Skip to content

Juried art exhibit opens at the Alberni Valley Museum

Alberni Art Rave presents third biennial art show with the theme "all that moves us"

Dozens of artists and art lovers filled the gallery at the Alberni Valley Museum on Thursday, June 6 to celebrate the official opening of the juried art exhibit "all that moves us."

The show, organized by Alberni Art Rave, is the third biennial juried art exhibit at the Alberni Valley Museum, meaning it takes place every two years. 

The theme for this year's exhibition was "all that moves us," and artists interpreted that theme in a number of different ways and in a number of different mediums. There are paintings, sculptures and wood carvings — even a piece of artwork that uses automotive paint. There are also a few interactive art pieces in the gallery that allow visitors to create their own works of art.

According to Willa Thorpe, the City of Port Alberni's director of parks, recreation and heritage, 82 artists from coastal communities across British Columbia's south coast submitted a total of 138 pieces to be adjudicated. This was narrowed down to 49 artists, who now have their work on display in the museum's gallery.

Jurors were Dr. Andrea Walsh (associate professor and Smyth Chair in Arts & Engagement with the University of Victoria’s Department of Anthropology), Astrid Johnston (owner and curator of DRAW Gallery in Port Alberni) and Tim Masso (a Tla-o-qui-aht linguist, artist and carver).

"There were dozens of submissions, which made the task of choosing the artwork for the final show difficult, and I don't envy the judges at all," said Port Alberni City Councillor Charles Mealey during the show's opening. "Just by looking around today — wow. They are truly incredible."

He encouraged the crowd to spread the word about the show and told artists that their "talent and vision" should be celebrated.

"Your creativity enriches us and we're lucky to have your art in our local museum to display for all to enjoy," he added.

This year, for the first time, jurors decided to give out two "Juror's Awards" for two pieces of artwork, recognizing the quality of the artwork and the artist's approach to the show's theme.

The first award went to Nuu-chah-nulth artist Gordon Dick for his carved piece titled, "Migration Moon." Museum collections curator Kirsten Smith said that jurors were impressed with how Dick integrated the theme "all that moves us" with Nuu-chah-nulth knowledge of relationships between humans, non-human beings and their shared environment.

The second award went to Victoria artist Christina Morrison, who painted a picture of a tug boat underneath the Arthur Laing Bridge in Vancouver. In their notes, the jury remarked on Morrison's "sensitivity to visually representing the balance of power and the juxtaposition of a tug and a massive freighter in the background."

The exhibit can be viewed at the Alberni Valley Museum until Aug. 31, 2024. The museum is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (open until 8 p.m. on Thursdays).

Alberni Art Rave and the museum will be hosting a series of talks in collaboration with the new show. The first talk, titled "From Petroglyphs to Painted Crest Curtains," will feature Hupacasath historian and artist Haa'yuups Ron Hamilton. He will present a public discussion of the imagery in the well-known Sproat Lake petroglyphs and will explore the relationship between these figures and images used in his own designs.

The talk will take place at Echo Centre at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 20.

Elena Rardon

About the Author: Elena Rardon

I have worked with the Alberni Valley News since 2016.
Read more