Mia Italia is the passion project of Kathy Lauriente-Bonner depicting her experiences with her ancestral homeland of Italy. (Photo by Patrick Davies)

Mia Italia brings Williams Lake a taste of Italy

A love of an ancestral homeland expressed visually populates the Station House Gallery this month.

A love of an ancestral homeland expressed visually populates the Station House Gallery this month.

Williams Lake resident and artist Kathy Lauriente-Bonner was born and raised in a strong Italian-Canadian Household. Growing up, Lauriente-Bonner always considered herself as just a Canadian, until she visited Italy as an adult.

Visiting her ancestors’ homeland, her father’s family being immigrants, she quickly realized her Italian heritage had as much of an impact on her life as her Canadian heritage.

“Your culture is invisible to you, right, it’s just normal. It wasn’t until I went to Italy in 2010 when all of a sudden, literally from the moment we landed, it was like ‘Oh my God, I’ve come home!’,” Lauriente-Bonner described. “Everything was familiar and suddenly my whole life kind of made sense. It was like: This is why we do what we do and this is why we eat what we eat.”

This visit shifted her sense of cultural identity in a radical way, something that blew her away. Later on, she discovered her grandfather, an immigrated Italian, had also been a painter like her, with many of his works hanging in their house without Lauriente-Bonner ever knowing the true artist. As a way to honour him, one of his works is on display as part of her show, featured on an easel at its centre.

From her trip and newly-inspired love of her heritage, Lauriente-Bonner created many of the pieces that now grace the Station House as a part of the exhibit Mia Italia or My Italy.

“This show just sort of scratches the surface of some of the work that I’ve done from some of my travels in Italy. Some (are of) my favourite places and things that really stood out to me,” Lauriente-Bonner said.

Several of the pieces will be places past visitors to Italy or those learned in its history will easily recognize, such as Mount Vesuvius rising above the ruins of Pompeii. Others are still life, one wonderful work featuring a Vespa, and many have come from the photos Lauriente-Bonner took while in Italy.

Read More: Cowan, Cornwall legacies celebrated at Station House Gallery

In addition to the artwork, some of which is for sale, Lauriente-Bonner has also donated a dozen family photos tracing her heritage back to Italy, giving the show a deeply personal touch. Indeed, parts of the gallery now include a faux living room and dining table, further increasing the show’s homey and welcoming feel.

While much of the show is about her own experiences and the joy of travel, Lauriente-Bonner also hopes to change the conversation about immigrants by sharing her family’s story.

“The feelings around immigrants, there’s a lot of misconception around who immigrants are and quite frankly unless you’re of First Nations Ancestry we all come from immigrant stories and families,” Lauriente-Bonner said. “So the show is kind of meaningful to me in that way too, in terms of celebrating my own immigrant story.”

Artistically, she went for a very representational feel and while she often used photos as her base, she did not set out to perfectly recreate them. Lauriente-Bonner often used artistic license when it came to the colour palette she used in the paintings favouring vibrant colours that are seen throughout the gallery.

In addition to a sense of whimsy, Lauriente-Bonner really hopes that gallery visitors come away from her work thinking about their own cultural roots in new ways.

“A lot of the things that we do are often influenced by those cultural histories and we should kind of celebrate that, so I hope that’s also part of what people take away.”

Read More: Local artist invites people to ask ‘What compels me?’

In addition to the art, this month the Station House is selling raffle tickets at $20 a piece for the chance to win a five-course authentic Italian dinner cooked by Lauriente-Bonner.

On Nov. 20 the gallery will draw three winning tickets for the meal, which will be served on Nov. 24 at 7 p.m. in the Station House. Gallery.



patrick.davies@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

A use of vibrant colours is clearly felt in Kathy Lauriente-Bonner’s various painting of the Italian countryside. (Photo by Patrick Davies)

A still life by Kathy Lauriente-Bonner de[icting sunflowers. (Photo by Patrick Davies)

Kathy Lauriente-Bonner’s use of colours is exquisite in Mia Italia her new show at the Station House Gallery this month. (Photo by Patrick Davies)

The focus of Mia Italia is not on popular tourist destinations like Rome but instead on Kathy Lauriente-Bonner’s personal journies to home land of her family. (Photo by Patrick Davies)

Kathy Lauriente-Bonner’s family history is also on display at the Station House Theatre to give Mia Italia extra weight and context. (Photo by Patrick Davies)

A Venetian bridge stretching over one of the iconic canals is one of many pieces gracing the Station House this month. (Photo by Patrick Davies)

The ruins of Pompeii with Mount Vesuvius rising above by Kathy Lauriente-Bonner. (Photo by Patrick Davies)

A candid shot of laundry blowing in the wind in the Mia Italia show at the Station House. (Photo by Patrick Davies)

Just Posted

Roberts Drive resident Lisa Tarlings awoke at 6 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 29 to water roaring down the driveway. She and other residents began working to try and divert the water off the road into the ditch. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune.
‘I could hear the water roaring outside’: Williams Lake homes flood after snow, heavy rain

Bette McLennan has lived in her home 41 years and this is the worst it’s ever been

Residents of Riske Creek came to the rescue of a truck driver who slid off Highway 20 in icy conditions with a load of calves Tuesday night (Oct. 27). (Facebook photo)
Riske Creek residents rush to scene of overturned cattleliner on Highway 20 Tuesday night

Residents rounded up cattle and directed traffic in the dark during a heavy snowfall

One person was killed in a two-vehicle crash south of Williams Lake on Highway 97 Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. (Photo submitted)
Highway 97 crash south of Williams Lake claims one life

Road conditions at the time were slippery and covered with slush: RCMP

The City of Williams Lake is asking for input from the community on a proposed before and after school childcare centre. (City of Williams Lake image)
City seeking input on proposed childcare facility in Williams Lake

Economic development officer urges interested community groups, public to contact her

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports seven more COVID-19 cases

Eighty-nine cases remain active, none of whom are currently hospitalized

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Vancouver Island-based Wilson’s Transportation has expanded to fill some of the routes left unserviced by Greyhound as of Nov. 1, 2018. (Black Press files)
B.C. bus companies say they need help to survive COVID-19

Like airlines, motor coaches have lost most of their revenue

A deer was spotted in October 2020 in Prince Rupert, B.C., with a bright pink yoga ball stuck in its antlers. (Kayla Vickers/Chronicles Of Hammy The Deer Official Page)
Hammy 2.0? Prince Rupert deer spotted with bright pink yoga ball stuck in antlers

The BC Conservation Officer Service is aware of the deer roaming around the city

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Kelowna Mountie hit with 2nd lawsuit in 2 months for alleged assault

Const. Julius Prommer is accused of breaking a woman’s knee during while responding to a noise complaint

Most Read