By Skyler Ash
Ryerson University fashion alumni Yolanda Hooganza was featured in a gallery on June 2 at the Ryerson Image Centre (RIC) featuring work she’d done in Paris as well as original sketches and watercolours. Her work was inspired by the torrid love affair she had with an older man who ate lots of baguettes but didn’t do much else.
“I don’t really understand why we’re talking about this now,” said Hooganza, who graduated from Rye High in 2004. “That was a few months ago, and the gallery is closed. This is very old news.”
Hooganza is correct: this is indeed very old news, as the gallery closed on June 23, and will never return to Canada ever again. Like, ever. That’s such a bummer!!!
The gallery was slated to run for two weeks, but was seeing such high attendance records that it ran for an extra week. A record 900 guests actually heard about the event and were able to attend—but you probably weren’t one of them.
At the gallery’s closing, attendees were asked to gather in a circle on the edge of Lake Devo, where Hooganza burned all her work in a heap to “free herself from the emotions.” After performing a tantric dance and screaming so loud only local dogs could hear her, Hooganza bowed and fled the scene. Guests cried. Emotions were high. Well, that’s our best guess, as, after all, we did not send a reporter to cover the event.
In addition to the arson, there was a strict no-photography policy set for the gallery, so there are no photos to be shown. Guests were also required to sign a release saying they would not describe the work, nor how it made them feel. You’ll literally never see or hear about this stuff, ever.
Peter Irgen, a first-year civil engineering student, who had not yet begun attending Ryerson when the gallery was running, was not in attendance. “Yeah, so, I didn’t go here then, so, like, I didn’t go,” he said.
Irgen is not alone. Hardly anyone knew about the gallery. Jillian Rogers, a fourth-year fashion student, a loyal reader of The Eyersonian, said she had not heard about the event. “Well, you guys never reported on it, and that’s usually how I find out about stuff like this. I’m actually pretty disappointed, I’ve been a big fan of Hooganza’s work for years. I would have really enjoyed going.”
That’s a shame.
Despite the strict rules around the gallery, The Eyersonian managed to obtain an interview with someone who saw Hooganza’s work.
“I was there, yes,” said Leeroy LeRoy, a man who just happened to be passing through campus during the gallery’s three week stint. “Well, I can’t really say anything, of course. Sorry.” But the look in his eyes said it all. There was a telltale twinkle, a spark of curiosity, hope, love, loss.
We really missed out on something big, folks. But hey, maybe next time!