6 Canadian artists who proudly follow in their mother’s footsteps – fr

6 Canadian artists who proudly follow in their mother’s footsteps – fr

There’s no denying how family ties can influence the things we’re drawn to. For these Canadians, seeing their mother’s passion for the arts inspired them to follow a similar path.
For many of them, following the same trajectory as their mothers felt natural, but for others it was a more winding journey that ultimately brought them even closer to their mothers.

CBC News spoke to six women who were inspired by their mothers to pursue the same artistic discipline.
WATCH | 6 artists in the footsteps of their mothers:

For each of the women who followed in their mother’s artistic footsteps, the journey was different, but they all found it ultimately strengthened their relationships. 3:25

A family of dancers

Heather Lewis, left, has been teaching dance since she was 18. Hailey Lewis, right, says her mother’s dance career has given them a special bond as they are able to bounce choreography ideas on top of each other. (Submitted by Hailey Lewis)

Hailey Lewis shares a strong bond with her mother, Heather, who has taught dance at the Burlington Dance Company (BDC) in Burlington, Ont., For more than two decades. Lewis said her mother was the reason she pursued a career in dance.

“I loved watching her teach because she was always encouraging, and the students left in style. I wanted to be part of that feeling of euphoria and feeling of oneness and accomplishment and sometimes challenge.

Lewis recently completed his first term as a dance teacher in the musical theater program at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ont.

She says sharing a passion for dancing with her mother gave her the freedom to make it her own.

Kari Bodrug says her community, family, and support system is centered around her family’s business, the Burlington Dance Company. (Kari Bodrug)

Kari Bodrug currently heads the BDC. Her mother, Cheryle Bodrug, started the studio 30 years ago in hopes of bringing the Burlington community together.

She says she’s learned a lot from being around her mom at work.

“I run the business the same way she did,” Bodrug said.

Bodrug has been the artistic director of BDC for over a decade and prior to that she was a performer.

“When I came back to the company, it was about honoring [her work], but at a certain level putting my own imprint on it, bringing the two ideas together of what she created and what I experienced. ”

While Bodrug continues to run the family business, his mother remains a trusted advisor to the studio.

Learn to paint

Magdalene Johnson considers the painting to be a gift from her mother. She also sees it as a therapeutic liberation. (Magdalene Johnson)

Magdalene Johnson grew up watching her mother, Jola (Maria) Misiak, paint.

Today, she is a fine art painter on Vancouver Island, having recently returned to the craft during the pandemic. Johnson says to paint and create a business around her strengthened her bond with her mother.

“My mother’s job [was] all over the walls. I remember coming home and there was a brand new painting on the wall. ”

Johnson recalled that although she grew up surrounded by her mother’s paintings, she resisted following the same artistic path and first embarked on teaching.

“I think she always saw this creative side of me and that I never really realized in myself. She would probably cry knowing that she was finally able to squeeze something out of me that looks a lot like her. ”

Although the two continue to share a common pleasure in painting, Johnson said her mother preferred to keep her paintings private.

Mother-daughter editors

Layla Ahmad, left, said she grew up going to book readings and book launches with her mother, Farida Zaman, right. (Layla Ahmad)

Children’s author Layla Ahmad grew up in a house that also housed her mother’s illustration studio.

Ahmad said this forced her to follow suit in the book publishing industry.

“It was something that I always really wanted and we ended up being in complementary fields,” Ahmad said.

Earlier this year, the mother-daughter duo released a book together called When mom is away. Ahmad said working and making his debut with his mother was a big mark of respect.

“There’s a whole thing where I want to work on more books with my mom, but I also want to be my own person. “

A family of music lovers

Zamani Millar hopes her music will take her around the world, just like her mother’s music did for her. She also plans to devote time to her other creative outlets, design and architecture. (Provided by Zamani)

Zamani Millar is a 20-year-old singer, songwriter and producer in Halifax, born into a family of music lovers. The singer said she modeled parts of her musical style after that of her mother, who was in the a cappella quartet. Four the moment.

Delvina Bernard was the primary founder and musical director of the feminist group that has performed across Canada and beyond for more than two decades.

“She was in a band, so I’m doing this solo and it’s different because the pressure is on me,” Zamani said.

From left to right, Anne Marie Woods, Delvina Bernard, Kim Bernard, Andrea Currie were the a cappella group Four the Moment. The band officially ended their music career in 2001, but have made numerous appearances since, most recently with civil rights activist and former Black Panther member Angela Davis in 2018. (Peter Marsman)

Zamani says she would love to see herself living a life outside of music, as her mother did while forging her career as an educator in Halifax. In Zamani’s case, it would be a career in community space development.


Tess Benger, left, says her acting career overlaps that of her mother Nicky Guadagni, right, but that they haven’t performed together yet. (Tess Benger)

Nicky Guadagni’s dedication to comedy inspired her daughter, Tess Benger, to pursue a career in musical theater on her own.

“It was a fun transition going into the hearing rooms with people who have known me since I was born,” said Benger, who is based in Toronto.

“The thing that I inherited [her] is in the rehearsal room, where my mom really enjoyed taking care of sick and injured people. ”

Benger said she looked into that sense of community she saw surrounding her mother.


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