Comox Valley Art Gallery e-news, October 11, 2016
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The current MAP: MAKE / ART / PLACE Fall Program is underway with a day of public events planned for Saturday, Oct 15. The current exhibitions include The Stories Were Not Told (Sandra Semchuk), Affirmations, Or Otherwise (Justin Langlois) and MAP: Witness / Document / Collect (CVAG Community Space Project). Public events will include a MAKE ART PROJECT WORKSHOP from 11am–1pm facilitated by Sandra Semchuk, artist talks by Sandra Semchuk and Justin Langlois at 1pm with a reception to follow at 2pm.

We have many exciting events coming up at the Comox Valley Art Gallery as part of our fall program MAP: Make / Art / Place. The MAP exhibitions run from October 1 – November 5, with a day of dynamic public events taking place on Saturday, October 15. From 11am–1pm exhibiting artist Sandra Semchuk will facilitate an all ages workshop that explores the theme of resilience. At 1pm exhibition artists Justin Langlois and Sandra Semchuk will give an artist talk about their new work. This will be followed by a public reception at 2pm.

We have many other exciting opportunities coming up this fall including our MAKE ART PROJECT WORKSHOP series, the TIFF Film Series, and more. See our press release about our Fall Program at TideChange.

Read on for more details about activities at the gallery:
exhibition  October 1 – November 5, 2016
artist talk  October 15, 1pm
reception  October 15, 2pm
make art project workshop facilitated by Sandra Semchuk  October 15, 11am-1pm

Justin Langlois

Affirmations, or Otherwise, is an interactive text-based installation that examines the space between official information and vernacular understandings, as we map and unmap “place”. Particularly, this new work explores the affective dynamics we tend to either tune into or ignore in the places we live. In our everyday lives, directions can be given, suggested, indicated, or sanctioned, but en route navigation and understanding nevertheless remains an autonomous activity influenced by a plurality of individual interests. Affirmations, or Otherwise builds upon the language, conventions, and tropes of mapping, presenting the viewer with a number of unconventional navigational aids designed to capture, amplify, or encourage making a decision in public. Vinyl text, posters, pamphlets, and signposts become markers of alternative directions, or other possibilities of being in public, leaving the decision of where to go from there up to the viewer. These opportunities to make decisions in public will take place both inside the Comox Valley Art Gallery gallery space, and outside at sites in the neighbourhood and across the city.

Sandra Semchuk

Boris Cyrulnik said that “almost any experience can be reshaped if those who have endured it are given the power to write their own narrative.”  The stories we tell ourselves and those that deny our stories within culture–all shape identity. In this exhibition, The Stories were not Told, I juxtapose, contemporary photographs, video and texts with the historical to engage the audience in acts of memory and place–to assert the possibility that stories can emerge to reshape identities even after a century of willful forgetting on the part of the nation and the near silence of those incarcerated and forced to labour.

At the start of WW I, in August of 1914, the Borden government passed the War Measures Bill, giving the government sweeping powers during “war, invasion or insurrection, real or apprehended”. A permit system was developed to control the movements of 88,000 enemy aliens or prisoners of war in Canada, those people who had the misfortune to be born in or have passport from nations at war with Great Britain. Then, 24 internment camps were built across this country, to contain those deemed of danger to the nation, largely men in urban centers who had no work or lost their jobs because of fears, but also homesteaders and whole families. They had no recourse to justice.

Many communities in Canada that internees came from who do not know these stories–Ukrainians, Alevi Kurds, Armenians, Bulgarians, Croatians, Czechs, Germans, Hungarians, Italians, Jews, Ottoman Turks, Polish, Romanians, Russians, Serbians, Slovaks, Slovenes amongst others.  Most internees were Ukrainians and most were civilians. This exhibition creates a space to remember internees as well as those who contained them in recognition of harm done to the identities of prisoners, those who imprisoned them and their descendants.

Community Space Project

As a continuation on the community response exhibition from our MAP summer program, CVAG invites documentation from artists, writers, collectives and groups, which explores variations on mapping practice and visual interpretations of place.  The project begins with a visual dialogue in relation to understandings of the Comox Valley, First Nations Territory and satellite artistic research locations where interconnected projects are taking place. The large scale maps, made directly on the walls of the community space, identify the locations, boundaries, migration behaviours and pathways of mapped experience and terrain being explored through this thematic intersection. Documentation as a form of witness practice, comprised of images, texts, symbols and objects is embedded in the space in relation to the paths and places identified by the maps articulated on the walls. This accumulative community MAP project continues to expand over the course of the fall program.

Our all-ages Make Art Projects are open to everyone. Participants respond to the themes in our exhibitions.
October 15 11–1pm – Resilience, facilitated by Sandra Semchuk
October 29 11–3pm – Imprinted Relationships, facilitated by Amelia Epp and Bronwen Payerle
November 26 11–3pm – Collage Party, facilitated by Sonia Stastny
December 10 times tba – Solstice Celebration, facilitated by Medwyn McConachy

Join us for our Make Art Project Fall Series, an interactive art experience held at the Comox Valley Art Gallery. Inspired by our current exhibitions, projects offer possibilities for individual encounters, collaborative processes and material experiments through hands-on art-making. Hosted by gallery staff, artists and volunteers, these maker-project events are open to all ages.

Everyone is welcome. Admission is by donation and materials are provided. For more information about these or other CVAG events and volunteer opportunities email or phone CVAG at 250.338.6211.

RESILIENCE facilitated by Sandra Semchuk

OCT 15
 /  11am-1pm full workshop
or drop-in to contribute to the project

Admission to the gallery and the make art project series is by donation. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

The workshop is facilited by Vancouver-based senior artist Sandra Semchuk.  The theme for the workshop stems from the new work currently on exhibit at the Comox Valley Art Gallery, entitled The Stories Were Not Told.  Through hands-on artmaking, collaborative processes, and material experimentation, participants will be offered an opportunity to explore resilience as it relates to identity, using a range of art materials.

For more information click here.



OCT 29  /  11am–3pm
full workshop
or drop-in to contribute to the project

Admission to the gallery and the make art project series is by donation. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

This workshop will examine the physical, emotional, and aesthetic materiality within relationships of care. Through writing and the creation of abstract collagraph prints workshop participants will map their own idiosyncratic physical dynamics of care, whether for a child, parent or beloved pet. Participants taking part in the entirety of the workshop will generate text and imagery that may be used afterwards in their own creative practices. Drop-in workshop participants are also welcome and will be offered opportunities to observe the workshop in process and to experiment with the materials.

For more information click here.

COLLAGE PARTY facilitated by Sonia Stastny

NOV 26  /  11am–3pm

Admission to the gallery and the make art project series is by donation. Children must be accompanied by an adult.

Explore the possibilities that the art of collage offers. With the winter season upon us, it is time to gather indoors and share our creative energies. Using your own special materials or the plethora of magazines and books (vintage and new) from the archives of Studio B Gallery in Cumberland, you will be guided to make your own collage that will be reproduced as colour postcard multiples to keep or trade. There will also be an embedded collage making station at the Comox Valley Art Gallery through the run of the Christmas Craft Fair, November 18 – December 26.

For more information click here.




OCT 23  /  1–4pm

Fee:  $25.00 per person. Donations for the teachings are also gratefully accepted. Advanced registration required, as space is limited. Please call us at 250.338.6211 or email.

Registration Form

Please join us for an afternoon with mindfulness teacher and storyteller Margo McLoughlin. Workshop participants will explore the fierce discipline of staying connected to life and to love. Just as maps represent possible pathways and potential journeys, so gratitude and mindfulness remind us where we’ve come from and where we are right now. By awakening a sense of true belonging we discover how to fully inhabit our lives while caring for our community and the world around us.

The workshop will include periods of silent meditation, storytelling, poetry and discussion. Please bring a journal to write in.

For more information on this workshop click here.


Tickets for the Fall 2016 Film Series are still available at the CVAG Gift Shop.

The films are presented by CVAG and the Toronto International Film Festival - Film Circuit. Demand for tickets is high so don't miss out!

Individual tickets are $12 for CVAG Members, and $13 for Non-members. They may be purchased in person or over the phone with a credit card. The remaining films are:

October 16 – Into the Forest
October 30 – Hevn (Revenge)
November 13 – The Dressmaker (waitlist)

For more information on these films click here.


Visit the Comox Valley Community Arts Council website for lots of great information for Comox Valley artists, including a community calendar.

Tuesday, October 11 / 5–7pm North Island College School of Fine Art + Design will be hosting a mold making and casting seminar with Industrial Plastics & Paints in NIC's Shadbolt Studios, Room 110. For more information and to register please call Industrial Plastics & Paints (250)334-2886. Participation is free. NIC students do not need to register.

Tueday October 18 / 12-1pm As part of North Island College's Artist Talk Series, visit the Stan Hagan Theatre in Komoux Hall on the Comox Valley Campus on October 18 from 12-1pm. This talk is open to the public and admission is free.

Guest Artist: Claudia Medina

Filmmaker and visual artist Claudia Medina spent her childhood alternately inventing worlds in the backyard forests of her pulp mill hometown and listening to stories of naguales (shapeshifters) in her mother’s Mexican village. As a teenager a cousin initiated her into goth culture in her father’s home country of Italy, after which she finally fled her hometown to figure out how all of these realities fit together. Moving images seemed like the best way to try and do this, which led to making short fiction, documentary films, installations and projection designs - all guided and shaped by family stories, histories and lived experiences in cities and rural places throughout the world. The natural landscape of the west coast kept calling, as well as a desire to explore a reconnection to ecological as well as cultural roots as the world heats up. She now lives with her four year old daughter, partner and assorted non human animals in Powell River, BC, and continues to work with moving images in ever evolving ways. She has recently returned from a journey to the autonomous region of Bougainville, Papua New Guinea to meet with and document a community relocating their village due to rising sea levels in their home atoll of the Carteret Islands. 

Acknowledgement and gratitude

We gratefully acknowledge support from the Government of Canada, the Province of BC, the City of Courtenay, the Town of Comox, the Comox Valley Regional District, the BC Arts Council, BC Gaming, Canadian Heritage, Service Canada, and the Canada Council for the Arts. Special thanks to our members, donors and volunteers.

Copyright © 2016 Comox Valley Art Gallery, All rights reserved.

Call us: (250)338-6211

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