Andrew Sookrah: Inspired by the Arctic

Sookrah.3.aAndrew Cheddie Sookrah is an elected member of the Society of Canadian Artists (Lifetime), the Canadian Society of Painters in Watercolour, the Ontario Society of Artists and the Portrait Society Of Canada.

Born in Guyana in 1956, Andrew immigrated to Canada in 1974 and has passionately embraced the Canadian experience in art, design and business. As Creative Director of Engine Room, he worked on provincial and national campaigns, as well as international projects in the US and UK. His fine art body of work includes landscape, portraiture & figurative paintings and ceramic sculpture. Andrew was artist-in-residence aboard Adventure Canada’s Sable Island voyage in 2017. He will join Adventure Canada’s “Out of the Northwest Passage” expedition in 2019.

Andrew Sookrah spoke to us about what he loves, and looks forward to, aboard Adventure Canada’s voyages.

What surprised you on your first trip with Adventure Canada?
My first trip with Adventure Canada was the 2017 trip to Sable Island and from a logistics side of things, I knew what to expect having been on an expedition ship before (to the Arctic in 2006); and I had done some research on Sable Island before we left. But I wasn’t completely aware how comforting, and supportive the environment is onboard the Ocean Endeavour and when we were on the Island. The respect for the Island and its inhabitants shown by the crew and staff was not a surprise to me, but I did make a note of it.

Leaving.Gros.Moren.2.2019.SmlHow would you describe your work as an artist?
My artistic expression in one that is informed by many influences – from realism, graphic, abstraction and social commentary, it’s one that goes to the core of my existence, it’s one where I am constantly observing and documenting what is happening around me. It’s the study and the awareness of the interconnectivity of everything.

I knew from a very young age that my drawings and paintings were different from the ones being done around me; I did not know if they were better, I just knew that they were different. The work I do now is the result of an approach of constantly setting the bar higher for myself, to set myself apart from the crowd.

For many years I had dual passions; my creative direction career in advertising and my fine art. Now I am focused on my artistic expression, in some ways I am still driven by dual passions, I paint and I teach art. Being able to do what I do is a gift – one I’m grateful for and one that I know comes with an obligation. I should hope that I am respectful of that gift, and use it in a way that benefits the people around me. If I as an artist can paint pictures that are on some levels appealing or impactful but they also have a social commentary to them, I will have fulfilled my obligation.

On my first trip to the Arctic 2006, I did a bit of journaling. As I gazed on the icebergs for long periods of time it occurred to me that in the ten to fifteen thousand years of these icebergs being formed they were collecting information on the events that took place during their formation. And now that those icebergs are melting, they are releasing those stories, re-telling them to us. If we still our minds we can hear those stories. Some are joyful, some are devastating, and they are not just stories of the Arctic.

I do iceberg sculptures in porcelain, whenever I get into the studio I touch that clay and say thanks. I’m aware that that piece of clay has been around since the beginning of time. And it’s going to take a different form, like an iceberg takes a different form from water to ice to water. I am just a facilitator of that change, someone who strives to find a connection from one form of existence to the next.

Iceberg.Fusion.Epic.1.B

 

How do you work aboard?
I find a spot somewhere, anywhere and I paint. I’ve always maintained that I could draw and paint everywhere (the staff were very helpful in this area when I travelled with them!). There was a spot where I was able to set up and paint, while interacting with the other adventurers, being in the moment of where we are. I share quite freely with anyone who is interested enough to talk to me about what I’m doing. There is a dedicated room set up for painting workshops as well where I will be working with groups of passengers wishing to paint.

I would dearly love to have them create a piece of art on the Ocean Endeavour, something personal that is of them and of the moment. Being in the Arctic can have the effect of profound transformation. The Arctic is one of those regions that emphasizes the spirituality of any place. I could help them in any style, to create a piece that is of them – that they can say this was done in the Arctic, on this trip. I will also be doing a presentation and talk about the art of the regions that we’ll be visiting. And I’ll also talk about my own work, hopefully with some live painting!

CITR.Series.Leaving.Gros.Morne.New.SmlWhat do you do after your trips?
I’ll tell you a quick story that will answer that question. When I was coming home from my first Arctic trip I was on Highway 401 coming back from the airport in Ottawa with my wife. She was bringing me up to date and saying “I made some changes around the house…” I started to worry a bit. She laughed. My wife had gone to Ikea, bought shelving, pushed the dining room table to one side, brought my easel and paints up from the basement. She said “I knew when you came back you were going to want to paint.”

I will spend every waking moment that I can afford to with my easel, with my clay. I’ll be very keen to talk about the experience. I’ll be producing work and sharing my experience with Adventure Canada. And there will be shows!!

Is there anything in particular you’re looking forward to?
One of the key things is to see the passengers have a painting/sketch that they bring back with them. I am also looking forward to being a part of the Adventure Canada Team. I’ve been in group environments for as long as I can remember and I try to treat each as one of collaboration.

I look forward to working with the staff. I saw the respect they had for each other and for the crew of the ship. We’re all part of a chain. If we’re aware of the link that comes before us and the one after us then the chain is strong and effective. I’m hoping to contribute whatever my link needs to be in the bigger chain. The two key words are respect and support.

Join Andrew Cheddie Sookrah aboard Adventure Canada’s Out of the Northwest Passage, September 2-18, 2019.

Adventure Canada wins 2014 Cruise Vision Award

CruiseVision

L to R: Shawna Strickland, port of Port aux Basques/Cruise Association of NL; Vanessa George, Marketing Manager for Cruise the Edge; Cedar Swan, VP, Adventure Canada.

On the heels of our twenty-fifth anniversary last year, 2014 marks another milestone for Adventure Canada: twenty years of operating in Newfoundland and Labrador.

And there’s no better way to kick off this season than with the 2014 Cruise Vision Award, “presented to leaders who demonstrate a meaningful commitment to the provincial cruise industry”.

As our VP, Cedar Swan said:

“Each year, we strive to launch new initiatives and itineraries that promote Newfoundland and Labrador as a premier cruise and travel destination and we’re thrilled to be recognized for our dedication, passion and creativity in the region. Newfoundland and Labrador is a guest favourite. We appreciate every opportunity to be a part of the community and are honoured to receive this award.”

2014CruiseVisionAwardThe Tourism Excellence Awards, held recently in Gander, Newfoundland, celebrates achievements and commitments to the region’s booming tourism industry.

Fully half of Adventure Canada’s guests visit Newfoundland and Labrador, and we are proud to have taken a leadership role in bringing travellers to remote outports and hamlets across the province. We’ve helped develp Nunatsiavut, the Inuit homeland of Labrador, as an expedition cruise destination, and shared the stunning beauty of Torngat Mountains National Park.

We’re grateful to some of the region’s finest artists, culturalists, authors and musicians, who have travelled with us and helped us promote Newfoundland and Labrador’s incredible array of cultural offerings. The award is a reflection of the joy we’ve shared.

Newfoundlandlighthouse

Photo: Hospitality Newfoundland & Labrador

Visit Newfoundland and Labrador on one of these Adventure Canada 2014 expedition cruises:

Newfoundland Circumnavigation, June 2-12
Sable Island, June 12-20
Sable Island, June 20-28
Newfoundland and Wild Labrador, June 29-July 12
Greenland and Wild Labrador, September 11-24

Visit our trips page to see our full suite of Newfoundland and Labrador trips, including land-based small group tours perfect in combination with our seagoing adventures.

Picture-perfect Passage

The crow's nest was the perfect place to capture movement around ice.

Gregory Coyes’ perch was the perfect place to shoot icebergs.

Travelling aboard the Sea Adventurer to Greenland and the Canadian Arctic is a documentarian’s dream come true. Cameras are everywhere on our trips, of course, but other, less common methods of capturing the moment were in evidence too on our recent trip Into the Northwest Passage: an old fashioned sketch book, a hi-tech remote controlled video helicopter, and a newfangled audio recorder all played their parts.

Here are a few documents of documentarians in action, capturing aspects of their amazing Arctic experience—a picture-perfect Passage.

Staff archeologist Lisa Rankin in Sisimiut, Greenland

Staff archeologist Lisa Rankin in Sisimiut, Greenland

Bill Freedman had a scientist's love for the natural world.

Bill Freedman had a scientist’s love for the natural world.

Musician Charles Spearin gathers found sounds in Greenland

Musician Charles Spearin gathers found sounds in Greenland

Shooting for a Chinese reality show, near Uummannuuq, Greenland.

Shooting for a Chinese reality show, near Uummannuuq, Greenland.

The ice off Karrat Island, Greenland was a wonder.

The ice off Karrat Island, Greenland was a wonder.

A sketchbook captures impressions a camera may miss.

A sketchbook captures impressions a camera may miss.

Noah Richler with Resolute Bay bulletin board

Noah Richler wanted to remember the Resolute Bay bulletin board

Filmmaker John Houston is pretty handy with a camera, too.

Filmmaker John Houston is pretty handy with a camera, too.

How do you do justice to a 16km2 tabular ice floe in Baffin Bay?

How do you do justice to a 16km2 tabular ice floe in Baffin Bay?

The ill-fated remote controlled helicopter videocam was brilliant while it lasted.

The ill-fated remote controlled helicopter videocam was brilliant while it lasted.

Former HBC post, Dundas Harbour, Devon Island

Former Japanese governor Akiko Domoto at HBC post, Dundas Harbour, Devon Island

Supply cupboard, Dundas Harbour HBC post

Supply cupboard, Dundas Harbour HBC post

Barney Bentall gets creative with his camera

Barney Bentall gets creative with his camera

Searching for musk oxen, Croker Bay, Nunavut

Searching for musk oxen, Croker Bay, Nunavut

At the foot of Executioner's Cliffs, Icy Arm, Nunavut

At the foot of Executioner’s Cliffs, Icy Arm, Nunavut

Ice off Greenland was endlessly fascinating.

Ice off Greenland was endlessly fascinating.

National Geographic's Bruce Bi documenting a drum dance

National Geographic’s Bruce Bi documents Lynda Brown & Lamech Kadloo’s drum dance

One of the great photogenic plants: Arctic cotton.

One of the great photogenic plants: Arctic cotton.

Icebergs are nature's own abstract sculptures.

Icebergs are nature’s own abstract sculptures.

Adventure on the horizon!

It’s a busy time at the Adventure Canada headquarters along the icy shores of Port Credit, Ontario.

We may be gazing out at the depths of winter, but our minds are on the spring and summer seasons stretching ahead of us. And no wonder: just look at the trips ahead of us as we celebrate our 25th year in style.

Lovers of exotic locations will be excited to hear we’re heading back to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands shortly, followed by Cusco and Machu Pichu. Fans of “Britain’s Better Half” will want to know all about our two trips to that legendary destination: Scotland Slowly, and Scotland to Greenland.

And then, as spring flings into summer, comes a series of the Arctic excursions for which we are so well known. Take your pick of Heart of the Arctic, Alianiat Arts Festival, Into the Northwest Passage, Out of the Northwest Passage, and Artic Explorer.

As the summer sun hangs high in the sky, you’ll find us heading slowly southward again in style, via Greenland and Wild Labrador, and our spectacular Newfoundland Circumnavigation.

Meanwhile on the West Coast, the Great Bear Rainforest beckons the adventurous traveller. And don’t miss your chance to visit the wild vistas of  one of the world’s ten remotest parks, with Torngat Mountains Base Camp and Torngat Mountains Heli-Hiking.

That’s only a sample of what we’re doing, and where we’re going this year. Hope you’ll join us!