Fall Arts Guide (pt 1) is here: the best of fall arts

Gallery exhibits explore fear, cultural displacement and the rebirth of canoe culture, plus top-ten country music comes to McPherson Playhouse

Victoria Arts Council: Don’t Look Now art holds a mirror to your fears

With the freshly minted new name for their main space on Store Street — Pat Martin Bates Gallery — the Victoria Arts Council is kicking off the Fall season with a group exhibition all about fear in our culture.

“I wanted to discuss the different ways fear presents itself in our lives,” said Kegan McFadden, Victoria Arts Council executive director and the curator of the Pat Martin Bates Gallery.

The four artists in Don’t Look Now are local or with ties to the Island. Todd Lambeth will be creating site-specific murals at the gallery taking the word ‘fear’ as a starting point, part of a series he began during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Wendy Welch is showing a suite of watercolour paintings that directly reference climate anxiety. On display is her series ‘A World Without Ice’ that uses the stark white sheets of watercolour paper as a stand-in for the ice flows which are increasingly disappearing. Her blue jagged lines of pigment delineate the cracking and crumbling of the ice as the ocean heats up.

An impressive one-to-one scale replica of an F150 truck made of paper will be presented by Brendan Lee Satish Tang. Tang grew up in Nanaimo in the 1980s and made this work while reflecting on his time there as someone who didn’t quite fit in. The truck becomes a metaphor for xenophobia.

The installation that turns away from fear and into celebration is provided by local artist Monster Boy, whose felted wool sculpture of a fantastical unicorn acts as a celebration of the trans form in fantasy. “It’s a love letter to all the trans elders who have come before and paved the way for what we have today, and how important it is to protect it,” says the artist.

“As our neighbours to the south (and closer to home) continue to challenge trans rights and freedoms of expression, it’s so important to be able to make space for trans joy as a counter to the fear-mongering that pits community members against one another,” clarifies McFadden.

Don’t Look Now is showing at the Pat Martin Bates Gallery (1800 Store Street, wheelchair accessible) from Sept. 8 – Oct. 29.

Regular hours are Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Suggested donations: $2-$20. More information at vicartscouncil.ca.

Todd Lamberth, fear. (Courtesy Victoria Arts Council)

Todd Lamberth, fear. (Courtesy Victoria Arts Council)

Royal BC Museum: Sacred Journey explores canoe resurgence

An ancient tradition nearly lost to history, Sacred Journey tells the story of the repression and resurgence of ocean-going canoes and their vital link to the Indigenous Peoples of the Pacific Northwest. This free exhibition, on now through Oct. 29 at the Royal BC Museum, invites visitors to experience the rebirth of Indigenous canoe culture through meaningful displays, interactive experiences, art and videos.

As told by leaders in today’s canoe resurgence, the exhibit shares First Nations and Native American Tribes’ stories of their healing journey from the harms caused by the colonization of the lands and waters they’ve called home for millennia.

“The Sacred Journey travelling exhibit shares our collective story of how the ocean-going canoe brought sickness and death to our people through epidemics and disease transfer during the early colonial period,” says ILI senior advisor and Heiltsuk Hereditary Chief Frank Brown.

“Now as we decolonize, the canoe serves as a vessel of youth and community empowerment that connects us to our culture, language and traditions including moving ourselves towards health and wellness.”

The exhibition’s centrepiece, a striking stylized canoe with four prominent Heiltsuk clan crests painted by Heiltsuk artist KC Hall, is accompanied by work from two other Heiltsuk artists, Chazz Mack and Ian Reid.

Pieces of the Sacred Journey Exhibit. (Courtesy Sacred Journey Exhibit)

Pieces of the Sacred Journey Exhibit. (Courtesy Sacred Journey Exhibit)

UVic Legacy Art Galleries: Under the Shade of the Lotus Tree speaks to cultural displacement

UVic Legacy Galleries welcomes Under the Shade of the Lotus Tree: Pari Azarm Motamedi and Rozita Moinishirazi, an exhibition on loan from the West Vancouver Art Museum curated by Dr. Hilary Letwin. The exhibit features the work of two Persian-Canadian women artists who explore the impact of leaving one’s homeland and the need to maintain a connection to one’s roots through painting and poetry.

Both artists celebrate their culture by translating Persian poetry into paintings. Azarm Motamedi’s watercolours adorned with 24k gold reveal the artist’s interpretation of the motifs of classical Persian art, architecture, and gardens. Moinishirazi practices the traditional craft of reverse glass painting, a laborious process rarely seen in contemporary art.

As the new Curator of Collections, Iranian-born Anahita Ranjbar is bringing the exhibit as her first to the gallery, exactly one year after the commencement of the ongoing ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’ movement in Iran. Fittingly, Under the Shade of the Lotus Tree is a call to consider the complications of displacement and the power of art in bridging cultural barriers.

The exhibit is free and open to the public Thursday-Saturday from Sept. 23 to Dec. 9, 2023, at Legacy Downtown (630 Yates).

An opening reception will take place at 5 p.m. on Sept. 22 followed by a poetry reading in Farsi and English on Saturday, Sept.23.

Guided tours are available for school and community groups and can be booked by contacting legacy@uvic.ca or calling 250-472-5301.

Pari Azarm Motamedi, The Story of the City of Stones (detail), watercolour on paper, 2015. (Courtesy of the artist)

Pari Azarm Motamedi, The Story of the City of Stones (detail), watercolour on paper, 2015. (Courtesy of the artist)

Dean Brody brings top-ten country music to McPherson Playhouse

Dean Brody’s Right Around Here Tour 2023 comes to the McPherson Playhouse on Oct. 11.

Since his debut single Brothers hit the Top 40 Chart back in 2008, Dean has become one of the most beloved Canadian country artists of his generation. A passionate storyteller and unmatched lyricist, Dean has risen and continues to remain at the top of the Canadian country landscape with an impressive 34 top ten singles (including eight #1’s), 18 CCMA awards, two JUNOS, and more than 425 million global streams and numerous gold and platinum-certified singles.

An unparalleled evening of Dean’s country music and story that should not be missed. Tickets are available through Royal and McPherson box office and online.

Dean Brody is coming to town this fall on his cross-Canada tour this fall. (Contributed)

Dean Brody is coming to town this fall on his cross-Canada tour this fall. (Contributed)

Langham Court Theatre invites you to their 2023 Fall Season


by Norm Foster, Sept. 20 – Oct. 8

The Duncan family is getting ready for their daughter Maggie’s wedding, but trouble ensues when Maggie’s sister, Wanda, discovers the groom is an old lover.


by Ronald Gabriel Paolillo, Nov. 15 – Dec. 3

Haunted by a tragic accident and his mother’s harsh words, James (J.M. Barrie) slowly begins to confront his family’s tragic past with the help of an unexpected friendship and his own gift for storytelling. This is a fictionalized account of the birth of Peter Pan.

Tickets for these shows can be purchased online at langhamtheatre.ca or by calling our Box Office at 250-384-2142.

Fall Arts