Roberto Dutesco was given rare permission to visit Sable Island, Nova Scotia, back in 1994 (the island became a national park open to the public in 2014, though its location far from the mainland means most people will still never get the chance to go). Dutesco’s self-assigned task was twofold: to photograph the island’s famous wild horses, and to subsequently create a museum or art gallery setting for the photographs, on an ongoing basis. Part one was achieved a few years before part two, but visitors to New York City can visit The Wild Horses of Sable Island Gallery, which is entering its 11th year.
A great alternative is to visit the Judith & Charles boutique in Vancouver’s Oakridge Centre, where some select prints of Dutesco’s art can be found right in front of the boutique. Charles Le Pierrès, co-founder of the made-in-Canada women’s clothing brand, was in Vancouver to introduce the exhibition, which stays in place until April 7, 2017. “Roberto and I have been friends for years, and I thought this would be a wonderful opportunity to both celebrate his amazing work, and help raise funds for our charity,” he says. That charity, located in the Dominican Republic, is called Charlie’s Foundation, because “Charlie” is what Le Pierrès is known as there. Education, and expanding local children’s knowledge of the wider world around them, especially through tennis, is the emphasis, and as Le Pierrès tells the gathered guests, “We want these children to have opportunities in the world—to not be limited only because they lack education and lack resources.”
Collaborating with Charlie’s Foundation makes a lot of sense to Dutesco. From his home in snowy Montreal, he says, “Charles had an idea, and because we are friends, I listened. To have these photographs enable support for the programs in Dominican is something I wanted to do. The horses are not only a project—they are part of my personal system, running in my veins.” The images are riveting, full of life, with a trainload of emotional resonance. Each print is for sale, and all the funds go to the organization.
For Le Pierrès, having these photographs as part of the foundation’s ongoing efforts is “a privilege, of course. But the efforts required to create such a collaboration as this amount to nothing when you see these children smiling, and sharing what they learned in their daily lessons.” An intrepid artist made beautiful photographs in 1994, and these are now helping young children half a world away. Le Pierrès and Dutesco came together to produce something great: something that celebrates art, dedication, education, and, perhaps most of all, compassion.
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