Carmen Haakstad & Jim Stokes
June 22, 2012 - September 23, 2012
In the fall of 1980, Carmen Haakstad and Jim Stokes took a trip out to the Haakstad homestead near LaGlace, Alberta, and made a pact that would influence the course of their lives. Carmen, who at 24, was the director/curator of the Art Gallery of Grande Prairie (formerly the Prairie Gallery), dreamed of someday working as a full-time artist. His younger friend, Jim, at 21, was already living that dream, but was searching for more meaningful inspiration in his work. The two found it in the changing landscape out along Emerson Trail, where prairie farm families who had toiled the land since the early 20th century were experiencing the rapid changes that had accompanied Alberta’s newfound status as a wealthy oil-producing province.
On that day, the two young men vowed to make the most of their talents in a way that celebrated the prairie culture they had thrived in, and to someday co-host an exhibition that paid tribute to both the land and those that had worked hard to create a life there. Thirty years later, having taken vastly different routes in their careers, but remaining true to their pact to give their best to the land that so inspired them, Carmen Haakstad and Jim Stokes created their duo exhibition Journey 2012. A catalogue detailing both their personal journeys and those of their homesteading ancestors is available for purchase at the Gallery.