Sonia Haberstich & Adrian Gorea

Sonia Haberstich

A piece of wood or cardboard attached to the end of a stick; words or images covering the surface. The protest sign is a peaceful, sometimes angry, always concerned voice. It is often hand-made, creative and personalized. It is carried around, high enough to be seen, denouncing social injustice, government decisions, or corporate abuse. Protestors march on, picket signs in hand. The energy of the crowd is palpable, volatile, powerful.

The protest sign is a strong symbol that provokes reactions, sometimes repression and violence. Conflicts between protestors and other groups often occur. Confrontations with armed forces or the police are commonplace worldwide, and the outcome usually favours the authorities.

Through protest, though, there is hope for change.

While Quebec artist Sonia Haberstich leaves the meaning of her works open to interpretation, their format evokes a specific function – that of the activist marching for social change and wanting to be heard. Her collection of protest signs, abstractly and lusciously painted with vibrant pops of colour, exudes optimism and hopefulness amid (or in spite of) growing global inequality.

Adrian Gorea

Adrian Gorea aka Saints+Adrian

The practical and theoretical foundation of Gorea's work is derived from extensive academic research theology/philosophy, art history and phenomenology, painting religious icons for churches, and the direct experience of seeing people prostrate before the icons he has created.

Traditionally, the Byzantine icon activates a transformative space where viewers are invited to exchange gazes with the depiction of a holy image that appears to acquire the physical presence of a living person. This iconic vision, however, is a challenging viewing experience in Gorea’s work given the infiltration of contemporary pop icons.

Gorea's practice involves the fusion of symbols, from Christ to the Apple logo, as a way of highlighting the popularity, meaning, and devotional quality of today’s consumer imagery as well as the concept of consumerism as a pseudo-religion. Produced through the use of familiar, contemporary art techniques, the combination of Byzantine iconographic style and narratives with pop culture icons compels viewers to reflect upon, and potentially rethink, their spirituality in today’s commercialized culture.