Linda

Dayan Frimer

Born in the wilderness town of Wells, British Columbia, from a young age Frimer was immersed in in the wonder of the forest, rivers and mountains. It was in these formative years, surrounded by the awe-inspiring natural landscape, that Frimer developed her creative vision
It was also during these early years when she first learned of war and cultural suffering. Becoming determined to champion and protect the sanctity of all life forms, Frimer turned to the creation of art as her natural medium.

Early Life and Inspiration

Linda Frimer is the grand daughter of Canadian Pioneers who fled the cultural oppression in Eastern Europe in the early 1900s. Following the developing Grand trunk railroad westward to the end of the tracks, they raised their family in Prince George. Their son, Jack Spaner, then brought his new bride from Toronto, back to the Interior region of British Columbia after the Second World War, where he opened a dry goods store and mined for Gold. Linda was born in the wilderness town of Wells, only a few kilometers from Barkerville, famous for its gold rush. It was here that, as a young child, she overheard stories of the cultural persecution of family in Europe and though she could not comprehend their meaning they impacted her. She went into the forest surrounding the town often, where she experienced both its darkness and light filtered wonder.

As she grew, she found she was able to release both the cultural stories and the wonder of the forest, by painting them. Linda came, by being creative, to understand that humankind and nature rise inseparable on earth. She has spent her life working to express the innate unity in all of life’s forms and has become, in the process, a champion of environmental and health issues, a cultural and community facilitator for the release of trauma through creativity, and a teacher. She has involved herself intimately in world, cultural, and Canadian national, artistic pursuits. Painting to create commemorative, educational, and aesthetically moving works of art that honor the sanctity of life, she has met fascinating people and collaborated on many meaningful projects including large scale murals at UBC Hospital, Richmond General Hospital, and Beth Tikvah Synagogue.

Connection to Environment

Frimer’s artworks have repeatedly been called upon to represent—through fundraising, awareness and education— the work of environmental organizations, such as the Trans Canada Trail, the Raincoast Conservation Foundation and the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, who promote Canada’s vast cultural and geographic diversity, wilderness preservation and the interdependency of nature and wild- life, and spread knowledge about endangered species. Paul George, former Director of the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, has offered that perhaps equally important to the fundraising, Frimer’s work “touched upon the emotional and spiritual cords, where real change occurs.”

Workshops and Cultural Healing

Frimer has facilitated cultural healing workshops between various cultural groups. She is co-founder and facilitator of the Gesher Holocaust Project, in which she developed techniques and worked with multi-generations of Holocaust survivors and their children to release trauma through art. This project resulted in the creation of powerful commemorative works of art that were exhibited throughout major cities in North America under the auspices of the Montreal Holocaust Centre.

Literary Works and Collaboration

Frimer is co-author of In Honour of Our Grandmothers: Imprints of Cultural Survival, a collaboration between two Jewish and two First Nations artists and poets that brought together research and creative exploration as a means to process trauma associated with cultural oppression and attempted genocide. In her book A Wilderness Journey, Frimer explores the inextricable link between her own ancestral story, her love of the wilderness and cultural resilience.

Awards and Recognition

Alongside Frimer’s artworks championing the environment, significant collections and donations of her works have supported Margaret Laurence House, Canadian Red Cross, Canadian Cancer Society, Vancouver General Hospital, Richmond General Hospital, Children’s Hospital Foundation, Wells Community Hall and the Vancouver Art Gallery, among others. She is the recipient of many awards, including an Honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of the Fraser Valley. Her murals illuminate hospital walls, synagogue sanctuaries and university corridors, where it has been said they “offer healing colours that contain emotional, life enforcing light, a calming rhythmic movement and imaginative forms that are visionary.”

Reviews
& Messages

“…While I was taking a photograph of The Singing Forest, which is installed in the Staff Cafeteria on the main floor, I spoke with a staff member who told me how much she and the other staff love the painting. They often sit across from it on their breaks. I don’t know if it translates well in the photograph, but Golden Tree in the Forest, installed in the Dayroom on Level 3, really sings.”

— Art Talks re: GF Strong Rehabilitation Centre, 2015

“More often than the professional association of biologists it has been the artists such as Linda Frimer who have come forth to defend nature. The first work I saw of hers was Ancient Forests. I was astounded by its vibrancy. Her art prints Ancient Forests, Earth Garden, Mountain Meadow, River Eternal, Sunflower Summit and Sunlight’s Passage published for us have raised thousands of dollars for our wilderness saving campaigns. But more importantly, they have reached those emotional chords in people where real change occurs.”

— Paul George, Founding Director, Western Canada Wilderness Committee

“The works of nature are an expression of wisdom. The beauty of the earth calls out for purity of heart. The challenge of today’s world calls out for courage. Linda Frimer’s response to the call of these voices is passionately expressed through her art. Combining sensitivity and strength, she honors the spiritual force in all of life.”

— Valerie Pusey, Director, Northern Passage Gallery

“The likelihood of Linda Frimer and George Littlechild, a native of Cree ancestry, combining to present their work would ordinarily appear quite remote. However, these two individuals managed to incorporate both of their artistic influences in the same exhibit — occasionally on the same piece — and it was very enlightening . . . Their art is a journey in search of self and we are accompanying them as they accept the past and lay claim to a visually bright and reverent future.”

— Ralph Taylor, BC Book Review

“The emotion in Linda Frimer’s voice held me still and reverent. She spoke of her art, her heritage, her grandmother, and Canada’s awesome beauty. She spoke of hatred and victimization, and how she sought consolation in the wilderness. The journey was guided with slides of Linda’s work, and then, her words described the inception of the Gesher Project. The slides then became the work of people, injured, trying to express themselves through the catharsis of art. I was captivated.”

— Catherine McNeil, Writer

“I was surprised at the effect Wilderness Journey had on me… This book has made me think, calmed my tired mind and body, and made me grateful for so much. Thank you, Linda Frimer.”

— Suite A, Margaret Laurence House

“A cancer patient is in love with your painting of the woman with a dove above her head, she showed it to me. And then asked if you have any prints of that picture, as she is in love with it. Please let me know! She had taken photos of all your work there to keep connecting with it. Another testament to how people relate and are touched by your work and interpretation. I am glad that it gives her such a positive feeling.”

— Linda Civkin, Kidney Foundation, 2013

“Oh my goodddnnneeeesssss I got the art supplies wow thank you so much I’m so excited to use them!!! I can’t stop smiling thank you so much it’s so great!! You are such a kind hearted person and have such a great personality to be around an I hope we can be friends for a long time”

— Melissa Hanuse, 14 year old First Nations girl from Haida Gwaii, that Linda met while painting on the beach, 2012

“More often than the professional association of biologists it has been the artists such as Linda Frimer who have come forth to defend nature. The first work I saw of hers was Ancient Forests. I was astounded by its vibrancy. Her art prints Ancient Forests, Earth Garden, Mountain Meadow, River Eternal, Sunflower Summit and Sunlight’s Passage published for us have raised thousands of dollars for our wilderness saving campaigns. But more importantly, they have reached those emotional chords in people where real change occurs.”

— Paul George, Founding Director, Western Canada Wilderness Committee

“The works of nature are an expression of wisdom. The beauty of the earth calls out for purity of heart. The challenge of today’s world calls out for courage. Linda Frimer’s response to the call of these voices is passionately expressed through her art. Combining sensitivity and strength, she honors the spiritual force in all of life.”

— Valerie Pusey, Director, Northern Passage Gallery

“The likelihood of Linda Frimer and George Littlechild, a native of Cree ancestry, combining to present their work would ordinarily appear quite remote. However, these two individuals managed to incorporate both of their artistic influences in the same exhibit — occasionally on the same piece — and it was very enlightening . . . Their art is a journey in search of self and we are accompanying them as they accept the past and lay claim to a visually bright and reverent future.”

— Ralph Taylor, BC Book Review

“The emotion in Linda Frimer’s voice held me still and reverent. She spoke of her art, her heritage, her grandmother, and Canada’s awesome beauty. She spoke of hatred and victimization, and how she sought consolation in the wilderness. The journey was guided with slides of Linda’s work, and then, her words described the inception of the Gesher Project. The slides then became the work of people, injured, trying to express themselves through the catharsis of art. I was captivated.”

— Catherine McNeil, Writer

“I was surprised at the effect Wilderness Journey had on me…This book has made me think, calmed my tired mind and body, and made me grateful for so much. Thank you, Linda Frimer.”

— Suite A, Margaret Laurence House

“I feel compelled to let you know of the impact your art has on me. The Earth Garden and Mountain Meadow posters hang in my bedroom. I begin each day wandering through them in silent meditation, experiencing ecstasy, reverence and renewal. Your pictures speak to me of nature and spirit, of the sensuous and the sacred.”

— Edith Gildout, 1993

“Her vision transcends and transports us to a place of awe…her images are a vision of what our healing planet could be; therefore a powerful tool towards personal transformation.”

— George Littlechild, Indigenous Artist

“A wonderfully evocative example of art that plays life – a view of the contemporary world in vivid colors…loving forests is very much within the Canadian tradition.”

— Peter C. Newman, Canadian Author

“Linda Frimer, your gorgeous work in In Honor of Our Grandmothers, lifted me out of a despair prompted by a barrage of anti-Semitic messages of which I as the unhappy target…both this year and the last, the days and weeks following the Holocaust Education events were marked by hateful messages on my voice mail and the internal mail…Nothing could have prepared me more for the emotional high experienced by your work. My grief was transformed into hope, my paralyzing fear, into a sense of power. I experienced my womanhood and my Jewishness as badges of honor rather than markers of victimization.”

— Jacquiline Chic, Ryerson University Professor

“A lot of the exhibits have a multicultural or religious tone, many incorporating Judaism among artistic comments. But perhaps none is as powerful or thought provoking as Vancouverite Linda Dayan Frimer’s 10-piece display. Her homage to Jewish history, through black and white photographs interwoven with striking shards of color, is jarring and personal. Frimer has an uncanny ability to use rainbows of color to create a sense of hope and renewal of life amid images evoking the Holocaust’s despair and horror.”

— Artropolis 1993, In the eye of the beholder, from the Vancouver Sun

“Two Nations, One Voice uses art as a witness to these histories an as an assertion of powerfully sustained cultural identities…Frimer incorporates images of family, friends and religious leaders but also uses documentary photographs of victims of the Holocaust in Europe…but she also proposes themes of redemption, regeneration, ad the endurance of tradition.”

— Robin Laurence, The Weekend Sun Saturday Review

“What I enjoyed most about this presentation was the mix of past loss with present celebration. There were several works, which merely open us to the beauty and richness of family. Their art is a journey in search of self and we are accompanying them as they accept the past and lay claim to a visually bright and reverent future.”

— Ralph Taylor, BC Book Review

“…despite George and Linda’s concern with such experiences as alcoholism, residential schools, and the Holocaust, theirs is ultimately an inspiring work of hope. Their recovery of family history as well as cultural traditions is very personal. It seems to redeem their ancestors; but it also helps to connect us, the viewers, to the past, to our own traditions and to those of other cultures. Their art is intensely spiritual, almost magical, in its powers of redemption. One of the most magical things their work does is treat victims and tragic figures and situations in a way which makes them no longer merely victims and tragic…”

— Dr. Eric Davis, Head of History Department, University College of the Fraser Valley

“…In all [of these] instances, we were struck by her integrity, the respect she showed her audience, and her ability to inspire people while making them feel comfortable enough to express sensitive and personal matters. Linda is an excellent communicator, and her capacity to connect with others, to understand them and help them reach new levels of self-understanding is remarkable. Given her own personal qualities as well as the recognized therapeutic value of recovering one’s past and of artistic creation, it is no exaggeration to say that Linda is a healer.”

— Dr. Eric David, Head of History Department, and Dr. Rory Wallace, Head of Fine Arts and Art History Department, University College of the Fraser Valley

“I am absolutely crazy about your work! Thank you for sharing. Our school curriculum emphasized music and art. Many of our students have had few opportunities to appreciate art. I believe it is the way – away from violence and gangs! Blessings on you and your work!”

— Sister Jane Hubbard, Holy Redeemer Area School, Portland Oregon

“Karen and I arrived back from Indonesia earlier this month and I wanted to let you know about the reaction to your Frimer prints. Fantastic!”

— Paul S. McIsaac, Creator and Producer of Electronic Communications, McIsaac & Kruper

“In my early 20s, I bought my first original painting, and I was ecstatic, as it was one of yours…I just want to let you know that many years later and to this day it brings me as much joy as it did the first day that I brought it home.”

— Tracy Robinson, 2005

“Our reaction, I think, is best summarized by telling you that all three of us left your home in a state of euphoria. I am still reflecting on our good fortune and generosity in making available to us your marvelous set of paintings. These thought-provoking works will be a source of admiration and wonderment for generations to come.”

— Karl Taussig, President VJCC Bd. Of Directors, 1991