A Brush Stroke on Kingston’s Canvas: Heather Haynes Gallery

By Rosalyn Gambhir

As you stroll through Downtown Kingston, you cannot help but admire the picturesque scenery of City Hall.  Lying behind is Springer Market Square and just across the street sits Heather Haynes Gallery; a perfect location with viewscapes such as the farmer’s markets, music events and skating rink depending on the year. This gallery of contemporary works of art has been quite accomplished since opening its doors in June 2012.
 
 
The gallery showcases Heather’s Worlds Collide and Women of East Africa pieces alongside her other works like the tree series and much more.
 
 

“Honest, colourful and unique” are the words Heather would use to describe her artwork and so they should be.

 
 
A true artist at heart, Heather Haynes is a kindred spirit whose passion is to creatively portray her emotions and adventures to Africa within her artwork. This is not your typical uptight gallery. With great heritage and a beautifully structured building, the space in which the gallery occupies comes to life with warmth and a welcoming feeling. Exposed brick to one side showcasing canvas paintings, a white wall parallel to the door and a center of jewelry tables, they all convey passion and love.
 
 
When asked what title she’d give herself if not that of an artist, Heather’s response was, “mom, daughter, sister, wife, friend, Mama Heather, and Dada (Swahili for “sister”).” This is Heather Haynes. A woman who has dedicated her life to social change, while taking care of a family of her own and creating marvelous pieces of representation with stories not of her own. Travels to East Africa and The Democratic Republic of Congo have long been her inspiration since 2008 for her Worlds Collide series.
 
 
Heather’s stay in Tanzania exposed her to The Hard Life Artists and their benefits in bringing art and escape from life to young high-risk African children. A group of former street kids giving back to their community was extremely moving to Heather. The Hard Life Artists give hope and inspire the children armed with their newfound talents, that a bright future is possible. A great believer in giving back, Heather has donated a large amount of funds raised through her artwork back to different projects. She has contributed to the movement through art, spreading passion to help those in a world far from ours.
 
 
The bodies of work that she has created related to her trips and projects in Africa help “feed her soul” and she truly believes this is her “higher purpose in life.” Spoken like a true artist full of appetite who spends countless hours in her studio.
 
 
However, the gallery is a family affair also featuring beautifully handcrafted jewelry by Heather’s sister Whitney Haynes. Her inspiration is Mother Nature, all things simple, natural and rustic.
 
 
With gracious support from the Kingston community for nearly 20 years, Heather’s style has evolved in different ways over the years. Yet this community was and still is incredibly supportive of her work, both on canvas and off. Let us think about personal growth, find our inner purpose, pause for a second and appreciate life. Now let’s give back in our own way. These are just a few of the emotions conveyed at Heather Haynes Gallery.
 
 

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Series of Trees on display as you walk in into the gallery.

 
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Whitney Haynes Designs in display along with Heather Haynes artwork in the background.

 
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Artwork images transferred on to an untraditional but unique surface – leggings.

 
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Homage to the women that Heather met during time spent in Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and The Democratic Republic of Congo.

 
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An example of Canadian subculture.

 
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Gallery window looking out onto Springer Market Square.

 

Fun tidbit:

 
A girl’s best friend is…
 
“Her ability to love and give love with an open heart. And of course for this girl, coffee!”
 
Where: 320A King Street East, Kingston