Friends of Carel Moiseiwitsch have launched a fundraising page for the prominent Vancouver artist and political activist after she lost her home, studio, and a lifetime's worth of original art in the June 30 wildfire that destroyed the B.C. town of Lytton.
Moiseiwitsch—who was born in London during the Blitz, studied painting at St Martin's School of Art, and came to Vancouver as a single mother with three children in the early 1970s—taught drawing and comics at what was then known as Emily Carr College of Art and Design.
Artist Jeannie Kamins and grunt gallery cofounder and curator Glenn Alteen organized a GoFundMe page to raise $20,000 in order to, as the page says, "help her re-establish her studio and studio practice over the coming months...The funds raised will be used by Carel to rent a temporary art studio in Vancouver, restock it with art supplies, tools and equipment, and begin the important process of reimagining a future life and studio practice back in Lytton."
According to the fundraising page, Moiseiwitsch and her partner, Gordon Murray, only had minutes to flee the Lytton inferno, with just enough time to grab her sketchbooks, their dog, and one of their two cats.
A video of their harrowing escape by car is posted on the GoFundMe page and below.
Moiseiwitsch was a regular contributor of usually stark black-and-white article and cover illustrations to the Georgia Straight in the late 1980s and '90s. She also exhibited in both group and solo shows—including a 1989 solo exhibit at the Vancouver Art Gallery—drew caustic political cartoons and comics, and contributed to comics anthologies.
She also did illustrations for the Vancouver Sun until, she has said, she was fired by a "right-wing editor", and she produced work for Seattle alternative publicatons the Rocket and the Stranger, as well as New York City's venerable Village Voice weekly.
Moiseiwitsch described herself as a "punk rock anarchist feminist" during the early '80s in a 2017 interview, and she later founded and ran a visual-arts workshop for addicted and mentally ill clients of downtown Vancouver's Portland Hotel Society.
As she told the Straight in 2004 during an exhibition of DTES residents' artworks: "If you're depressed or paranoid and you've got a lot of pain in your life, a lot of your activity is very self-destructive, because you've learned abuse from your background. So what music and art...do is give people a way to learn how to be productive. It's very positive, because they make something. And that's often a rare kind of experience: to actually create something that is completely theirs, from start to finish."
After a trip to the Middle East, Moiseiwitsch became a critic, vocally and artistically, of Israel and media outlets that she felt provided unbalanced coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict.
She and her partner, former journalist Murray, were sued by the Canwest newspaper chain after a parody copy of the Sun was left in paper boxes in Vancouver in 2007.
Canwest entered bankruptcy protection in late 2009, before the suit's conclusion. (The Straight reported on the lawsuit's progress here and here, and both Moiseiwitsch and Murray wrote in the Straight about their reasons for producing the parody.)
At the time of this posting, the GoFundMe page had already raised more than $14,900 of its stated $20,000 target.