Top-10 Fine Arts stories of 2021

As we wind down a(nother) year of unprecedented firsts, it is with gratitude and awe that we look back on the student accomplishments, faculty successes, new appointments and visiting scholars who made 2021 memorable. Read on to see some of the things that kept our year bright even in these often trying times.

New Impact Chair

Most recently, Fine Arts was proud to announce that we are now home to one of just four new Impact Chairs positions at UVic. With a deep understanding of art’s power to inspire change and a teaching style that embraces cultural learning, Carey Newman brings his passion for decolonization and Indigenous resurgence to his new appointment as Impact Chair in Indigenous Art Practices in both the departments of Visual Arts and Art History & Visual Studies.

 

Learning with others

“There’s something quite sacred about listening and working with your hands at the sametime.” Award-winning poet, memoirist and Writing professor Gregory Scofield—also a traditional Cree-Metis beadworker— connects traditional beadwork and writing through his creative practice and teaching. All of this unites in Scofield’s course on Indigenous women’s resistance writing and material art, which combines hands-on learning in traditional Cree-Metis beadwork with readings, films and writing practice centered on resurgence and resistance.

And in July, Fine Arts welcomed Karla Point as the new Indigenous Resurgence Coordinator, and we couldn’t be happier. Here’s what Karla had to say about it, “When I was a cultural support liaison with Law, I was ‘Aunty Karla’ for the Law students—so I’d love to be Aunty Karla for all the Fine Arts students.”

 

Transformational theatre

Eurocentrism in theatre continues to be one of the most pressing artistic issues of our time, whether on professional stages, community performances or academic institutions. Enter the Theatre department’s new initiative, Staging Equality—which offers a vision of how theatre can address issues of race, diversity and inclusion by building relationships based on trust and respect. Created out of the Strategic Framework Impact Fund, Staging Equality is a three-year collaborative and creative research project devised by Theatre professors Yasmine Kandil and Sasha Kovacs.

 

Graduate achievements

On June 1, Syilx & Tsilhqot’in playwright & director Kim Senklip Harvey became the first Indigenous woman to win the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama for her play Kamloopa: An Indigenous Matriarch Story (Talon Books)—less than a week after receiving her MFA in Writing from our Writing department. The widely acclaimed play then received a staged reading at Phoenix’s Chief Dan George Theatre in November.

In September, Theatre PhD candidate Dennis Gupa premiered his Gossip with Whales, a unique choral collaboration which seeks to give voice to those most affected by climate change on the oceans. It was created while Gupa was Artist in Residence with Ocean Networks Canada.

Making music matter

In November, the School of Music’s AUDIO+ held its second annual event to advance the integration of women and non-gender conforming persons into the male-dominated realm of audio engineering. With exciting events including a build-your-own-synthesizer workshop and strong student participation, we hope this is the start of a new tradition here on campus.

Along similar lines, School of Music students highlighted marginalized voices during UVic’s 5 Days of Action this fall, with the hopes of bringing awareness to EDI-related challenges faced by both musicians and music institutions.

Student accomplishments

School of Music undergraduate Iryna Peleshchyshyn received the gift of a lifetime this past year when she was given the opportunity to play a treasured 18th century violin during her degree program. The French violin—crafted in 1748 and valued at nearly $35,000—was donated to UVic by well-known local violinist Trudi Prelypchan, who knows a thing or two about being a young violinist: at just 16, she began playing with the Victoria Symphony in 1964.

In other departmental news, Visual Arts was able to launch its long-awaited and newly upgraded Photography Lab this summer thanks to the help of UVic’s Capital Projects and our donors.

Changing climate

While we are all aware that there is a climate crisis and there’s not enough happening to stop it, the appointment of Sean Holman as the new Wayne Crookes Professor in Environmental and Climate Journalism to help change the narrative around climate change.

And back in June, Visual Arts professor Kelly Richardson brought her environmental vision to the world when she was selected as one of six international artists by the UN Convention on Biodiversity to participate in the Instagram takeover of @withnature2020.

Guest speakers

Fine Arts was fortunate to host a remarkable range of guest speakers this past year, most hosted by our long-running Orion Lecture Series and many of which are still available for viewing on our Orion playlist. Guests range from celebrated nonfiction author JB MacKinnon, who explored society’s problematic relationship with consumerism, to musical scholar Gayle Young, who offered a unique workshop on microtonality and tuning. Notable among our many other speakers were Islamic curator Fahmid Suleman, multidisciplinary painter Manuel Mathieu and Indigenous actor Gary Farmer, to name but a few.

Online exhibits

Plays and concerts weren’t the only things to shift online: this year also saw the annual BFA exhibition shift into an online virtual reality walkthrough format. “Any limitations have only inspired innovation,” noted supervising Visual Arts faculty member Jennifer Stillwell. The exhibit, titled The End, proved that even a pandemic can’t keep art down as 30 graduating students filled much of the Visual Arts building with their creations.

Livestream and live performances

dead man's cell phone posterLast March, Problem Child became the sole public main stage production of the 2020/21 Phoenix Theatre season due to COVID—prompting a major technological shift as students learned to live stream their first major production. But this fall saw audiences return to the Phoenix Theatre mainstage with a production of the highly entertaining Dead Man’s Cell Phonewith more to look forward to in spring 2022.

The impact of Indigenous art practices on truth & reconciliation

Art not only has the power to inspire, it can also be a powerful catalyst for change. Nowhere is this more evident than in issues of truth and reconciliation, as Carey Newman well knows. Recently appointed as the inaugural Impact Chair in Indigenous Art Practices with the Faculty of Fine Arts, Newman brings his passion for decolonization and Indigenous resurgence to this new position. 

A multi-disciplinary Kwakwak’awakw and Coast Salish artist, master carver, filmmaker and author, Newman strives to highlight Indigenous, social and environmental injustice through his art practice. In addressing the impacts of colonialism and capitalism, he uses material truth to unearth memory and trigger the necessary emotion to drive positive change. He is also deeply engaged with community and incorporating innovative methods derived from traditional teachings and Indigenous worldviews into his process.

Newman was most recently UVic’s sixth Audain Professor of Contemporary Art Practice of the Pacific Northwest. Now as the Impact Chair in Indigenous Art Practices, he is jointly appointed to the Department of Visual Arts and the Department of Art History & Visual Studies, where he will teach both graduate and undergraduate students, as well as continuing his own research and cultural production.

About the Impact Chairs

UVic Impact Chairs are intended for exceptional researchers acknowledged as leaders in their field, with recognized success in research-inspired teaching and fostering collaborative and interdisciplinary research. The role of the Impact Chair is to convene, connect and facilitate collaborative research and education across disciplines and academic units, knowledge sharing and mobilization, partnerships on campus and with external partners and communities, and to provide leadership in relation to the relevant Strategic Framework priorities.

Newman is the third of four inaugural UVic Impact Chairs appointed to five-year research positions funded by the university’s strategic framework initiative. His appointment also reflects UVic’s commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), specifically the UN SDGs on reducing inequalities and on fostering peace, justice and strong institutions.

In this Q&A, Newman discusses the intersection between his art practices and social issues, as well as his hopes to build new relationships while challenging Canada’s historical narrative.

How can Indigenous art practices promote meaningful intellectual exchange and community building?

My artwork is inspired by, and responds to, a wide spectrum of historical and contemporary social issues. It is rooted in Kwakwaka’wakw and Sto:lo world views that see governance, law and arts as inextricably interconnected: I include all of these when considering the potential impacts of Indigenous art practices.

I think about this Impact Chair position as being not just about the process and practices of Indigenous art making, but as an opportunity to discover what is possible when the distinctions between disciplines are removed, and the processes of creative production and intellectual exchange are transformed by not only changing who participates, but also the questions we pose, how we approach finding solutions and the metrics we use to evaluate success.

Newman at the opening of his Earth Drums installation in Saanich, BC

How do you hope to use this position to build new relationships between truth, art and reconciliation?

When I think about the goal of reconciliation, the process begins with learning, understanding and accepting truth. I make a distinction between understanding something intellectually and feeling it on a fundamental or emotional level. I make the same distinction between being taught or told something and discovering that same thing through personal realization. That small distinction makes an enormous difference when it comes to how willing a person is to participate in, or make the sacrifices necessary for transformational change . . . like reconciliation.

We know that art can be a catalyst in the process of discovering and sharing truth. We also know that art has the power to inspire people to action. This position provides me the time and resources to continue making art that addresses injustice and asks difficult questions. It also provides the opportunity to write about and critically reflect upon the process, and in doing so gain a better understanding of what works or doesn’t work and why.

Newman with his Witness Blanket sculptural installation in Winnipeg, MB

How can the arts help challenge the historical narrative of Canada’s colonial truth?

Throughout history, music, dance, literature and visual arts have all been used to confront various forms of injustice and inequality. When it comes to the genocide wrought by colonial Canada, generations of artists, scholars, activists and knowledge keepers have advocated for awareness and called for change by varying degrees of confrontation and inspiration.

The work of reaching hearts and minds and then turning them to action is slow, but recently we have seen how quickly the confirmation of unmarked graves at residential schools transformed the perspective and galvanized the commitment of many in this country.

How does that translate into your own art practice?

In my own creative practice, I build upon the work of those who came before me, making artwork that looks at how the colonial foundations of Canada have created the social, ecological, racial and economic injustices we face today.

I believe that by understanding this history and recognizing how it is perpetuated today—and maybe embracing some Indigenous ways of being—we can dismantle what makes it systemic, and eventually live up to the altruistic self-image that has long been embedded in Canada’s national identity.

How can this position better bridge the space between institutional and community-based learning?

Something that unsettles me about the way scholars and institutions engage with community-based knowledge systems is how academia views research as proprietary. Whoever publishes something gets credit and is cited as the “expert,” regardless of where the knowledge came from, or how many generations contributed to its development; even with ethics reviews and consent forms, this practice is extractive.

In oral traditions, storytelling is the way knowledge is carried through generations, so it is natural to share information—but just because something is freely told, it doesn’t mean the rights to it have also been given. Better understanding this nuance between rights and responsibility will go a long way toward building stronger relationships between academia and communities.

What projects are you currently working on?

Every project seems to take longer than expected, so they always end up overlapping, but as I begin my term as Impact Chair in Indigenous Art Practices, there are two projects that I am particularly excited about. The first is establishing the unCentre for Arts and Decolonisation, a legacy of the Witness Blanket that will take an anti-oppressive, anti-racist, nonhierarchical approach to collaboration. My goal is to encourage more interdisciplinary creative/research projects that address the root causes of systemic issues that broadly impact society, including

(but not limited to) Indigenous injustice, systemic racism, gendered violence, the climate crisis and global inequality. The other one is a conceptual art project called “The Seedling” that will ask us to transform our relationship with land, reconsider who and what our governance serves, and challenge us to change our actions and sense of collective responsibility today by radically expanding the timeline we use when planning for the future.

Fine Arts active during 5 Days of Action

UVic’s fourth annual 5 Days of Action runs November 15 to 19, and Fine Arts is a big part of it this year.

“We all know that small actions can collectively have big impacts,” says UVic President Kevin Hall. “I hope we will each make time to participate in the events this week, committing together to building a strong, sustainable and inclusive community.”

With a common goal of building connections, gaining knowledge and developing tools to help shape positive change in the world—locally and globally—the intention of 5 Days of Action is to create 365 days of commitment by the university community towards ending discrimination, harassment and sexualized violence on campus.

Prepare to engage

5 Days of Action offers a week of workshops and events, plus daily “calls to action” to listen, reflect, create dialogue, engage in social change and show solidarity throughout the year.

Fine Arts is hosting or involved with eight different events among the 20+ workshops you can register for this week, featuring a mix of faculty, staff and students.

Visual Arts

The Killjoys art show (9am-4pm Nov 15-19 in the Visual Arts building’s Audian Gallery) – The Killjoys is organized by the Visual Arts facility and production manager, Hollis Roberts. Explore how art can use various mediums to confront forms of systemic violence and oppression.

Say it like it is: Poster making workshop (10am-noon Fri, Nov 19) – Join Visual Arts professor Megan Dickie and facility and production manager Hollis Roberts for this hands-on, text-based poster making workshop inspired by artists who use text for political activism, subversion of advertising and clever word-play: participants will learn silkscreen printing and monoprinting techniques to create posters with their own unique messages.

The Killjoys

School of Music

Amplifying voices: Integrating underrepresented identities into music (12-1:20pm Tues, Nov 16) – This in-person & livestreamed presentation by the Music Student Association focuses on highlighting marginalized voices and bringing awareness to EDI-related challenges that musicians and musical institutions are facing. This student recital will feature underrepresented identities in music, as well as a panel of guests discussing the issue of programming diverse music in curriculum and concert halls.

Music we love: Appreciating a wider spectrum of flute repertoire (12:30-1:30pm Wed, Nov 17) – School of Music flute students from the studio of Suzanne Snizek highlight the music of composers underrepresented in the classical music milieu. Hear works by diverse musical voices including Chinese, Malaysian, Japanese, Korean, Venezuelan, Jewish and other composers, performed by graduate and undergraduate students.

Every timbre and tone: Honouring diversity through song (12-12:50pm Thurs, Nov 18) – Join School of Music faculty duo Sharon and Harald Krebs as they perform two songs by Florence Price—the first African-American woman to be recognized as a symphonic composer, and the first to have a composition played by a major orchestra.

Then, pianist Bruce Vogt accompanies soprano Anne Grimm in the performance of songs by Poldowski, a pseudonym of marginalized Belgian-born British composer and pianist Régine Wieniawski. Finally, singer-songwriter Colleen Eccleston will close the concert with a set of original music including a healing song composed especially for this event.

Suzanne Snizek 

Fine Arts

Embedding Anti-Racism into Classroom, Courses and Curricula (Harnessing Anti-Racism Initiative Grant) (1-2pm Mon, Nov 15) – This workshop features Associate Dean Eva Baboula as the facilitator highlighting innovative ways UVic faculty and administrators are reworking instruction and administration processes to embed anti-racism, decolonization and other social justice principles.

Related activity

As part of our regular faculty programming, we also have three related events happening this week that dovetail nicely with the 5 Days of Action. 

Theatre

Catch a free staged reading of Kamloopa: An Indigenous Matriarch Story (8pm Saturday, Nov 20) featuring recent Writing MFA alum and Governor General’s Award-winning playwright Kim Senklip Harvey directing this reading of her play Kamloopa: An Indigenous Matriarch Story. Part of Theatre’s Staging Equality series, Kamloopa explores the fearless love and passion of two Indigenous women reconnecting with their homelands, ancestors, and stories. Find out more here.

Writing

Noted author, journalist Andrew Nikiforuk is offering the 2021 Southam Lecture with our Writing department (2-3:30pm Wed, Nov 17) on “Energy Dead-Ends: Green Lies, Climate Change and Chaotic Transitions”. Nikiforuk has written about the use—and abuse—of natural resources and wild landscapes in Canada for more than 30 years. Register here for either the live or livestreamed events. 

Visual Arts 

This week’s visiting artist features Hazel Meyer (7:30pm Wed, Nov 17), an artist who works with installation, performance, and text to investigate the relationships between sexuality, feminism, and material culture. Her work recovers the queer aesthetics, politics, and bodies often effaced within histories of infrastructure, athletics, and illness. Find out more here.

Kim Senklip Harvey

Global Days

This week, UVic is also hosting a globally-focused week of events for Global Days, aimed at celebrating the diversity, values, pursuits and successes of UVic and our broader communities under the theme of “UN Sustainable Development Goals: Global Citizens working together towards shared visions of a better tomorrow”.

This week will feature film screenings, presentations, info sessions and interactive workshops—including a chocolate tasting and presentation about ethical chocolate from the African continent. Click here for more information or to register.

“When participating in these many exciting events over the coming week, I encourage you to reflect on the lands on which UVic stands,” says President Hall.

Staging Equality is making change by building relationships with theatre

Kandil & Kovacs outside Chief Dan George Theatre (cred: Adrienne Holierhoek)

If you’ve ever attended a play in the Phoenix Building, odds are good you’ve been inside the Chief Dan George Theatre. Named for the actor and chief of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation whose talent took him beyond North Vancouver to become an Oscar-nominated actor, the theatre also features a striking Coast Salish-inspired wooden-inlay wall panel—both signs of Indigenous respect literally built into the building when it opened in 1981.

Yet, as professor Yasmine Kandil noted when she hosted the President’s Town Hall in the Chief Dan George Theatre in October, has the department done enough to live up to those respectful intentions? Especially when taking into account who has historically come to, and been represented in, that space.

Enter Staging Equality, a vision of how theatre can address issues of race, diversity and inclusion by building relationships based on trust and respect.

 A collaborative and creative research project

Created out of the Strategic Framework Impact Fund, Staging Equality is a three-year, $64,000 collaborative and creative research project devised by Kandil and fellow theatre professor Sasha Kovacs.

“Theatre is a tricky space to be contending with stories of racism and to try to work in an anti-racist methodology and decolonize theatre practices,” says Kovacs. “These are really challenging things to do.”

Currently working with an interdisciplinary team of students, faculty and community partners on a series of workshops and staged readings, Kandil and Kovacs hope Staging Equality will cultivate an environment that respects the legacy of Chief Dan George.

“It’s welcoming through building relationships,” explains Kovacs. “What context or work do we need to do before our new partners and audiences enter this space?”

Now in the second of a three-year framework, Staging Equality is built on a year-long foundation of consulting, questioning, listening and planning alongside their community and campus partners. One early—but essential—shift involved abandoning the standard model of working with out-of-town guests and professionals, and instead focusing on Indigenous and racialized artists who are already doing the work right here in Victoria.

That led Kandil and Kovacs to local playwright Lina de Guevara, who founded Puente Theatre back in 1988 to showcase the experiences of immigrants and diverse minorities. In September, Staging Equality presented a staged reading of de Guevara’s play Journey to Mapu in the Chief Dan George Theatre, which featured a 15-person cast of almost entirely people of colour.

Staging Kamloopa

Journey to Mapu, featuring ICA’s Paulina Grainger (cred: Miranda Hatch)

Staging Equality’s next project is similarly local: a staged reading of the Governor General’s Literary Award-winning play Kamloopa: An Indigenous Matriarch Story, written by Kim Senklip Harvey of the Syilx and Tsilhqot’in Nations—who won the GG the same week in June 2021 that she graduated with her MFA from the Department of Writing, becoming the first Indigenous woman to ever win that award.
Now a PhD candidate with UVic Law, Harvey will be directing the November 20 Staging Equality reading of her own play, featuring a mixed cast of Indigenous students, alumni and community members. “With the readings, we’re also really trying to foster connections between current BIPoC students and BIPoC alumni and artists,” says Kandil.

Not only will this mark the first time Kamloopa has been performed locally in any format, but Harvey’s participation also represents a strong measure of confidence in Staging Equality. “It really has been about collaboration, about building those relationships across campus and in the community,” says Kovacs.

Hear more about the impact of Kamloopa on our students in this episode of the Phoenix Fire student podcast. 

Hope for change

Kandil also sees Staging Equality as a way of offering hope to students and partners, both current and future. “Racialized students do not always see themselves represented in curriculum . . . so when they work alongside practicing artists, they can have the hope and see the opportunity to practice their craft after they graduate.”

While they are only at the halfway point, Kovacs feels the project has already made an impact on her personally and professionally. “As a white woman, this has been hugely transformative: not only on how I do research but also in the way I make theatre and teach students,” she says. “And, as a department that has a theatre company operating within it, the hope is that the work we’re doing on this project can be of value and of use for other departments across Canada.”

For her part, Kandil is pleased that Staging Equality has become a sign of positive change in Victoria’s theatre community.

“It’s already starting to create a buzz and cultivate the kinds of relationships that will lead to projects beyond this,” she says. “If you show trust and you show respect, people come willingly and want to stay and build more relationships through the arts. That’s what’s been moving for me.”

workshop photo (cred: Yasmine Kandil)

The free public performance of Kamloopa is at 8pm Saturday, Nov 20, in the Chief Dan George Theatre (reservations required).

AUDIO+ pushes for positive change in recording industry

If you listen closely, you can hear the sound of change happening at the School of Music, thanks to AUDIO+ — a free, four-day workshop aimed at overcoming gender-, race- and class-based discrimination and inequalities in the field of music production and audio engineering.

“Only between two and five percent of people in the audio community are women or gender non-conforming,” says UVic music technology professor and AUDIO+ co-organizer Kirk McNally.

“Those are atrocious numbers that don’t exactly make this a welcoming field,” he admits. “It’s important to engage with people who, for whatever reason, might not otherwise connect with sound recording programs and audio research.”

With that in mind, McNally and co-organizer Amandine Pras (University of York) received SSHRC funding to create AUDIO+ as a way of bringing together a mix of established audio engineer-scholars with students, artists, music producers and studio professionals.

Open & inclusive

Following up on a COVID-era online pilot project in 2020, AUDIO+ was conceived as a new, local initiative with a difference. “We wanted to start a new event that is built on a foundation of openness, inclusivity and non-hierarchical structure,” he explains. “This is an opportunity to start on the ground floor and build—rather than correct—the way we program and engage with people.”

In order to keep things nicely balanced, AUDIO+ is aiming for a 50/50 split between men, women and gender non-conforming guests. Presentations will be made by both early career professionals and students, with undergraduate students moderating roundtables with invited guests.

“It’s really building on some of the work I’ve been trying to do here,” McNally explains. “Formal training programs still see mainly guys in the room . . . the people getting the skills are predominantly male, so anyone else is still going to be a minority. Getting women engaged in our UVic program has been an ongoing goal.”

Time’s up for a gender shift

As a professional recording engineer who’s worked with the likes of REM, Foo Fighters, Bryan Adams  and Sloan (to name a few), McNally clearly knows the industry—and its inherent biases—well. But he’s been trying to change that through the School of Music’s undergraduate music and computer science and graduate-level music technology programs.

“Interestingly, we are seeing more of a gender balance in our Masters in Music Technology program,” he says. As a self-directed, research-based program‚ McNally hopes AUDIO+ will advance some of that research practice by bringing in women who are early career professionals. “It’s a way of showing there’s a pathway that isn’t just about more dudes in the studio.”

Consider the likes of 2019 MTECH graduate Kaitie Sly—now artist-in-residence with the 4DSound studio and a content specialist and podcast host/producer with music technology outfit Singdaptive—or recent guests faculty guests like music producer & engineer Amy King or veteran sound ecologist HIldergard Westerkamp.

“We’ve been trying to identify people who have made a name for themselves and build a career, and bring them here to UVic,” says McNally.

Recent music & technology grad student Kaitie Sly

The future sounds promising

With guests ranging from locals like Cordova Bay Records president Jocelyn Greenwood to producer/engineer Annelise Noronha, Senegalese scholar Abdoulaye Niang and Indigenous rapper Eekwol, AUDIO+ is definitely trying to put the spotlight on the people doing the work today.

“We’re seeing more initiatives starting up—Soundgirls, Women in Audio Mission—and there are more groups out there doing good stuff,” says McNally. “But AUDIO+ offers a unique blend of students and professionals: it’s less of a training program and more of an integrated approach towards music, research, learning and training.”

AUDIO+ will provide mentoring in audio research for undergraduate, graduate and PhD students from the University of Victoria, University of Lethbridge and the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology.

Students will have the opportunity to present their contributions in previous research, participate in roundtable discussions, and build their own electronic device in a DIY electronic session. Students and community members will also be trained in the areas of workshop organization, video editing and digital literacies.

See the full workshop schedule or find out more about AUDIO+

Sandra Meigs returns with a new exhibit – don’t miss it!

The Visual Arts department is please to welcome Sandra Meigs back to VIA for the launch of her new book and exhibition. Meigs has deep ties at the university having mentored hundred of art students during her +20 years at UVic. Be sure to check out these upcoming events!

Visiting Artist Lecture: Sandra Meigs

Celebrated Visual Arts professor emeritus Sandra Meigs returns to campus for the launch of her new career-retrospective book, The Way Between Things: The Art of Sandra Meigs (ECW Press). Primarily a painter, Meigs derives the content of her work from her own personal experiences and develops these to create visual metaphors related to the psyche: her work is dedicated to the possibilities of enchantment that painting presents both through colour and form.

Meigs—winner of both the Governor General’s Award in Visual & Media Arts and the prestigious Gershon-Iskowitz Prize—will offer both a book launch (7pm) and artist’s talk (7:30pm, also livestreamed) on Wednesday, October 20, in the Visual Arts building.

Follow the link to register for a seat at the in-person talk or join in on Zoom: https://events.uvic.ca/event/59702-visiting-artist-lecture-sandra-meigs

*Space is limited, so be sure to register early!

 

The Warblers, Sandra Meigs and Christopher Butterfield, 2021

October 18-23 in the Audain Gallery, visitors can experience ten new paintings with soundworks created in collaboration with School of Music professor Christopher Butterfield.

About The Warblers:

What a painting wants. The paintings desperately want a relationship with you. There are ten. In attractive colours. Sedately poised. Flirty eyes. Broad, flat faces. They speak. There are little jingles and words. PLEASE, Hold Me, STAY, etc. They never give up. Nor do the jingles.

The gap between their cries for a touch and your gaze is filled with tangible delicacy. The Warblers were born in a pandemic, when we were all in our little cocoons full of mournful yearning for contact with others. The bells are ringing. Do stay and take the call.

For over 35 years Sandra Meigs has created vivid, immersive, and enigmatic paintings that combine complex narratives with comic elements. She derives the content of her work from her own personal experiences, and develops these to create visual metaphors related to the psyche.