Robert and Sangito Bigelow – Father & Son – at Headbones Gallery

By Staff Writer – Vernon Morning Star

Former Vernon resident Robert Bigelow is proof that artistry does get passed down through genes.


Known for his detailed pen and ink drawings, Bigelow’s son, Sangito, is also a renowned artist in his own right.

Robert Bigelow, 35A – 2011, ink pen, 10”x7

A recorded musician, he is currently studying at Emily Carr University, and has developed a visual language that is clear, hip and technically accomplished, said Julie Oakes, who is welcoming the two artists back to her Headbones Gallery for a joint exhibition.


Named Robert Bigelow & Sangito Bigelow, the colourful exhibition features works completed primarily in the last two years.


“It attests to a dedicated practice on the part of each artist,” said Oakes. “It also speaks for the nurturing of a creative home. The results are evident at Headbones Gallery as Bigelow charts his mind like a cartographer discovering new paths and Sangito speaks out with the reactionary angst embedded in the generation that comes into being in the second millennium.”


At the heart of the exhibition, the collaborative pieceBlack Goat, sums up the dynamic.


“The combination of generations shows the spark of confident creativity: the work actually bears a family resemblance,” said Oakes. “Sangito’s silk screens, lithography and etchings displays a graffiti-like narrative that provokes a complex read of  fresh ideas, while Robert expands his visual mind-mapping to record a deep tuned-in perception.”


The Bigelow family arrived in Vernon in 1995 when Robert’s wife, Marie, began studying at the Okanagan Valley School of Massage Therapy.


Robert previously worked at Concordia University in Montreal, where he pioneered a studio practice in the print making department.


Both their sons, Sangito and Myles, entered the Vernon school system.


Robert became the director of the Vernon Arts Centre, while Marie attained her massage accreditation.


“During the years they spent in Vernon their home was a meeting place for the arts community, filled with jazz, percussion instruments and a fervour of creativity,” said Oakes, who met Bigelow when he brought a portfolio of his drawings to her original Headbones Gallery.


“Within the brightly coloured, energetic, accomplished works that he showed, there was a spirit beaming forth,” she said, adding Headbones moved on to show Bigelow’s work in Vernon and Toronto as well as in Miami and New York art fairs.


In  2002, the Bigelows moved to Vancouver, where Robert and Marie’s other son, Myles, has become a renowned percussionist and DJ who has toured and recorded with the likes of Alex Cuba, K-OS and Alpha Yaya Diallo and is also a much respected solo artist.

The exhibition continues at the gallery until June 27.
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