Congratulations to spring 2021 grads!

Congratulations, Class of 2021—you made it!

You are now one of over 9000 Fine Arts alumni worldwide who studied at UVic—and have the distinction of graduating during the most difficult year in our history.

“As part of an esteemed group of artists and creative thinkers, you are poised to embrace the adventures that lie ahead,” says Dr. Allana Lindgren, Acting Dean of Fine Arts in her message to new alumni. “Believe in yourself. You are ready.”

Virtual grad experience

While we are still unable to gather in person for convocation, UVic and Fine Arts remain proud of the resilience you have shown in these ever-changing times. To mark the occasion, UVic has created a virtual graduation experience, where the university community can join in the celebration of your great achievement.

This video includes messages from your fellow graduates, including Art History & Visual Studies student Saad Salman. “We have learned so much and really gone through so much upheaval and stress with the global pandemic,” he says, “but it means we’re really ready to take on the world and whatever it throws at us.”

And remember, even though you may be experiencing this virtual version of graduation now, you’re invited to return to any UVic convocation in the next three years so that you can cross the stage in style.

Fine Arts grad site

Fine Arts has also created our own convocation page, filled with video messages from the Acting Dean, faculty members from each department, the announcement of the annual Victoria Medal winner for the highest GPA in Fine Arts . . . and a few fun extras.

“As you pursue new opportunities, remember that you will always be a valued member of the Faculty of Fine Arts,” says Dr. Lindren. “Please know that we are all very proud to call you a UVic Fine Arts grad!”

Congratulations once again!

 

Orion Series presents curator Fahmida Suleman

The Orion
Lecture Series in Fine Arts

Through the generous support of the Orion Fund in Fine Arts, the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Victoria, is pleased to present:

Dr. Fahmida Suleman

“Islamic Art & the Museum: A Curatorial Odyssey”

4:00 – 5:30 pm (PST) Wednesday, June 9 2021

Free & open to the public via Zoom 

Presented by UVic’s Department of Art History & Visual Studies, co-sponsored by
the Middle East and Islamic Studies Consortium of British Columbia 

For more information on this lecture please email: arthistory@uvic.ca 

Challenges for museums

What are the challenges museums face in the display of the arts of the Islamic world?

Since the late 19th century, museums have devoted attention to Islamic art and craft, encompassing objects dating from the seventh century to the present. Ideas about how the diverse and fascinating visual and material cultures of the Islamic world should be displayed have changed significantly over time, reflecting the broader trends in museum practice.

In this discussion AHVS professor Marcus Milwright, Dr. Fahmida Suleman considers the varied roles and responsibilities of a curator of Islamic art, and the ways in which exhibition design can address the social, cultural and ethical concerns of contemporary audiences. A Q&A session facilitated by AHVS alumna, Dr. Atri Hatef Naiemi, will follow.

Researching & exhibiting 

Dr. Fahmida Suleman joined the Royal Ontario Museum in 2019 as the Curator of Islamic Art & Culture after over two decades of experience studying and working in the UK. She oversees the permanent and rotating displays in the ROM’s Wirth Gallery of the Middle East. Dr Suleman is responsible for researching, exhibiting and developing the ROM’s growing collection of Islamic art and material culture, the largest collection of its kind in Canada, numbering approximately 8,100 objects and ranging in date from archaeological artefacts from the 700s CE to objects from the present day including modern and contemporary Middle Eastern art.

Before joining the ROM, Dr Suleman was the Phyllis Bishop Curator for the Modern Middle East at the British Museum for 10 years where she significantly developed the modern ethnographic collections and curated several exhibitions such as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly: Fantastic Creatures in Islamic Painting; Adornment & Identity: Jewellery and Costume from Oman; and Life and Sole: Footwear from the Islamic World. Her final project at the British Museum was the installation of a new ground-breaking permanent gallery, the Albukhary Foundation Gallery of the Islamic World. At the ROM, Dr Suleman is working on a number of research projects including a multi-disciplinary exhibition about the Indian Ocean and an investigation of food and hospitality cultures of the Middle East through material culture. She is also collaborating on an ongoing field research project with colleagues at the British Museum and the National Museum of Oman on the tradition of female silversmithing in Dhofar, Southern Oman, which will result in a forthcoming exhibition at the British Museum. 

Teaching & fostering innovation

Fahmida is cross-appointed as Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto in the Department of Near and Middle East Civilizations and the Department of Art History. She teaches undergraduate level courses on curating the material culture of the Islamic world in galleries and exhibitions and Islamic iconography. She is also a founding co-chair of the Islamic Art and Material Culture Collaborative (IAMCC), a research network based in Toronto that brings together the capacities and resources of the University of Toronto, the Royal Ontario Museum, and the Aga Khan Museum. The aim of the IAMCC is to foster innovative and interdisciplinary research on Islamic art and material culture, support an annual junior and senior fellowship program, host monthly talks and research seminars and present a high-profile annual visiting lecture.

About the Orion Fund

Established through the generous gift of an anonymous donor, the Orion Fund in Fine Arts is designed to bring distinguished visitors from other parts of Canada—and the world—to the University of Victoria’s Faculty of Fine Arts, and to make their talents and achievements available to faculty, students, staff and the wider Greater Victoria community who might otherwise not be able to experience their work.

The Orion Fund also exists to encourage institutions outside Canada to invite regular faculty members from our Faculty of Fine Arts to be visiting  artists/scholars at their institutions; and to make it possible for Fine Arts faculty members to travel outside Canada to participate in the academic life of foreign institutions and establish connections and relationships with them in order to encourage and foster future exchanges.

Free and open to the public  |  Seating is limited (500 Zoom connections) |  Visit our online events calendar at www.uvic.ca/events

Annual Visual Arts BFA exhibit spotlights work created under COVID conditions

Even during a normal year, it can be a challenge for our Visual Arts students to complete their degree requirements and present a finished body of creative work while also planning the annual BFA grad show—a student-organized public exhibition which normally attracts hundreds to campus.

This year, however, graduating students have had to grapple with both creating work under strict COVID conditions and the uncertainty of whether a physical exhibition would be permitted. The bad news? Less than a month before the exhibit’s opening date, student curators were informed that a public show would not be possible—but the good news is, they’ll be shifting it online for viewing by anyone, anywhere, as the annual BFA graduation exhibition, The End, will run online starting April 27.

 

Graduating Visual Arts student Nick Patterson, exhibition chair for the 2021 BFA exhibition, The End (photo: John Threlfall)

Something new & different

Despite a title like The End, however, don’t assume it’s a doom-and-gloom student reflection on being the pandemic class of 2021. “It’s almost sarcastic calling this The End, but it feels like a specific kind of world has ended,” says exhibition chair Nick Patterson. “We’re passing through the threshold into something new and different.”

Given the uniquely hands-on, often collaborative, nature of their program, Visual Arts was among the few departments permitted to run in-person this past academic year: 46 percent of their classes were offered on-campus from September to April, thanks to rigorous safety protocols.

“People have been working really hard to still make the work they want,” says graduating honours student Zoë Joyall. “There are many [of us] in the graduating class who make installations or performance-based work, which is directly impacted by COVID precautions and regulations. I feel really grateful that we do have the space to come together as a group, as a community . . . people who are doing school entirely on Zoom don’t have the same connections we are lucky enough to have.”

Graduating Visual Arts honours student Zoë Joyall (photo: John Threlfall)

Part of something special 

Patterson agrees. “There are fewer opportunities to work together because of the restrictions, and yet we are still putting forth our best—and that is really inspiring to me,” he says. “There is definitely a feeling that we are part of something special.”

The online exhibition The End will feature work by 30 graduating students, ranging from painting, sculpture, photography and drawing to digital media, installations, multimedia and more. The exhibit is presented in both a remarkably interactive “Google maps” style walk-through of the gallery space, which allows you to not only a 360-degree view of the work but also find out more about each artist, as well as a more conventional catalogue.  

“It has been a privilege and inspiration to see the students rally behind their vision with endless determination and a tremendous sense of community,” says supervising Visual Arts professor Jennifer Stillwell. “Any limitations have only inspired innovation.”

 

Graduating Visual Arts student Jasper Van Alderwegen, head of curation for the 2021 BFA exhibition, The End(photo: John Threlfall)

Exploration of identities

As with any exhibition, subject matter will vary by individual artist. “I think a lot of the work deals with not just COVID, but working through trauma,” says head of curation Jasper Van Alderwegen. “Identity and mental health are huge themes, [as are] the end of isolation or an exploration of identity.”

Rather than discouraged, recent JCURA recipient and head of documentation Jamie Oosterhuis feels “incredibly inspired” by the work being exhibited in The End. “If you want to feel a sense of creativity and optimism during a time when everything feels very bleak—if you want to feel that connection to others in the arts community—that’s why you should view this show,” she says. “The End of a chapter means a new beginning.”

 

Graduating Visual Arts student and JCURA recipient Jamie Oosterhuis, head of documentation for the 2021 BFA exhibition, The End (photo: John Threlfall)

Next generation work 

That’s a sentiment with which Stillwell agrees.

“Even though the exhibition marks ‘the end’ of their degree program, spotlighting that moment in time will allow them to start the next scene—I am more than confident this next generation of visual artists will do so.”

You can view the full exhibit here via a remarkably interactive website which simulates the experience of walking through the gallery, but the photos below also offer a quick view of some of the work on display. 

 

—with files by Grace Dillon

Annual Visual Arts BFA exhibit spotlights work created under COVID conditions

Even during a normal year, it can be a challenge for our Visual Arts students to complete their degree requirements and present a finished body of creative work while also planning the annual BFA grad show—a student-organized public exhibition which normally attracts hundreds to campus.

This year, however, graduating students have had to grapple with both creating work under strict COVID conditions and the uncertainty of whether a physical exhibition would be permitted. The bad news? Less than a month before the exhibit’s opening date, student curators were informed that a public show would not be possible—but the good news is, they’ll be shifting it online for viewing by anyone, anywhere, as the annual BFA graduation exhibition, The End, will run online starting April 27.

 

Graduating Visual Arts student Nick Patterson, exhibition chair for the 2021 BFA exhibition, The End (photo: John Threlfall)

Something new & different

Despite a title like The End, however, don’t assume it’s a doom-and-gloom student reflection on being the pandemic class of 2021. “It’s almost sarcastic calling this The End, but it feels like a specific kind of world has ended,” says exhibition chair Nick Patterson. “We’re passing through the threshold into something new and different.”

Given the uniquely hands-on, often collaborative, nature of their program, Visual Arts was among the few departments permitted to run in-person this past academic year: 46 percent of their classes were offered on-campus from September to April, thanks to rigorous safety protocols.

“People have been working really hard to still make the work they want,” says graduating honours student Zoë Joyall. “There are many [of us] in the graduating class who make installations or performance-based work, which is directly impacted by COVID precautions and regulations. I feel really grateful that we do have the space to come together as a group, as a community . . . people who are doing school entirely on Zoom don’t have the same connections we are lucky enough to have.”

Graduating Visual Arts honours student Zoë Joyall (photo: John Threlfall)

Part of something special 

Patterson agrees. “There are fewer opportunities to work together because of the restrictions, and yet we are still putting forth our best—and that is really inspiring to me,” he says. “There is definitely a feeling that we are part of something special.”

The online exhibition The End will feature work by 30 graduating students, ranging from painting, sculpture, photography and drawing to digital media, installations, multimedia and more. The exhibit is presented in both a remarkably interactive “Google maps” style walk-through of the gallery space, which allows you to not only a 360-degree view of the work but also find out more about each artist, as well as a more conventional catalogue.  

“It has been a privilege and inspiration to see the students rally behind their vision with endless determination and a tremendous sense of community,” says supervising Visual Arts professor Jennifer Stillwell. “Any limitations have only inspired innovation.”

 

Graduating Visual Arts student Jasper Van Alderwegen, head of curation for the 2021 BFA exhibition, The End(photo: John Threlfall)

Exploration of identities

As with any exhibition, subject matter will vary by individual artist. “I think a lot of the work deals with not just COVID, but working through trauma,” says head of curation Jasper Van Alderwegen. “Identity and mental health are huge themes, [as are] the end of isolation or an exploration of identity.”

Rather than discouraged, recent JCURA recipient and head of documentation Jamie Oosterhuis feels “incredibly inspired” by the work being exhibited in The End. “If you want to feel a sense of creativity and optimism during a time when everything feels very bleak—if you want to feel that connection to others in the arts community—that’s why you should view this show,” she says. “The End of a chapter means a new beginning.”

 

Graduating Visual Arts student and JCURA recipient Jamie Oosterhuis, head of documentation for the 2021 BFA exhibition, The End (photo: John Threlfall)

Next generation work 

That’s a sentiment with which Stillwell agrees.

“Even though the exhibition marks ‘the end’ of their degree program, spotlighting that moment in time will allow them to start the next scene—I am more than confident this next generation of visual artists will do so.”

You can view the full exhibit here via a remarkably interactive website which simulates the experience of walking through the gallery, but the photos below also offer a quick view of some of the work on display. 

 

—with files by Grace Dillon

Phoenix Theatre livestreams Problem Child

Phoenix Theatre is excited to be presenting their only public mainstage production of the 20/21 academic year: George F. Walker’s Problem Child, running at 8pm March 24-27 via their new broadcast-quality livestream. Tickets $15 per household via the Phoenix box office 

Learning livestream technology

During this time when we are not able to have audiences in our theatres, filming and livestreaming the work of our students is one of the only ways we can share our work with you. Thanks to the incredible support from UVic, a generous donor and Phoenix Theatre’s long-time sponsor iA Financial Group, the Theatre department has been able to obtain professional-quality livestream equipment.

Since the arrival of the equipment late last fall, production staff have been busy instructing students in the art of filming, live camera direction, video editing, and other skills, offering our students advantages that will take them into the future of theatre. While livestreaming is a necessity today, there’s no doubt that this technology will continue to be a key part of theatre outreach, even when we are able to return to our seats in the theatre.

Relearning theatre

For instructor and assistant technical director Simon Farrow, this process offered an opportunity to relearn how we create theatre. “True livestreaming for theatre—where the performance is filmed live while you are watching—is challenging,” he says. “We wanted to set the viewer’s expectation of the video production to be as polished as every other element of our Phoenix productions.” (Above, theatre student Jadyn McGregor works the livestream board.)

“A good livestream theatre experience requires all the other elements of the production to contribute as well,” Farrow continues. “The set design needs to offer access for good filming angles. Costumes need to translate over the screen. The lighting needs to be adjusted for camera exposure, the sound design needs to integrate well into the livestream mix and, of course, the actors need to adjust their blocking, already distanced for COVID guidelines, for the camera. All of the students working in these areas are reframing their work to the camera lens, rather than the auditorium.” (Below, Theatre student Brandon Sugden directs the livestream student team,)

About Problem Child

Stuck in a room. Stuck in the system. A desperate mother and her hapless partner are confined to a hotel room while they try to put their delinquent pasts behind them in order to regain custody of their baby. Problem Child is a gritty social comedy by one of Canada’s most prolific and popular playwrights, George F. Walker—best known for his fast-paced social comedies satirizing the woes of contemporary culture under the pressures of capitalism.

As the only public mainstage production this year, this play was chosen by director and Theatre professor Fran Gebhard to offer the fourth-year performance class challenging contemporary roles for their final required credits, all while maintaining physical distancing guidelines. As such, there will be two alternating, four-person casts featuring our fourth-year performance class for their final required credits; all performances will also maintain physical distancing guidelines. See the Problem Child website for cast schedule.

 

Putting it all together

Combining the new technology with the rehearsal process offered a spectacular and a positive learning experience for everyone in the Theatre department—all of which is being applied to Problem Child.

Fran Gebhard

“I’ve been a fan of George Walker’s work for years,” says Gebhard. With a cast of only four, it allowed our graduating students to be featured in two alternating casts, giving everyone complex roles and allowing for distancing on stage. “We rehearsed in facemasks and practised our social distancing to the letter. Our staging and blocking had to adjust to these protocols accordingly,” says Gebhard. “A daunting challenge? Yes! Different? Certainly. But we’ve loved every minute.”

“We’re natural-born theatre-makers,” Gebhard concludes, “and neither hell nor high water, nor even a global pandemic, can stop us from carrying out our work with joy.”

Read more in this Times Colonist article about how Fran Gebhard brought her years of experience in film and television to guide this livestream production.

 

George F. Walker’s Problem Child 
LIVESTREAM PERFORMANCES
March 24, 25, 26 & 27, 2021

TICKETS: $15 per link/household
An easy-to-use, one-click link and password will be sent to you the day of your performance. All tickets come with a no-questions-asked, money-back guarantee (within 24 hours of performance date for a full refund).

Charge by phone at 250-721-8000 at the Phoenix Box Office (no in-person or online sales at this time.)

Orion Series presents Visiting Artist Curtis Santiago

The Orion
Lecture Series in Fine Arts

Through the generous support of the Orion Fund in Fine Arts, the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Victoria, is pleased to present:

Curtis Santiago

Multidisciplinary artist, musician

7:30 – 9:00 pm (PST) Wednesday, March 24 2021

 

Free & open to the public via Zoom

Presented by UVic’s Department of Visual Arts
For more information on this lecture please email: visualarts@uvic.ca 

A multidisciplinary approach 

Curtis Talwst Santiago (b. 1979, Edmonton, Alberta) studied as an apprentice of Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun. Santiago has exhibited internationally at venues such as The Drawing Center, New York, NY; The FLAG Art Foundation, New York, NY; The New Museum, New York, NY; The Eli and Edythe Broad Museum at Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI; the Institute of Contemporary Art at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA; the University of Saskatchewan, Saskatchewan, Canada; The Pérez Art Museum Miami, Miami, FL; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Canada; Art Gallery of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada, The Rooms, St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada and the SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA; among others.

Listen to this November 2020 interview on CBC Radio’s Q, or get a taste of his work in this short trailer from the CBC TV series In The Making.  

 

The artist was included in the inaugural 2019 Toronto Biennial of Art in Toronto, Canada, the SITE Santa Fe SITELines.2018 Biennial, Casa Tomada, in Santa Fe, NM, and was featured in the 2018 Biennale de Dakar in Dakar, Senegal. He is currently an active board member on the Board of Directors for the Drawing Center in New York and has been invited to be an artist in residence this September 2021 at Black Rock Senegal.

His work is in the permanent collection of the Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY. Santiago considers himself decentralized and is currently living and working in Munich, Germany.

About the Orion Fund

Established through the generous gift of an anonymous donor, the Orion Fund in Fine Arts is designed to bring distinguished visitors from other parts of Canada—and the world—to the University of Victoria’s Faculty of Fine Arts, and to make their talents and achievements available to faculty, students, staff and the wider Greater Victoria community who might otherwise not be able to experience their work.

The Orion Fund also exists to encourage institutions outside Canada to invite regular faculty members from our Faculty of Fine Arts to be visiting  artists/scholars at their institutions; and to make it possible for Fine Arts faculty members to travel outside Canada to participate in the academic life of foreign institutions and establish connections and relationships with them in order to encourage and foster future exchanges.

Free and open to the public  |  Seating is limited (500 Zoom connections) |  Visit our online events calendar at www.uvic.ca/events