gallery TPW (Toronto), Suzanne Biederberg Gallery (Amsterdam) and City Hall Gallery (Hong Kong). Her work spans multiple artistic mediums including drawing, painting, collage, photography and film. She has received a B.F.A. from Akademy voor Fine Arts in Arnhem, Holland and an M.F.A. from Jan Van Eyck Akademy in Maastrict, Holland. She currently teaches at Ontario College of Art & Design, Toronto, Canada.