The Kootenay Gallery of Art in Castlegar opens it’s 2017 Exhibition Schedule with two shows that explore migration and settlement through the perspective of East Asian Canadians with reference to the West Kootenays. Plant Memory and High Muck a Muck both open Friday, March 3 at 7:00 pm and run until April 15.

Plant Memory is a collection of new paintings by Silverton artist Tsuneko Kokubo, inspired by the artist’s own family history. Kokubo’s family spent time in the internment camps in the Slocan Valley.  The plants in her mother’s garden originated from BC Coastal communities and before that from Japan.  This realization led to an exploration of the connection between the origins of plants and the movement of immigrants as they came from Europe to eventually settle in the Kootenays. The paintings not only depict images of plants but also reference what historical or cultural story they may tell.

High Muck a Muck: Playing Chinese returns to the Kootenays, where it premiered at the Oxygen Art Centre in 2013. This interactive media installation explores the theme of Chinese immigration to British Columbia, both historical and contemporary and the tensions that exist between them. The exhibition is largely directed by the viewers who participate in an historical Chinese lottery game resulting in the projection of a fortune. The random nature of the fortune reflects the uncertainties faced by new immigrants and often echo the tradition of Chinese proverbs and fortune telling. Directed by long-term Kootenay resident Nicola Harwood, participating artists in the project include former Nelson resident Fred Wah, Jin Zhang, Thomas Loh, Bessie Wapp, Tomoyo Ihaya, Phillip Djwa, Hiromoto Ida, Patrice Leung and Harwood herself.

On Thursday, April 20, an annual exhibition often cited as a favourite of gallery visitors opens. Young Visions 2017 highlights work created by secondary school students from Castlegar, Trail and Rossland. The work is chosen by the art teachers in each school, including Stanley Humphries, JL Crowe, and the Kootenay Columbia Learning Centres (both Trail and Castlegar).  Audiences are given an opportunity to appreciate the talent, diverse vision and creativity that exist in our communities’ youth. The show runs from April 20 to May 27.

Rounding out the spring schedule is the West Camera Club’s annual Photo Salon. The club takes over the Gallery, organizing and hanging by the show themselves. The show is adjudicated by professional photographers who offer scores and feedback on all work and award prizes for the top photos in ten categories such as Human Interest, Nature, and Open. The Salon runs in conjunction with Sunfest festival in Castlegar. It opens on June 2 and finishes June 10.

The Kootenay Gallery of Art is located next to the Doukhobor Discovery Centre, across from the Castlegar regional airport. Admission is by donation, free for members. Hours of operation are from Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm. All exhibition openings are free to attend and everyone is welcome.

Spring Exhibitions at the Kootenay Gallery of Art

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