Avy Loftus grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia, where she developed a love of art at a very young age. Seen as an undesirable profession, she was encouraged to lean into her aptitude for science and planned to be a doctor before she switched to studying art and languages in the faculty of education.
While Avy explored various fields throughout her 20s and worked in Jakarta, Singapore and Hong Kong, it was when she moved to Montreal, Canada later on that she began pursuing art seriously. She first worked as both an independent artist and an art teacher at schools and later began conducting batik classes at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
In 2007, Avy started the Peace, Love and Hope project, after her daughter experienced bullying at school and she wanted to address this issue in a tangible way. The project involves batik workshops at schools where Avy animates discussions between students about bullying and then gets them to create a piece of batik art that represents peace, love and hope to them. The assembled pieces get sewn into quilts and they have been exhibited across North America, Asia and Europe. The project is currently part of the Quebec Culture in Schools program and the ArtistsInspire grant.
Avy most recently completed her Master of Art Education from Concordia University, where she had the opportunity to conduct a field study in Iceland on natural fabric dyes that can be used further in her art.
-Written by Mary Lynne Loftus, daughter
Which ’hood are you in?
I live in Downtown Montreal, a walking distance away from Place des Arts and McGill University. My neighbourhood is very vibrant as many artists (painters, musicians, singers and other artistic professionals), professors and students live around my area. Moreover, many cultural activities, including festivals happen around my neighbourhood, especially at Place des Arts.
What do you do?
I work independently as a visual artist and batik designer, as well as an art educator. As an independent visual artist and batik designer, I teach batik and shibori at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and at my own gallery/atelier. As an art educator, I teach batik at private, public and alternative schools through the Culture in School program and the ArtistsInspire grant.
What are you currently working on?
I am currently working on a new batik collection for my 25 th anniversary as a visual artist and batik designer. I am planning a touring exhibition with my team, including my curator that will assist me with the organization, schedule and exhibit details, in particular the layout of the exhibition.
At the moment, I am also putting together an exhibition for the 15 th anniversary of the Peace, Love and Hope project that I founded in 2007. I will exhibit not only the children’s batik pieces (that were produced during the workshops in person and via Zoom) but also portrait drawings of children whose parents are from diverse, multicultural backgrounds (from around the world).
This is a new project that I started during COVID-19, in 2020. Both the Peace, Love & Hope project and Portrait project will continue until they reach at least one million children globally.
Where can we find your work?
You can find my work on my website and on Artists in Montreal website. Also on Le Galeriste website.