Entertainment

Pandora revisited in new NAC show

John Law

By John Law, Niagara Falls Review

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

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

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 hard-earned 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.