Snapshot of a year

We’re excited to share with you the latest edition of the Faculty of Fine Arts Annual Review. While it’s always difficult to encapsulate an entire year’s worth of activity into a single 36-page magazine, we do enjoy the creative challenge of sharing our top stories with you!

“This past year, colleagues continued to reconceptualize the contours of arts education, creative expression and scholarly knowledge,” writes Dr. Allana Lindgren in her introduction. “The arts continue to be essential for cultivating dexterity through creative thinking and fostering the empathy needed to navigate our increasingly complex world.”

Dean Lindgren also notes the ongoing inspiration Fine Arts students provide. “Their commitment to creativity continues to inspire me and gives me confidence that the next generation of arts leaders has the temerity to transform life’s challenges into opportunities for intellectual reflection and artistic innovation.”

Inside, you’ll find a variety of stories about the recent activity of our faculty, students, staff, donors and community partners.

Education equates with action here in Fine Arts: we are committed to helping our students cultivate the skills needed to become innovative artists and engaged leaders.

Our curriculum, artistic practices, research and creative activities are rooted in our belief in the power of creativity, experimentation and the efficacy of the arts to help us to understand and address today’s most urgent and vexing issues.

If you missed a previous Annual Review, issues dating back to 2017 are archived here.

Feeling of solstalgia inspires Ocean Networks Canada residency

How do we feel when the ecosystems we know and love start to vanish? What happens when our memories no longer match our physical surroundings? And what about the ecosystems we don’t see? These are the kind of questions inspiring the work of Megan Harton, the latest Ocean Networks Canada Artist-in-Residence.

A passionate composer, audio engineer and sound artist currently pursuing a Master’s in Music Technology at UVic’s School of Music, Harton is the fifth artist-in-residence in this continuing partnership between ONC and the Faculty of Fine Arts. Their proposed project, solastalgia [soon to be what once was] is envisioned as an immersive intermedia art installation employing nostalgic retro iconography to create a multisensory experience delving into the emotional and psychological effects of environmental change.

“My artistic practice is primarily about using sound technologies in artistic ways,” Harton explains. “I found that Ocean Networks Canada had all these hydrophones in the Pacific Ocean and there are new recordings every hour on the hour, both visual and audio. My main impetus was to see if there was a way to juxtapose the same recordings over a period of time, and the idea just grew from there to incorporate ideas of ecological loss and grief.”

A graduate student partnership between Fine Arts and ONC, previous artists-in-residence include Neil Griffin (Writing, 2023), Colin Malloy (School of Music, 2022), Dennis Gupa (Theatre, 2020) and Colton Hash (Visual Arts, 2018).

Exploring solastalgia

Set for a Sept 1-6 exhibition at the Audain Gallery in our Visual Arts building — including a special presentation featuring both Harton and 2023 ONC AIR Neil Griffin (7pm Friday, Sept 6, in Fine Arts 103) —solastalgia [soon to be what once was] will explore themes of grief and nostalgia, emphasizing the delicate state—and impending loss—of our ecosystems.

As well as creating a crafted sonic composition based on natural sounds, oral histories and contemporary environmental data, Harton is also interested in incorporating visual elements by presenting the materials with iconic vintage and somewhat antiquated apparatuses like a Viewmaster, film photography, a Speak & Spell and VHS tapes to create an engaging narrative highlighting the tension between past and present.

“The installation will foster a deeper connection between individuals and their evolving surroundings, while also raising awareness of environmental issues and bridging the gap between art, science and the community,” Harton explains.

Inspired by the book Mourning Nature: Hope at the Heart of Ecological Loss and Grief—a call to eulogize ecological loss in creative worksand drawing on environmental philosopher Glenn Albrecht’s concept of “solastalgia” (“the distress caused by environmental change”), Harton intends their installation will evoke a sense of connection, reflection and empathy in the audience by blending elements of nostalgia with the stark reality of environmental change.

“That idea really interests me,” they explain. “Yes, it’s a little bit existential and sad, but it hits home in a different way than just statistics or charts and graphs.”

Connecting with the coast

Growing up in Oakville, Ontario (midway between Toronto and Hamilton), Harton has limited experience with the West Coast, or oceans in general. “My grandmother lives in Tsawwassen, but I’d only been out here a couple of times before coming to UVic, and my only other ocean experience was going to the Atlantic Ocean on the East Coast. The largest body of water for me for a long time was Lake Ontario.”

Given their Ontario roots, Harton’s own experience with solstagia is rooted in Toronto’s 21st-century urban sprawl. “When I was a kid, sections of my town were mostly farmland, with fruit stands and horse stables, but are now townhouse subdivisions with schools due to a huge development and urbanization plan,” they recall. “Now this commuter suburb has more than twice the population of Victoria.”

Well-aware of their lack of personal connection with the Pacific Ocean, Harton sees themself as more a third-party information collector who can then respond  artistically. “I’m hoping to connect with  ONC’s scientists and community partners to incorporate Indigenous oral histories of the waters around here and contemporary scientific knowledge. This is some of the data and memories that I would like to draw from.”

Community connections

Indeed, collaboration is a key component to this project. While Harton’s primary graduate research is focused on gender bias in music production, they are eager to work with ONC’s team to ensure the installation is informed by current environmental knowledge.

A project as fascinating as the sounds it will harness, Harton’s immersive intermedia project aspires to be a transformative exploration, marrying art and science to provoke reflection, connection and empathy. solastalgia [soon to be what once was] promises to be a poignant testament to the intricate relationship between humanity and the changing environment, urging us to consider our role in preserving the delicate balance of the ecosystems we inhabit.

Orion Series presents filmmaker Ali Kazimi

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:

Ali Kazimi

Documentary filmmaker

“Documentarian as Witness: The Making of Beyond Extinction

10:30am-noon, Thursday, May 30

Online only via Zoom  Free & open to all

(Meeting ID: 839 7959 0560. Password: 119640)

Presented by UVic’s Department of Art History & Visual Studies

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

About Ali Kazimi

A professor of cinema and media arts at Ontario’s York University, Ali Kazimi is a filmmaker, writer and visual artist whose work deals with race, social justice, migration, history, memory and archive. He was presented with the Governor General’s Award for Lifetime Achievement in Visual and Media Arts in 2019, as well as a Doctor of Letters honoris causa from UBC. In 2023 he was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

“My body of work reflects a commitment to storytelling that addresses social issues, cultural complexities, and historical injustices, aiming to provoke thought, inspire change, and foster understanding within diverse communities,” he says.

Kazimi has interwoven themes of place and belonging through many of his works—including Beyond Extinction (2022), which traces three decades of action by the Indigenous matriarchs of the Autonomous Sinixt for recognition of their existence and their claim to their ancestral territories and is an important document of BC history.

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.

Visit our online events calendar at www.events.uvic.ca

Celebrating our Rubinoff Scholars

Congratulations go out to the Fine Arts graduate student recipients of the inaugural Jeffrey Rubinoff Student Scholarships, many of whom gathered at the University Club on March 5  to offer their thanks and mingle with the Rubinoff Foundation’s Betty Kennedy and Karun Koernig. Among those who offered their thoughtful and insightful comments were Arnold Lim and Holly Loveday (Writing), Vithória Konzen Dill (AHVS), Stephen Markwei and Narges Montakhabi (Theatre), Eva Bradavkova (Music) plus Charles Amartey, Ryland Fortie, Sina Khatami and Parvin Hasanibesheli (Visual Arts).

Not able to join us were fellow recipients Jaiya Gray (AHVS), Jamie Davis (Music) plus Liz Bently, Eeman Masood and Rainy Huang (Visual Arts).

 

Meet two Rubinoff Scholars

One of our inaugural grad student Rubbing Scholars is award-winning Korean-Canadian filmmaker, producer and photographer Arnold Lim. Currently pursuing his MFA in Writing, Lim was twice selected as a recipient of Telefilm’s Talent to Watch program, is a graduate of the National Screen Institute’s Features First program, has been a juror and programmer for numerous film festivals, and the photography manager for four Olympic Games. “I’m a storyteller at heart, and the opportunity to continue that journey as a grad student has been so much greater than I could have ever imagined,” says Lim.

This year, he was writer/director of the mystery/thriller Whisper, the latest (and most ambitious) short film yet created for Writing’s popular film production class, where local film professionals mentor a student crew. “Writing and directing a film in concert with like-minded, passionate classmates under the tutelage of instructors and a supervisor who has gone above and beyond to tailor the program to our learning outcomes has supported tangible and important growth for me as a screenwriter and filmmaker and is a gift I could never repay,” he says.

International student Stephen Markwei is another our Rubinoff Scholars. Hailing from Ghana, Markwei is continually evolving as a dancer, choreographer and multi-disciplinary artist; his artistic talent, combined with a strong social conscience, demonstrates his commitment to his craft and his devotion to addressing important societal issues. His passion for artistic expression and commitment to enhancing human experience through the arts is evident in his dedication to addressing societal issues related to learning disabilities.

Currently pursuing his MA in Theatre by investigating theatre-based interventions to assist individuals with dyslexia, Markwei aims to understand how incorporating sensory modalities into interventions through theatrical activities can benefit those with learning disabilities. “Utilizing multi-sensory methods, including movement and visual cues, in designing learning experiences for individuals with dyslexia can be valuable,” he explains.

About the Rubinoff Scholarships

The Faculty of Fine Arts has developed a strong relationship with the Jeffrey Rubinoff Foundation since 2016 when the late BC sculptor created the Jeffrey Rubinoff Scholar in Art as a Source of Knowledge Endowment at UVic.

That relationship was further strengthened in December 2023 by the creation of the Jeffrey Rubinoff Nexus for Art as a Source of Knowledge, which includes $230,000 in new funding plus a named professorship, this robust set of graduate student scholarships, and the expansion of experiential learning initiatives at the Jeffrey Rubinoff Sculpture Park (JRSP) on Hornby Island.

Rubinoff himself understood art to be a source of knowledge because of its capacity to influence the viewer’s perspective by means of original perceptions. Those Fine Arts students who have spent time at the JRSP since 2017 have expressed profound appreciation for their experiences, while their perspectives and ideas have grown.

You can stay up to date on future activity via the new UVic_Rubinoff Instagram account.

Orion Series presents Randi Edmundson & Shizuka Kai

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:

Randi Edmundson

& Shizuka Kai 

 

Visiting artists & puppeteers, offering a pair of public workshops:

 

  • “That Elusive Life: Searching for ‘Canadian’ Puppetry” 

    9:30-10:30am Wed, March 20

     

  • “The Making of Otosan: Snapshots of a Japanese-Canadian Puppet Show”:

    9-10am Thur, March 21

UVic’s Roger Bishop Theatre (Phoenix Building)

 Free & open to all

Presented by UVic’s Faculty of Fine Arts

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

About Randi Edmundson

Driven by curiosity, UVic alumna Randi Edmundson wears many hats in the world of theatre, including producing, directing, performance, and design. Her passion for puppetry has taken her across the country and the globe, including recent research with Papermoon Puppet Theatre in Indonesia.

She has a background in devising new works for a wide range of audiences and has worked as a puppeteer and puppet creator with Chemainus Theatre Festival, Neworld Theatre, Caravan Farm Theatre, the Canadian Academy of Mask and Puppetry, the National Arts Centre, Lunchbox Theatre, and Western Canada Theatre. She has studied under puppet thinkers Peter Balkwill, David Lane, Ronnie Burkett, Mervyn Millar, Clea Minaker, Jeny Cassady, and Ingrid Hansen.

With her Jessie Richardson Award-winning company Little Onion Puppet Co., Randi has toured several original puppet works across Western Canada. She holds a BFA in Performance from UVic and an MFA in Directing from the University of Calgary.

Randi is grateful to create as a freelance artist and as Interim Artistic Producer of Carousel Theatre for Young People on unceded Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh territory in Vancouver and as the Artistic Producer of Project X Theatre in unceded Secwepeme territory in Kamloops.

About Shizuka Kai

Shizuka is a multidisciplinary artist who has been working professionally in puppetry and set design for over 12 years. She also delves in TV/film puppetry, extends her design into illustration and graphics, and is  emerging in directing. Shiz is a five-time Jessie Richardson Award winner with multiple nominations; an Ovation Award winner; the recipient of the Earl Klein Memorial Scholarship and Steven B Jung Award; and a graduate of Studio 58.

She has trained with many incredible artists such as Wendy Gorling, Jeny Cassady, Peter Balkwill, Clea Minaker, Juanita Dawn, and the folks at Marionetas de la Esquina. Recent puppetry credits in theatre: Division Infinity Saves the World! (Neworld), Le merveilleux voyage d’Ines de l’Ouest (Théâtre la Seizième), and Yellow Objects (rice & beans). Recent TV/Film: London Drugs – To Do Hissss (Rethink), FortisBC – Energy is Awesome (Media Button), and Lost Ollie (Netflix). Next up for Shiz: Otosan (Little Onion Puppet Co), a table-top puppet show based on her childhood growing up with a wildlife cinematographer father.

She is also currently working as a set design instructor and (newly appointed) production program coordinator at Vancouver’s Studio 58.

 

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.

Visit our online events calendar at www.events.uvic.ca

Orion Series presents Kunji Ikeda

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:

Kunji Ikeda

Visiting artist

 

7:30pm Monday, Nov 6

Phillip T. Young Recital Hall, School of Music 

Free & open to all 

 

 

Presented by UVic’s Faculty of Fine Arts

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

 

 

Don’t miss this dramatic reading of a new solo work created and performed by current Past Wrong, Future Choices artist-in-residence.

From the creator of the most successful comedy about the Japanese Canadian Internment, Ikeda shares their first draft of this brand new solo performance. Ikeda’s creative signature has been built from a deep trust in joyful rigour, and rigorous joy that has generated their own unique brand of dance / theatre / clown. Inspired by modern day rituals, the psychology of creativity, and classic Japanese Oni (demons), this work invites the audience to consider their own definition of joy.

About Kunji Ikeda

Kunji Ikeda 池田 勲二 (he/they) has spent his life researching the super powers of stories and how they can bring us together. Ikeda is the Artistic Director of Cloudsway Dance Theatre (based in Mohkinstsis / Calgary) and is honoured to be pursuing a life of connection and empathy.
 
He performs, directs, and dramaturges while following the natural ecology of the performance. They’ve won awards and stuff, but they are more proud of the connections that art has given them – particularly in physical theatre, where they have the greatest capacity to grow physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing within his community. He enjoys climbing trees, classical music, and drinking tea.
 
For more information and upcoming performances visit www.cloudsway.ca

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.

Visit our online events calendar at www.events.uvic.ca