A political art exhibition was not what I was expecting to find when I visited Kamloops, a small city located in the interior of BC, so I was not only suprised but pleased to discover I had free admission to see An Era of Discontent Art: As Occupation at the Kamloops Art Gallery during my visit.
The group exhibition holds a similar heartbeat to the Occupy movement, and its variety of works speak to current political issues like cultural capital, labour, war, capitalism. An Era of Discontent is a thoughtfully curated and powerful exhibion.
Curator Charo Neville (pictured above) brought together artists both local and international, including Sabine bitter and Helmut Weber, Younes Bouadi and Jonas Stall, Christoph Buchel, In Protest, Cameron Kerr, Teresa Marshall, Alex Morrison, John Sharkey, Holly Ward, and Elizabeth Zvonar.
One personal favourite is five beautifully woven tapestries pulled from a private collection in Vancouver. Instead of the typical rug patterns, they depict guns, tanks, military maps, and others. Created by anonymous weavers from Afghanistan (most likely women and most likely in collaboration) these prayer mat sized rugs are both historical documents and testments to the current political atmosphere in the middle east.
The other is a series of silk screened pages with poignant word art printed across them. “Arab Spring, Chilean Winter, Welcome to the American fall” says one, “Don’t don’t don’t don’t don’t don’t” says another. Each triggers a memory of a movement, whether it be a recent one like Occupy, an old one like the protests of the 70s, or the ones many of us have daily in conversations amongst our friends – “If the rich win the living will envy the dead.”
Find an excuse to go to Kamloops before December 31 and you’ll be pleasantly surprised not only by the small city’s beauty and the charm of interior BC, but by this excellent exhibition.
An Era of Discontent: Art as Occupation is on at the Kamloops Art Gallery until December 31, 2012.