My friend Dalal Chaqui died this winter at the fine age of 81. She lived a few doors over in my housing coop row. All 4′8″ of her along with her cat Paloma. Her cats were named after the masters.
This spring I missed a little something in my seasonal routine. Normally, I would be called over to prepare her balcony for sunset entertaining. She loved a glass of wine with a friend, enjoying the summer breeze and watching Paloma chase bugs. My job was to plant some flowers for her, move her porch furniture into cozy settings and create podiums in order for Paloma to regal Dalal with her beauty.
It was also the time of year where I would pick dandelions and plant these into pots for her still life paintings. The lowly dandelion was an object of beauty for Dalal an apt symbol representing her love for the quotidian. She beautified the street, the workers, buses, the COOP, Chinatown neighbourhood streetscapes, immigrant life, construction, regular people just doing their thing (see ArtPark page).
This week The Patrick Gordon Gallery is displaying her work - Fiercely Independent - Paintings by Dalal Chuaqui. It was also great to touch base with her family & friends. The Citizen ran a small story about the show, as did the Centretown News. Her obituary was wonderful. Even the National Post talked about our neighbourhood girl!
The CBC interviewed her brother Claudio and Patrick on this Friday’s May 21 morning show and in this you get an idea of how we revered this great woman. The archive includes an audio clip entitled - Art Show.