Meet the Artist: Alexandra Haeseker
Alexandra (“Sandy”) Haeseker is an internationally exhibited visual contemporary artist with deep ties to the King Edward School, having been a student there after moving to Canada from the Netherlands with her family in 1955.
By the time Haeseker became a Canadian citizen in 1979, she had already established herself as a successful artist and joined the Permanent Faculty of Alberta College of Art and Design where she taught Post-Secondary Art for 30 years. Calgarian’s may recognize Haeseker’s brightly colored West Ride Story mural at the Calgary International Airport, which she counts as one her most meaningful artistic milestones.
Working largely in print media with traditional methods and advanced imaging technologies, Haeseker’s subject matter reflects her interests in “aspects of science” and “the collective & swarm theory” exploring how creatures from nature like swarms of bees, insects, schools of fish, crowds and line-ups of people operate under systems that are instinctual. Her subject matter also includes “autobiographical histories & story-telling” such as her 2005 political and autobiographical works called Breda I and Breda II, which incorporated personal history items and artifacts from the Second World War.
Haeseker’s proposal for the Grand Historic Entranceway is called HIVE and if chosen as one of the 3 public art pieces at cSPACE King Edward would see the historical foyer transformed by a combination of chalk-on-blackboard notes, giant sketches, and equations, meet bright, vibrant, and colourful “diagram studies of bee anatomy, lessons in flight, the bounty of flowers and a cacophony of motion with the activity of bees to animate and excite the space into an experience transition of scale that one moves through.” (Source: Artists proposal)
We caught up with Haeseker to see what’s on her reading list, how she navigates the challenges of the art world and what she thinks cSPACE King Edward will mean for the Calgary community.
Q: Pretend you’re pitching your cSPACE King Edward public art proposal in an ‘elevator pitch’: How would you describe the concept in just a few sentences?
A: Memory Wonder Listening Looking Joy Thought Finding Seeking Child Adult (repeat)
Q: What do you think cSPACE King Edward will mean for the Calgary community?
A: It will bring the past to the present with an eye on what the future can bring.
Q: What advice has influenced you?
A: Keep thinking Out Loud
Q: What are you currently reading, listening to or looking at to fuel your work?
A: I am reading Connie Barlow’s “From Gaia to Selfish Genes: Selected Writings in Life Sciences” / and: “When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals” by Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson / Susan McCarthy. These hold insights into the other species that we share environments with and allow me to be highly informed on my subject matter.
Q: What are your biggest challenges to creating art and how do you deal with them? How do you navigate the art world?
A: Balancing time is my biggest challenge, with museum projects coming next in Poland, Scotland, Greece, Serbia… but this is the infrastructure I operate in, and it feeds me. I navigate the art world geographically.