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Honouring a Squamish creative force

'Steward of the Forest: the Art and Life of Alain Gorgien,' at the Foyer Gallery on Nov. 19.

He was a unique and creative fellow, and, thus, this is a unique and creative event.

Steward of the Forest: the Art and Life of Alain Gorgien, at the Foyer Gallery on Nov. 19, is both an opening ceremony for an exhibit of Gorgien's artwork that will be on display in the lobby of the Squamish Public Library, and a celebration of life of sorts.

Gorgien died suddenly on Jan. 16, this year.

Nov. 19 would have been his 72 birthday.

Longtime-friend Heidi Nielsen is organizing the event.

Nielsen told The Squamish Chief that friends, family, and the community are invited to gather and witness what Gorgien created at his home in Paradise Valley, for over 30 years.

"Come to hear stories and learn more about the intention and focus of Alain's art and his unique personality as you enjoy some music and lemon tarts  —  witnessing his spectacular and creative art pieces filled with wonder and enchantment," she said.

Speakers at the opening ceremony event on Nov. 19, among others, will include Gorgien's good friend Erik Musseau, who inspired the name of the opening event, and Andrea Hoff, who worked with Gorgien at his pottery studio.

Nielsen met Gorgien when they were both working at Howe Sound Brewing back in the early 2000s.

She later became a tenant of Gorgien and his life-partner Janic Evin.

He was a multi-faceted and talented man, Nielsen noted.

"He was just a master of so many things.”

In addition to his art, Gorgien was a skilled pastry chef who owned the Alley Cat Bakery for a time.

"He was a master pastry chef, professionally trained, and he would make the most amazing wedding cakes, and lemon tarts, and amazing desserts," she said.

Nielsen said he was generous and kind, recalling how Gorgien treated her son, Sage.

"My son would come in, and he was little at the time — seven or eight years old — and [Alain]  was so sweet. He put the apron on Sage and would stand him up at the counter and teach him how to wash the strawberries," she said.

Gorgien was caring not just of people, but of the land, Nielsen added.

"When Sage was little, Alain would be very clear: we don't make new paths in the forest; you follow the paths that are already created," she said. "Definitely a steward of the forest."

His art

Gorgien's art will be on display at the Foyer Gallery, located at the Squamish Public Library entrance, through January and, thus, through the first anniversary of his death on Jan. 16.

His artistic mediums included clay, gemstones, metal, leather, wood and acrylic paint. He also built creative structures on his property, such as a fence inspired by one he had seen on a trip to Mongolia.

Though Nielsen encouraged him to show his art publicly, she said he resisted and was very humble about it.

"But it needs to be seen. It needs to be appreciated."

The opening reception at the Foyer Gallery runs from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m.


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