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Magdolene Dykstra



My finger-paintings blend references to Colour Field painting and cave paintings. Just as prehistoric artists recorded their presence using pigments of the earth, my finger paintings record my presence with a simple, yet persistent gesture. Using soil and naturally occurring oxides, these paintings connect me to the earliest artists, as we insist on recording our existence with the earth. Until the 1960s Canadian immigration policy overtly favored people of European descent. The legacy of this policy is visible in every room I enter. It reminds me, an Egyptian-Canadian, that whiteness was the goal for this nation. It is in this context that I continue to assert my right to exist, to be seen on my own terms, and to take up space by recording my presence. Even so, my extremely individual mark is a universal one, shared among all humans. These paintings also meditate on mortality, as the marks of my presence fade.

Tendency to Persist, 2020

red iron oxide, clay & acrylic medium on paper

Alt Text:  A scroll of paper hanging from the wall down to the floor. On the paper, lines composed of red fingerprints cascade down.  Next to the photo is a close up of the red fingerprints


Golden Field, 2020

yellow iron oxide & acrylic medium on paper

Alt text: Yellow rectangle composed of repeated fingerprints

$500 unframed

Self Portrait Field, 2020

red iron oxide & acrylic medium on paper

Alt text: pattern of vertical lines composed of repeated red fingerprints

$500 unframed

About Magdolene Dykstra

Magdolene Dykstra is a second generation Egyptian-Canadian. After studying both biology and visual arts in undergraduate studies, she received her MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. Magdolene has participated in residencies at the Medalta Historic Clay District and the Watershed Center for Arts and Crafts. Magdolene has been awarded several grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts, including Research and Creation Grants, Exhibition Assistance Grants, and Arts Abroad Grants. Recent exhibitions include a site-specific installation at the Gardiner Museum (Toronto, ON). Upcoming exhibitions include a solo exhibition at the Jane Hartsook Gallery (New York, NY). She is also the founder of SWAG, a group dedicated to supporting womxn artists in the Niagara region, where she is a passionate artist-educator, teaching at secondary and post-secondary levels. Magdolene is currently serving as the Visiting Artist in Residence at Concordia University (2020/2021)

Alt text: Magdolene standing in front of her work that has the pattern of vertical lines composed of repeated gold fingerprints

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