Following up on the promotional piece in June’s issue, entitled, “Personal miracle spawns Aid to Women benefit,” I was able to attend the Ben Navaee Gallery’s show in support of Toronto’s Aid to Women, which ran June 1-11. To recap, Ben, the curator and artist whose work was on display, and his partner Lenka encountered Ann Wilson and Aid to Women through sheer serendipity. The couple found themselves facing an unplanned pregnancy and, meaning to pay a visit to the Cabbagetown abortuary, ended up instead in the Aid to Women office. From there, Ann carefully and compassionately informed Ben and Lenka of the problems, both mental and physical, they could have encountered should they have proceeded as initially intended.
Because of the new information, added to the promise of post-natal support, they decided to have their child. The experience Ben and Lenka went through inspired Ben to host an art show at his Toronto gallery in support of the fine work performed at Aid to Women. He showed his new ‘Aram art,’ inspired by an exploration into yoga and meditation.
On June 2, I attended the gallery opening for this exhibit and was greeted by the happy couple, as well as Ben’s older daughter and the new child. As you may recall from last month’s story, Ben used to be my landlord and I lived under the same roof throughout the latter portion of Lenka’s pregnancy. I was awoken one night – the day their child was born – by a great deal of commotion upstairs. Subsequently, Ben sold the house in order to find a larger and more accommodating home for his new family.
Throughout the opening evening of the exhibit, various guests passed through the gallery, many of whom were local artists from the area (Queen Street East now being a very trendy spot for bourgeoning artists). I had only met the couple’s new daughter a few times before and was surprised to see how cheerful and friendly she was, given the number of new faces she encountered that day. Wilson was present as well. We got to chat about the art on display, with both of us having trouble trying to pick our favourite piece.
Subsequent to this exhibit, I was informed that a local Beaches newspaper gave the distinction of “best gallery” to Ben. I also had a chance to speak to a young woman who purchased a print from the exhibit in support of Aid to Women. It was entitled, ‘Alone,” the first of a three-part series depicting a crisis pregnancy successfully resolved.
In the pro-life movement, every so often one hears or reads about a narrowly avoided tragedy, which through chance and empathy, is turned into a blessing. Rarely, however, is it expressed in the transcendent language of art. The anxieties faced by unplanned pregnancies are private pains that are too often swept up or overshadowed by politics and propaganda. Even in these pains, however, there is always present the beauty of hope.