Community Watch: Roger Ing

Installation view of exhibition: The Permanent Collection: Community Watch at MacKenzie Art Gallery.

22 December 2021

For this week’s blog post, the MacKenzie has invited Roger Ing’s son, Mitchell, to share some memories about his father and growing up around his art: 

A letter reading: Dear MacKenzie Art Gallery, My father Roger Ing was hardworking and worked every day at his restaurant the New Utopia without taking vacations. Roger was not comfortable meeting strangers away from the restaurant. I knew that in 1989 when I got married in Los Angeles my father would not attend the wedding. My father's interest and passion were art and photography and owning a restaurant was only the means to support his wife and four children. Roger would never miss an opportunity to take a photo. Roger was very impulsive and would use permanent markers to draw on our home light switch panels. He would paint abstracts on our basement walls and glue magazines articles onto his artwork. My father was the happiest around the people in the art community who frequented the restaurant and who he loved to converse with. Roger was not interested in making money from his artwork. He would give you a piece of artwork if you showed interest. My father had a quirky sense of humor and tried to make you laugh though his artwork. Once, my father came home and showed me his brightly coloured painting of our Victorian-style home. When I saw the painting, I was disgusted because it was made from chewed gum of different colours. Because my father was limited in his written English, his weekly letters to me were of quick sketches which I was able to interpret. When I was engaged, he sketched a man on a sailing boat throwing money into the water which meant he did not want me to spend too much money on my wedding. When my first child was born, my father drew a sketch of a football quarterback receiving a newborn baby between the legs of the center. It was my father's way of congratulating me on the birth of my daughter. To the art community of Saskatchewan, I want to thank you for all your support. Mitchell Ing