A past exhibition by Viara Mileva looks at the moments of life that often go unnoticed–the everyday moments when we find pure joy. This photographic study of five families in Lennox and Addington County illustrates how the ordinary can become the extraordinary. To view this exhibit, I set off from the west end of Kingston, tracing highway 2 through farmland to Napanee, a pleasant half-hour drive to the Museum of Lennox and Addington.
I knew to find the museum behind the County Courthouse in a stone building that once housed the county jail cells. I took a moment to appreciate the stonework before entering the museum. Once inside, I was quickly drawn to Mileva’s photographs. They vividly capture family life: skating on a backyard rink, milking the cows, and gazing at a bug.
The parent-child relationship is an important theme, perhaps not surprisingly since Mileva is a scientist in the area of family dynamics, having earned her PhD in this field. She analyzed the tiny changes in facial expressions as mothers played with their babies. Now her focus on relationships has come alive in her photography. Her exhibition was on display until January 7, 2022.
Focusing on people is also at the heart of the Museum of Lennox and Addington. It is essentially a community hub that brings people together with special events every month. Since its major renovation and expansion, it has been offering a wide variety of programs in the areas of history, music and art. In the upcoming schedule you’ll find film showings, art programs for children and adults and lectures.
On November 9, 2021, the museum offered a live screening of The War at Home, followed by a talk and question period by filmmaker Dale Morrisey. This documentary about World War 2 describes the new challenges and opportunities for women when men joined the war effort, covering topics such as farming, professional sports and the Gibbard furniture factory.
History was also on the agenda on November 23, 2021, when Adele Crowder, a retired ecologist and professor emerita at Queen’s University, gave a talk about a farming family in the Odessa area based on a diary by Lucy Stover Davidson. The visuals accompanying the talk have been prepared by Eleanor Crowder, a writer, actor and director, who drew from historical photographs in the museum’s collection.
On leaving the museum, I decided to drive over to Springside Park to experience the everyday moments of life. It was lunch time and a number of people had stopped in the park to enjoy the falls and the riverside pathway while several others were fishing. Everyday life, I thought.
I heard excited voices as one young man spotted a large salmon swimming in the shallow water. Soon he had it on his line, then in his net, and in the next moment, he was posing for a friend to snap a photo. He gently placed the fish back in the river and it swam away. Springside Park, just a two-minute drive from the museum, is always a pretty spot to include in an outing to Napanee, but on that day in mid-October, it was a celebration of everyday life.
Credit for cover photo: Viara Mileva Photography
Helen Cutts, KAM Visitor in Residence, Writer