BY SASHENKA PAATZ
Justine Giuliani’s love for life is expressed vibrantly through her artwork. As a Burlington artist, Giuliani openly shares the meaning and story behind her work as it represent the pieces of her life.
Giuliani paints what she knows and from the age of four, she knew dance.
“I was fascinated by and loved to dance,” says Giuliani. “I decided on the theme for my art pieces because dance has become a common thread throughout my life.”
Giuliani danced her way to competitions on TV where she showed off her abilities in ballroom dancing, jazz and samba.
Even after Giuliani stopped performing, she continued to participate in dance. As Giuliani reminisces, she says that The Canadian Opera Company, Canadian Stage and The National Ballet of Canada have been consistent throughout the last 25 years of her life.
Though Giuliani has always been interested in dance, she didn’t always have a passion for art. Travelling to Paris became the mode for which Giuliani found her calling.
“I went to see Monet in one of the art galleries and I was changed forever,” says Giuliani.
Now, Giuliani holds a strong view of what art means to her and the effect it has on all people.
“My art is a way of life for me. It is life itself – a discovery, a journey in union with God,” says Giuliani. “The expression of life through art is profound. Art affects, mirrors and shapes society and individuals in diverse ways.”
She started studying art seriously in 1977 when she went to the Dundas Valley School of Art for six years. The next year, Giuliani spent at Toronto School of Art. After these years of learning, Giuliani decided to teach what she had come to love. Giuliani taught at local schools for a couple of years before finishing her own education with a Bachelor of Fine Arts at York University.
The education and experience Giuliani gained from this time in her life led to an opportunity she could have only imagined before. Giuliani became both the founder and program director of her own artistic project called the Central Park Labyrinth.
The artist creation is an 11-circuit labyrinth that was inspired by a labyrinth at the Chartres Cathedral in France, according to Central Park Labyrinth website. The Central Park Labyrinth in Burlington on New Street is built in a circular shape from coloured concrete and a pattern is layered over top.
Working on the labyrinth was a big project for Giuliani. She raised over $200,000 to complete the project from 1999 to 2005.
“I danced on the labyrinth through the process of creativity and problem solving,” says Giuliani.
The labyrinth is designed to only have one path leading to the centre and out again. For someone to walk the labyrinth, they must use their mind in a creative and intuitive way that can have a calming and balancing effect, according to the Labyrinth Community Network.
Giuliani’s work is seen as a significant part of the City of Burlington’s Public Art Program.
The artist’s latest endeavour has received a similar response from the community of Burlington. Giuliani has a selection of paintings on display at the Art Gallery of Burlington. Giuliani’s exhibit includes 11 paintings on both canvas and paper.
Giuliani has worked on the paintings in this collection for a couple years now. She made each piece in her new studio after she and her husband rebuilt their house in 2016. Having her own studio has been a dream of Giuliani’s for many years. The artist says she experienced profound joy from making every painting.
Giuliani has entitled her exhibit The Art of Dance.
“As I reflect… The Art of Dance has been the common denominator in my life.”
Giuliani’s work will be exhibited at the Art Gallery of Burlington until March 18.