If art is a reflection of our times, then the upcoming Kamloops Art Gallery exhibition An Era of Discontent: Art as Occupation is a timely one indeed.
Which is why curator Charo Neville shuffled exhibitions in order to fit An Era of Discontent into the KAG’s calendar year in order to tie the 12 works into the existing global climate.
“The show is really responding to, more or less, the events of last year that continue this year with the Occupy movement and Arab Spring revolution,” Neville said Tuesday.
“For the first time we saw mass resistance movements across the world. I can’t say I’ve ever seen that before.”
The exhibits on display in the main gallery from Oct. 12 until Dec. 31 reflect shifting consciousness and social moralities around the globe, she said.
Some of the art is crafted by anonymous artists, others are collaborative works, said Neville. Each is, in its own way, hotly political.
For example, hanging on the west wall of the gallery is a collection of Afghan war rugs depicting automatic weapons, bombs and the 9-11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre.
Neville said the KAG obtained the rugs from a private collector. No one knows their origin, likely because no one artist is responsible for all the rugs.
“It’s become this trend among weavers there. This is their way of getting out their message of what their lives are like,” she said.
She pointed to the 9-11 rug, saying who would have thought the United States could be attacked in such a way.
“It’s reflective of the changing power structure around the globe,” she said.
Neville also highlighted Persistence of Vision by Vancouver artist Holly Ward. Using sculpture, colourful graphics and an upbeat font, the work represents the Bahrain protests that begin in 2011 and culminated in the toppling a historic monument in Pearl Square.
“There were hundreds of people who died. These clashes are still going on. It hasn’t settled yet,” said Neville.
In conjunction with the launch of An Era of Discontent, the KAG hosts two roundtable discussions on art and democracy on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The discussions open to the public but framed by presentations from international and regionally based artists and activists. Neville said this is to encourage active dialogue between presenters and the community.
Phone 250-377-2400 to register.