Saturday, November 25
4pm – ART IN RURAL CLIMES panel at Oxygen Art Centre
Guest speakers: Paul Crawford and Sylvia Grace Borda
Both panelists will give a presentation about some of their fascinating work. Paul Crawford, curator at the Penticton Art Gallery, will speak about a very timely exhibition he curated with Syrian curator Humam Alsalim called, Behind the Lines: Contemporary Syrian Art. Artist Sylvia Grace Borda will deliver a presentation that she has created for this symposium called “Regional Identity and Rural Culture – it’s so much more”. Overall, rural Canada is in the midst of unprecedented economic, cultural, and ecological change. These dynamics demand both new strategies for engagement and a reappraisal of what outcomes are most meaningful to individuals and communities.
Paul Crawford has been the Director/Curator of the Penticton Art Gallery since the spring of 2006, arriving here after serving in the same position at the Grand Forks Art Gallery from 2002 – 2006. He has a lifelong passion for history, Canadian art and art history. Paul is also a co-producer of the annual ArtsWells Festival, producer of the International One Minute Play Festival and is involved with BC Musician Magazine. In addition he serves on the boards of Island Mountain Arts, in Wells and the Okanagan School of the Arts in Penticton and is on the City of Penticton’s Public Arts advisory Committee.
Behind the Lines, was co-curated with Humam Alsalim and the Cyrrus Gallery in Damascus. The exhibition consists of nineteen contemporary Syrian artists, thirteen of whom were still living in Syria at the time of the original exhibition. This is the largest exhibition to take place in North America since the conflict began and has attracted international media attention and is touring across North America having already been featured at the Yukon Arts Center, the Grand Forks Art Gallery and its currently on display at the War Museum in Calgary until January 7th, 2018. This exhibition was the second in a series of exhibitions, the first being Afghanistan, intended to explore the art and culture of those countries that the previous Canadian Government had engaged in militarily. I was amazed at how little most people knew about these countries yet everyone had an opinion on what was going on and these exhibits were intended to provide the artists living and working in these countries to tell their own story through their art. As a child I had many pen-pals across the globe and those relationships informed my world view and my passion for world history and as a result each of these exhibits features a photo and biography of each of the artists along with their contact info which the viewing public is encouraged to use to reach out to them. The intent is twofold, one to let them know that we are paying attention here on the other side of the globe and secondly to engage of citizens more in what is going on and the next time a story hits the paper perhaps we will pay more attention as we know all know someone there whom we can reach out to and find out what is really going on in real time.
More information about the exhibition: http://pentictonartgallery.com/exhibitions/2016/7/8/behind-the-lines-contemporary-syrian-art
Press for this exhibition includes:
Sylvia Grace Borda will deliver a presentation that she has created for this symposium called “Regional Identity and Rural Culture – it’s so much more”. Overall rural Canada is in the midst of unprecedented economic, cultural, and ecological change. These dynamics demand both new strategies for engagement and a reappraisal of what outcomes are most meaningful to individuals and communities. By contemplating rural living from the past to the present, we can interrogate the birth of rural culture as everything from an industry, a lifestyle, an identity or even a myth. These definitions can open up engagements about how and why regional identities as particular pursuits have historically been used by insiders and outsiders to define geographic regions or ideas. We can also question notions of rural vs. urban. How has rural life and work affected Canadian culture overall? And why can’t rural places be cultural capitals? The artist, Sylvia Grace Borda, will speak about her experiences and visual arts research that promotes rural places as centres of place-making and vibrant arts capital.
Sylvia Grace Borda is a practising media artist with over a decade of lecturing experience in photography and Western art histories. She has previously held teaching positions at the University of British Columbia (2001-2005) and at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design (2005-07) in which she led undergraduate digital media programs. In 2007, Sylvia was awarded a funded position with the Queen’s University Belfast to launch its new MA Photography programme and to act as convener. During her time at Queen’s, she delivered the project ‘re-COLLECT-ing’ which was part of a wider initiative that won the UK Times Higher Award for the Arts. The award is the UK equivalent of a Canadian Governor’s General Award, but for Contemporary Visual Arts Education. Next year Sylvia will return to academia to launch the inaugural artist in residence program at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, focusing on rural art and ecologies.
Sylvia’s pioneering arts practice has involved drone technology to the staging of tableaux scenes in Google Street View. In particular, her ‘tableaux’ artwork is a two-fold process. Firstly, Sylvia focuses on depicting subjects not often associated with contemporary art production, such as farms, and secondly to act as a conduit for dialogue on the conservation and sustainability of rural regions. She presented her art tableaux series in 2016 at the International Union of Conservation for Nature describing to audiences how art can influence well-being and increase awareness of environmental concerns and policy. Additionally, Sylvia has recently participated in discussions at the Helsinki Photo Week (2016) at the photographies London, UK (2017) conference on the themes of new media technologies and their role in shaping contemporary photographic expression. Her most recent endeavour, the Kissing Project, developed for the Oxygen Art Centre in Summer 2017 went on to receive acclaim through the CBC Arts – see Collins, Leah. “On Google Street View, this small town in B.C. is a work of art: Peace, Love and Google Maps: these 360-degree portraits of a community aim to be an example for the world” CBC National Arts Review, June 23, 2017 http://www.cbc.ca/arts/on-google-street-view-this-small-town-in-b-c-is-a-work-of-art-1.4175526
For more information about the artist see sylviagborda.com
‘Upstream Benefits – Rural Art Symposium’ is a 4-day-long symposium that explores and celebrates the role and impact that the arts have in rural communities and will bring into focus artist-run culture in the Kootenays. Symposium programming includes multiple panel discussions, artist talks, literary readings, a night of performance art and music and an art exhibition. All symposium programming is free to attend and everyone is welcome! (Donations are appreciated.)
For more information and to see the symposium schedule link here https://oxygenartcentre.org/upstream-benefits-symposium/
Oxygen Art Centre gratefully acknowledges support for this programming from Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance, Columbia Basin Trust, British Columbia Arts Council and Province of British Columbia, Touchstones Nelson Museum of Art and History, The Writers’ Union of Canada, Elephant Mountain Literary Festival, Pacific Association of Artist-Run Centres, City of Nelson, Region District of Central Kootenay, Hall Printing, Nelson Star and the Hume Hotel.