By Yumma Iftikhar
On November 17, owners Harrison and Loukia Koyman held a grand opening for Rag & Carbon, a new store at 796 Bank Street that houses a photo printing and framing company and an art gallery.
Harrison Koyman, whose family background is in art galleries, said his love for photography inspired him to get into photo printing and framing.
“I really think where photography exists best is printed in a physical world, on the wall,” he said.
Before opening Rag & Carbon, Harrison ran an e-commerce site for five years. “We opened the store front because we want to get involved with the creative community in the city a little more.”
He loves the neighbourhood and knew from the start that it was where he wanted the store to be located.
“I always said if we opened something in Ottawa it will be here, like this specific block, and so we did,” he said. Harrison said he wanted Rag & Carbon to have something for everyone. “When we were curating the work that we were going to sell, we were intentional that we would have a category for every single person, so whatever your kind of taste is you are going to find something here.
“If you’re a grandma and you want photos printed of your grandkids, come here. If you took a picture of your cat on your phone, come here. If you want a really expensive oil painting, come here.
“Our prices start for print at $20 and our most expensive piece is $14,000 so we have a good spread.”
Loukia Koyman is a digital artist and a photographer. She said she wanted her works “to blend well with any interior design style.”
Loukia, like her husband, wants to get to know the local community better. “We really wanted to support local, and with opening a storefront we wanted to get more connected with the local creative community.”
Aside from their own works, the couple also displayed reprints of famous renaissance paintings and projects by other local artists at their opening.
Harrison said they are going to be looking for other local artists in the future to feature at individual and groups shows. “We are looking for really talented but under-represented artists to become a part of our roster.”
Other local works at the Rag & Carbon opening included Pooja Pawaskar’s sculpture collection called “In the gaps left behind.” Her sculptures were inspired by a trip to Israel, where she noticed the cliff rocks being hit by water. Pawaskar said it made her think of transformation.
“What I was trying to do through these sculptures was address the idea of changing cliff rocks that are getting hit by water but also looking at ourselves because we are always changing by things that make us, us,” she said.
Pawaskar currently has two other shows, one in New York and the other in Miami, but she said she wanted her work to be displayed in her city too. “It is a great way to get people engaged in local art.”
Close friends and family attended the grand opening to show support to the couple. Artworks were displayed throughout the room, with one wall devoted to a collection of black and white photos.
Junia Faundez, Loukiya’s mother, said she was proud of her daughter and son-in-law, adding that a store like Rag & Carbon had been missing in the Glebe.
“It’s closer for people and its available, its unique, and I think it will enhance the vibe and environment in the Glebe,” she said.
To Harrison Koyman, one thing that separates Rag & Carbon from others is their use of archival paper for all their works.
“Even our least expensive paper type is archival, so that means it is going to last 100 years without degrading,” he said. “I want, in 100 years when people go into their grandparents’ attic and pull out a Rag & Carbon print, that it still looks good and take a trip back in time.”
Yumma Iftikhar is a Canadian-Pakistani journalist. She enjoys writing about Canadian politics and disability.