Sandra Vida

I enjoy working with concepts that welcome a wide range of associations and layers of meaning. My art projects have often been grounded in social issues, investigating social roles and expectations from a woman’s viewpoint. I often approach these issues from the perspective of how the personal and political are intertwined. Ongoing interests over my long career include my Scottish Celtic ancestry, spiritual exploration, psychological concepts and poetic text. Performances often involve a reclaiming or restorative impulse and a meditative sensibility. The space created by art can act as a space for the imagination to discover alternate meanings and options. I believe that art should be grounded in a community, and integrated with daily life on a number of levels.  In a similar way I consider my actions in community as an important part of my cultural practice. I try to create situations that enact a preferred reality.As I move into my 70s and consider my art career of over 30 years, I have become interested as well, in the operation of memory — the relation of memories to dreams as well as to life choices and attitudes.

During the Gibraltar Point residency, I will be developing a new performance work titled Vigil: Field of Crones,  growing out of previous related explorations. My most recent work was a large scale video installation called FALL/FLOW, withtraversable veils through which the viewer passed, like walking through a waterfall. I will work with 3 other women of “crone” age who will enact a ritual of remembrance, honouring, sharing, and cleansing. The project arises from memories of the 2-year period when I was in Toronto as administrator of ANNPAC (93-94). The organization went through a tectonic shift in an effort to embrace diversity and inclusivity at that time. Those working for change gathered for mutual support, and engaged in rituals at the lakeside, and similar actions may be included in the evolving performance work. Water washes away pain and sorrow, and metaphorically acts as a symbol of renewal and revitalization. I also want to call up the notion of the “morphogenic field,” in this case, a collective, unifying memory or identity that is powerful as an agent of patterning new modes of behaviour.


Born in Calgary, Sandra Vida has for over three decades produced innovative works in photo-based collage, performance, film, video and installation. With a background in Psychology and English as well as Art, she has presented her inter-media work locally and internationally. Along with her art practice, she is known as an advocate for the arts and arts groups. She has been nominated for a Governor-General’s award in media arts; she received an Established Artist award from Calgary’s Mayor for her dedication to the Calgary arts community.



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