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Sudbury textile artist Ann Suzuki was a leader in the local arts community

She passed away last month at the age of 86
080221_ann-suzuki (2010 photo)
Ann Suzuki is seen here in this 2010 file photo. (File)

Sudbury artist, craftsperson and arts educator Ann Suzuki passed away Jan. 26 at the age of 86.

Biographical details provided by the Art Gallery of Sudbury said her artistic focus for over 40 years was on colour and design as it relates to textiles. 

She worked in the ancient technique of batik, using silk, wax and dyes to create unique colour combinations and intricate patterns, and designed and produced bespoke fashions. You can check out her beautiful work on her website.

Suzuki had an extensive history in invitational exhibitions in Ontario public art galleries, including the Agnes Etherington Art Centre (Kingston), Art Gallery of Hamilton, and Tom Thomson Art Gallery (Owen Sound), among others. 

Her first exhibition was in 1963 at the Canadian Guild of Crafts Gallery (Toronto). In 1983, she was recognized with an Award of Excellence, "ONTARIO CRAFTS '83," Ontario Crafts Council Exhibition (Toronto, Ontario) for Best Original Design in Batik. 

Suzuki was a motivating force in the Sudbury arts community for decades, the obituary said.

She located to Sudbury in 1982 with her partner, Taizo Miake, an international museum designer who was working on the exhibits for Science North. 

From 1997 to 2003, Suzuki served as executive director of the Sudbury Crafts and Arts Foundation (SCARF). She actively promoted the annual SCARF Studio Tour, which ran for two decades, and opened her own home as one exhibition venue for her work as well as that of other artists. 

In 2015, before an audience of 150 Sudbury community leaders, Suzuki was recognized with the award for Exceptional Achievement at the Mayor’s Celebration of the Arts. 

The recognition came with a $3,500 bursary, presented to a professional artist for her exceptional contribution to the arts during her career spanning more than 20 years through an extensive body of works in one or several disciplines, as well as through her contribution over time to the development and betterment of the Greater Sudbury arts community.

Suzuki served on the Board of Directors of the Art Gallery of Sudbury | Galerie d’art de Sudbury as a Continuity Director through its transition from the Laurentian University Museum and Arts Centre in 1997 until fall of 2020. 

She was also the Chair of the Acquisitions Committee until her recent retirement from the Board at the Annual General Meeting in October 2020. She was a passionate advocate for the care and preservation of the LUMAC and Art Gallery of Sudbury Permanent Collections.

Suzuki is survived by her husband, Taizo Miake, her daughters Cathy, Carolyn and Susan, and son Makoto. Her son Andrew passed away in 2013. 

“Ann Suzuki's contribution to the Art Gallery of Sudbury over the past decades is inestimable,” said a post on the Art Gallery of Sudbury’s Facebook page.

“Our sincere condolences to her family on her passing with thanks for allowing us to share these biographical notes. We understand a celebration of Ann's life is being planned for the fall of 2021 when it is hoped we can once again gather together to remember her in person.”