By Paul Edward Costa
amendments by Amber Victoria Lee
Brampton residents passing through Duggan Park on the evening of Thursday, July 20th came across an innovate competition occurring among the summer baseball games as Peel Arts Collective (P.A.C.) hosted a community paint battle titled “RagnaART: Battle of Duggan Park”.
Local artists and battle participant Warren Nickels described the event: “It was called ‘RagnaART’ and it was put on by P.A.C.…we were having an art battle—I don’t think I can say ‘art battle’—but a paint fight where we all got together and got watered down paint and applied it to weapons and split into teams and fought each other [by applying paint to each other’s t-shirts]. Whichever team had the least paint on them won…I was on the losing team, but round two is coming next time!”
Participants, wearing their white t-shirts, split into two teams chosen by opposing team captains. Competitors used their hands, water guns, and hand-crafted (soft) melee implements to apply paint to each other as they maneuvered around the designated area of play while vying for the trophy and ribbons awarded to the victors.
Local musician Carolyn Hyde (A.K.A “Lady C” and “Aloesia”) signalled the opening/closing of the event and intensified the energy of the battle with two mallets and a floor tom as she pounded out powerful war beats. Ms. Hyde later said the following regarding her participation: “Well, I had the distinct pleasure of being a battle drummer and so I went and wacked my drums, so to speak, and allowed the folks to be even more powerful, feel like they have the upper hand, and really kick some butt!”.
A battle judge later inspected the clothing of the teams in order to decide a winner. Participants were also encouraged to create personas, accessories, and customized paint-applying “weapons” in order to more fully express their individual identities on the field of play.
This event was also proudly inclusive in designing roles for participants who have specific physical needs and has plans to continue to grow to accommodate even more. Other alternate roles included Battle Medic, Battle Documentarian, and Battle Musician (like Carolyn Hyde), further cementing the Peel Arts Collective’s commitment to bringing different areas of the arts together so talents can cross-pollinate.
RagnaART organizers also placed several white canvases around the battlefield so that any stray paint thrown during the event which landed on them created organic and spontaneous works of collaborative art.
The second edition of RagnaART is already in the works, so anyone interested in this event who didn’t get a chance to attend the first time will soon get another opportunity. In the meantime, however, Peel Arts Collective regularly meets on Thursday evenings in Brampton’s Gage Park for their summer “Art in the Park” series of meet-ups.
Various pieces of artwork are displayed on blankets or picnic benches and local artists are encouraged to drop by and make art among a group of creative, like-minded individuals. Details for the next meet up can be found on the Facebook event page.
*The photos in this article were taken by Mr. Bret Sheppard of Brampton Bits & Bites