Sandra Meigs returns – 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.

Orange Shirt Week activities

UVic is committed to reconciliation. We’re working to foster respect and mutual understanding with all Indigenous peoples and communities. You can partner in the work of reconciliation by listening, learning and sharing on Orange Shirt Day.

“Orange Shirt Day is a national movement that brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in the spirit of hope and reconciliation, and honours former residential school students, their families and communities,” notes UVic President Kevin Hall. “This year, the confirmation of thousands of unmarked graves at the sites of residential schools across Canada has brought attention and urgency to the issue of reconciliation.”

As this year’s Orange Shirt Day takes place on September 30—the inaugural National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada—UVic will be closed, so on-campus Orange Shirt Day events will take place from September 27-29.

“Reconciliation is an ongoing process and a shared responsibility,” continues Dr. Hall. “The University of Victoria, like all educational institutions, has a responsibility to learn about the history of Canada and address our role in perpetuating colonial systems. On Orange Shirt Day and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada, we encourage the UVic community to take time to reflect on Canada’s history and present, and commit to taking action toward reconciliation.”

Orange Shirt Day

All faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members are invited to attend UVic Orange Shirt Day events. We also encourage everyone to wear an orange shirt during the week of Sept. 27 as a visual symbol of our awareness of the need for ongoing action toward reconciliation.

Orange shirts featuring a design (above) by artist and Visual Arts professor Carey Newman Hayalthkin’geme (Kwakwaka’wakw/Coast Salish) are available at the UVic Bookstore. Profits from UVic T-shirt sales directly benefit the Elders Engagement Fund, the Witness Blanket Project and the Orange Shirt Day Society.

If you already have an orange shirt, please consider making a $25 donation to the Elders Engagement Fund this year.

Film screenings (Cinecenta and First Peoples House)

Cinecenta: 1-3pm Monday, Sept 27

Cinecenta will be screening Savage by director Lisa Jackson (2009) and Kuper Island: Return to the Healing Circle by director Christine Welsh  (1997). These screenings will be followed by a panel discussion with Christine Welsh, Robina Thomas, Steve Sxwithul’txw and Ry Moran.

First People’s House: 7-9pm Tuesday, Sept 28

First People’s House is also hosting two film screenings: I’tustogalis: Rising Up Together – Our Voices, Our Stories by director Barb Cranmer (2015), and Truth Dance and Reconciliation by director Barbara Hager (2018).

Admission for both is by donation. Proceeds will go to the Elders Engagement Fund.

First People’s House and Cinecenta capacity is 50%. Proof of vaccination and government issued ID is required for admission. These events are open to UVic students, staff, faculty, alumni and the general public. 

On-campus events

UVic will host in-person events from 9:00am to 4:30pm Wednesday, Sept 29. Some of the events will be livestreamed so you can view them remotely.

The Past (9-10am)

Associate University Librarian-Reconciliation Ry Moran will host this morning event featuring a sacred fire, a welcome to the territory, opening prayer and featured speakers associate vice-president Indigenous Qwul’sih’yah’maht Robina Thomas and residential school survivor Mark Atleo.

The Present (noon-1pm)

Ry Moran will welcome speakers including UVic Chancellor Shelagh Rogers, professor Andrea Walsh and Vice President Research Lisa Kalynchuk, who will discuss the role of acknowledging and educating people about the history of residential schools

The Future (3:30-4:30pm)

Ry Moran will host UVic President Kevin Hall and an Indigenous faculty panel—including Visual Arts professor Carey Newman—for this cultural presentation about the role of education in truth and reconciliation and the TRC’s calls to action.

General activities

The Xe xe Smun’ eem – Victoria Orange Shirt Day: Every Child Matters ceremony will run 12-2:30pm in downtown’s  Centennial Square. “Xe xe Smun’ eem” means “Sacred Children” in the Cowichan or Quw utsun language, and this event will feature a blessing of the land, an Orange Shirt Day flag raising, Indigenous performances and guest speakers who will share their personal experiences with residential schools and reconciliation. For a list of other public activities around Greater Victoria to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation in Canada, please see this event roundup.

Support

Finally, we know that Orange Shirt Day—and conversations about residential schools—can be difficult for members of our community. If you are in need of support, please reach out.

Dean’s Lecture Series focuses on sound studies, gender paradox in art

As part of our commitment to experiential learning and research excellence, our faculty members regularly present as part of UVic’s ongoing Dean’s Lecture Series. This spring, we were fortunate to present talks by the School of Music‘s Joseph Salem and Melia Belli Bose of our Art History & Visual Studies department.

Research is continually reshaping the way we live and think. In this ongoing series of free online lectures, you’ll hear from distinguished faculty members and learn about their areas of research interest.

The series is presented in partnership with UVic’s Faculties of Education, Engineering, Fine Arts, Graduate Studies, Human and Social Development, Humanities, Law, Science and Social Sciences, as well as the Greater Victoria Public Library and the Division of Continuing Studies.

Joseph Salem: Sound Studies

From music to the conversations around us, our lives are shaped by sounds. Yet the field of Sound Studies—the study of the role sound plays in culture (both natural and unnatural)—is relatively new, having emerged from the disciplines of anthropology, history and cultural studies only two decades ago.

School of Music professor Joseph Salem makes his position clear in his talk, Sound Studies: What Is It, Who Does It and Why Do We Care?

“The idea of Sound Studies is not to discriminate between sounds as it is to provide a soundtrack for our study of humanity,” he says. “Scholars can now read between the lines of historical documents to discover the role sound played in cultures of the past.”

While focusing on the unconscious role of sound in society, Salem—an assistant professor who specializes in music history, theory and musicology—says his goal is to make it more explicit.

“Our self-awareness about the role of sound in culture has increased over the past 50 years,” says Salem. “Sound Studies remains a model for other disciplines: in lacking a specific centre and in maintaining flexible boundaries, it provides a space for us to adapt to our changing selves while maintaining a connection to our anthropological past.”

Melia Beli-Bose: The Razor’s Edge

No question, art provides an opportunity to discuss issues often considered taboo by societies. Consider contemporary Bangladeshi artist Tayeba Begum Lipi’s sculpture Love Bed: a life-sized bed fashioned from stainless steel razorblades, it’s held in the Guggenheim Museum’s permanent collection.

“The sculpture exposes paradoxes in rural Bangladeshi women’s lives,” explains Art History & Visual Studies professor Melia Belli Bose in her Dean’s Lecture, The Razor’s Edge: Gender Politics and Structural Violence in the Work of Bangladeshi Artist Tayeba Begum Lipi.

 

 “The bed of razors is seductive and eerily inviting, yet—by virtue of the material’s potential to inflict pain and even death—dangerous,” she says. “Together with tiny golden safety pins, razorblades are synecdoches tethered to key events in the artist’s early childhood and young adult life.”

An associate professor who specializes in visual cultures of early modern and contemporary South Asia, Belli Bose’s research focuses on issues of death, memorialization, gender and public identity in the early modern courtly and contemporary art and architecture of north India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. As such, Lipi’s work makes for an ideal topic.

“She has established herself as one of a handful of brazenly outspoken, politically engaged Bangladeshi women artists whose work holds a mirror to their society and advocates changes such as improved women’s education and healthcare,” says Belli Bose.

Learning With Others: Karla Point

When it came time to hire a new Indigenous Resurgence Coordinator (IRC) for the Faculty of Fine Arts, we didn’t have to look very far: just down the Ring Road to the Faculty of Law, in fact. 

Karla Point—whose traditional Nuu chah nulth name is Hii nulth tsa kaa—is now the second person to hold this position, following Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde (currently pursuing her PhD with our Theatre department). A life-long learner with strong ties to UVic thanks to both her BA (Humanities, 2003) and LL.B (Law, 2006), Karla was previously the cultural support liaison with UVic Law. 

“When I read the description for this job, I thought, ‘This is me—this is where I belong’,” she says. “The idea of sharing knowledge, learning with others and working with artistic people really appeals to me.”

Engaging her creative license

In addition to her position with the Faculty of Law, Karla has been a reconciliation agreement coordinator with the Sts’ailes Nation, a First Nations program coordinator with Parks Canada, and a treaty negotiator and elected councillor for the Hesquiaht First Nation

“I know I can do something for this job, but this job can also do something for me,” she says. “It’s such a huge contrast to the law—law is so set, but here you’re encouraged to have creative license. There’s so much we can share and collaborate on to ultimately come up with a model that’s a blend of Western and Indigenous knowledge.”

Exploring resurgence initiatives

As the IRC, Karla will support and guide Fine Arts on ways to decolonize existing curriculum and methodologies, incorporate Indigenous perspectives and pedagogies into our curriculum, and develop and implement a variety of resurgence initiatives—including outreach to local communities and student recruitment.

“When I thought about all the different jobs I’ve had and the different people I’ve worked with, I felt like I had what it took to indigenize a curriculum,” she says. “To do a good job, it has to be really collaborative . . . if everyone starts at the beginning together, then we know what the journey is—and it will be successful and well-received.”

Education as a healing journey

Karla will work with university staff, faculty and students while consulting with Elders, Knowledge Keepers and community partners, ensuring her work as the IRC aligns with Indigenous community aspirations for post-secondary education—a topic close to her own heart.

“I’ve had a really hard time with education . . . school and institutionalized education was always a real struggle,” she admits. “But when I went to college, I really appreciated the world of knowledge.”

After attending the Christie Indian Residential School on Meares Island for 15 months in the 1960s, Karla’s parents withdrew her and her brothers; she then attended 25 public schools in 10 different towns, but never graduated from grade 12. “My parents were residential school survivors who were always looking for the geographic cure,” she explains. “They never found it.”

Her own journey to post-secondary began as an adult at Camosun College, eventually culminating in both a diploma and her UVic degrees. “While I was on my educational journey, I was also on my healing journey.”

Welcoming “Auntie Karla”

The mother of three children and grandmother to nine, Karla looks forward to building relationships with the Fine Arts community. “Even though I’m here to develop resurgence initiatives and help Indigenous students, I don’t discriminate: I’ll help any student who comes through the door,” she says. “When I was a cultural support liaison with Law, I was ‘Auntie Karla’ for the Law students—so I’d love to be Auntie Karla for all the Fine Arts students.”

After spending the summer familiarizing herself with the new position and the Faculty in general, Karla will be ready for the return of students in September.

“I’m really excited about this position and feel very welcomed,” she says. “I think I’m going to enjoy it here.”

Banting Fellow & Vanier Scholar named in Fine Arts

Fine Arts researchers and creative practitioners Taylor Brook and Troy Sebastian are among UVic’s recipients of the prestigious Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships and Vanier Canada Graduate Scholars,

“Congratulations to Taylor and Troy,” says Acting Dean Allana Lindgren. “Having a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow and a Vanier Scholar in the Faculty of Fine Arts is an honour.”

Together with Canada’s federal granting agencies, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada announced the results of the 2020-2021 Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships and Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships competitions on July 15.

“Both Taylor and Troy are highly talented and accomplished young artists/scholars, so it is very satisfying to see the excellence of their creative work and research recognized at the national level,” says Lindgren. “I am confident that their expertise, creativity, and aspirations will enrich our community.”

Taylor Brook

School of Music composer Taylor Brook is one of four UVic recipients of the Banting fellowships. The federal program is designed to build world-class research capacity by recruiting top-tier postdoctoral researchers at an internationally competitive level of funding.

The two-year Banting fellowships are worth $70,000 per year. They are open to both Canadian and international researchers who have recently completed a PhD, PhD-equivalent or health professional degree and other eligibility criteria. UVic’s other three recipients are Kristina Barclay (Biology and Anthropology), Simon Blouin (Physics and Astronomy), and Gillian Kolla (Canadian Institute for Substance Use Research).

A Canadian composer who writes for the concert stage, video, theatre, dance and robotic instruments, Brook’s compositions have been performed by ensembles and soloists worldwide. A 2020 Guggenheim Fellow, he has won numerous SOCAN Young Composers awards, including the 2016 grand prize, and holds a Doctor of Musical Arts from Columbia University.

 

Brook’s music is often concerned with finely tuned microtonal sonorities, combining his interest in exploring the perceptual qualities of sound with a unique sense of beauty and form. Current projects include a new concerto grosso for the San Francisco-based Del Sol String Quartet with the Partch Ensemble and a concert-length piece for the NYC-based TAK Ensemble.

As part of his SSHRC project, he will be writing a new composition for the Aventa Ensemble, to be performed in 2023.

“I am thrilled to begin my research at the University of Victoria as a Banting Fellow. My research will develop a novel framework for cross-cultural musical analysis that overcomes limitations engendered by Western musical notation. I hope to build a greater understanding of tuning and temperament as an expressive force in music as well as contribute to a broader effort in musicology, composition and music theory to decolonize the curriculum in higher education.​”
—Taylor Brook

SSHRC Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship

Troy Sebastian | nupqu ʔak·ǂam̓

Department of Writing alumnus and instructor Troy Sebastian is one of three UVic researchers named as Vanier Scholars in the annual competition by the Government of Canada.

The scholarships are earmarked for social sciences and humanities, natural sciences and/or engineering and health. Vanier scholars, who receive $50,000 funding each year for three years, demonstrate leadership skills and a high standard of scholarly achievement in graduate studies. UVic’s other two recipients are Dorothea Harris (Educational Psychology and Leadership Studies) and Lucie Kotesovska (English).

A Ktunaxa writer from ʔaq̓am, Sebastian’s research and creative practice focuses on memoir, Indigenous masculinities, Canadian military history, Ktunaxa nation building and Ktunaxa language revitalization. His proposed PhD program is a special arrangement between the Department of Writing and the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

 

“My Vanier scholarship will focus on celebrating who we and our history in our ancestral homelands by researching the life and service of a Ktunaxa veteran who was killed in action during World War II,” says Sebastian.

A graduate of UVic’s Writing MFA program and an instructor with the department, Sebastian was selected for the 2020 Writer’s Trust Rising Star program, is a recipient Hnatyshyn Foundation’s Reveal – Indigenous Arts Award and is also a graduate of the Banff Centre’s Indigenous Writers program.

His writing has been longlisted for the 2019 Writers’ Trust Journey Prize, both the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize and 2018 CBC Short Story Prize, and he has been published in Best Canadian Stories 2019, The Walrus, Ktuqcqakyam, The New Quarterly, Quill and QuirePrairie Fire and The Malahat Review.

“My research and artistic practice centres on Ktunaxa language, storytelling, morality and ethics, and is dedicated to the empowerment of the Ktunaxa Nation’s vision statement: ‘Strong, healthy citizens and communities, speaking our languages and celebrating who we are and our history in our ancestral homelands, working together, managing our lands and resources, within a self-sufficient, self-governing Nation.’”
—Troy Sebastian | nupqu ʔak·ǂam̓

Vanier Canada Graduate Scholar

Kelly Richardson working with UN Biodiversity

If you could imagine a future for our planet’s biodiversity, what would it be? Visual Arts professor Kelly Richardson has been invited by the UN Convention on Biological Diversity to do just that as part of a global collaborative artwork to celebrate the world’s biodiversity and urge for its protection.

Imagine compassion for nature

“The opportunity to imagine our potential futures on this platform is substantial in terms of audience reach,” says Richardson. “The idea is to awaken compassion for nature and imagine our different potential futures using images of my work—from the unthinkable to a radically different future should priorities take a dramatic turn.”

Richardson is one of six international artists and scientists invited to participate in the global Instagram movement @withnature2020 on June 25.

Fusing art and science

Her dramatic images will be paired with messages intended to encourage reflection on our relationship with biodiversity: “Imagine if we valued the species which went extinct on Earth today, as though it was found on Mars. Imagine the radically different futures that will bring.”

“We have a limited window of time to act to change our collective futures,” says Richardson. “If people can visualise potential outcomes from insufficient address of our planet’s significant issues around biodiversity loss and climate change, it may result in an appreciation for what remains and a dramatic shift in priorities to protect it.”

A plausible future

An internationally acclaimed artist, Richardson creates video installations of rich and complex landscapes that have been manipulated using CGI, animation and sound. Her practice offers imaginative views and constructions of the future plausible enough to prompt careful consideration of the present.

Underpinning her research is a critical and often collaborative engagement with scientists, philosophers and writers whose work engages with issues related to climate change.

Follow the UN Biodiversity feed on Instagram