Humour as Medicine

October 7 to November 27, 2021

Artists: Sonny Assu, Lori Blondeau, and Hjalmer Wenstob

Curated by Jenelle M. Pasiechnik

Humour as Medicine presents the work of contemporary Indigenous artists Sonny Assu (Ligwiłda’xw), Lori Blondeau (Cree/Salteaux/Metis), and Hjalmer Wenstob (Nuu-chah-nulth) in an exhibition that exemplifies how humour can be a powerful coping mechanism for trauma and emotional distress. Underpinning the show is the goal to explore humour as a tool for healing, activism, and open communication. 

The ability to laugh at the pain and devastation inflicted by colonial and racist attitudes has been a necessary coping mechanism in Indigenous communities the world over. The powerful impact of humour can be a cathartic release and a finely honed tool used to dispense truth. Within the exhibition, the artworks chosen are infused with humour in a range of tones and shades. By employing contemporary materials in traditional form, inverting standards of whiteness, and appropriating Indigenous stereotypes to demonstrate their absurdity and one-dimensionality, Sonny Assu, Lori Blondeau, and Hjalmer Wenstob demonstrate a breadth of approaches across their artistic output and prove the effectiveness of humour in opening difficult subjects, creating space for dialogue, and restoring power to the storyteller.  

These three artists approach traumatic histories and the perseverance of status quo policies and perspectives voicing important truths about the false friend colonial authority. The work of these artists is inextricably linked to Indigenous politics, and speaks frankly and unabashedly about personal and collective experiences with colonialism. 

A photo of Indigenous masks in a display case
The Campbell River Art Gallery during Humour as Medicine
A box with canned food for the exhibition Humour as Medicine.
The Campbell River Art Gallery during Humour as Medicine
A crumbling shield in humour as medicine
"We also have no history of colonialism" text art in Humour as Medicine
The Campbell River Art Gallery during Humour as Medicine
A view from the door of the exhibition Humour as Medicine

July 31 to September 25, 2021

The Campbell River Art Gallery’s permanent collection tells the story of collecting practices and donations received since our beginnings in 1994. As we adopt decolonizing practices and engage actively in reconciliation, it is important that we reflect on how that story represents the ongoing history of art and culture in Campbell River and the remote communities the gallery serves. 

The collection tells a story of mostly cis white artists. We are grateful for each of these artworks and display them proudly. But we must ask ourselves: what stories are missing? How can we improve our collecting practices to honour the cultural diversity and experience of this place? We have a responsibility to push back against the erasure of lives lived by IBPOC, 2SLGBTQ+, and folks with barriers, physical or otherwise. 

We owe it to all of our residents to paint a clear and fair picture of artistic life in this place, and to create a welcoming and safe atmosphere for all to participate.

Autumn Tigers

May 22 to July 17, 2021

Artist: Karen Tam

Curated by Jenelle M. Pasiechnik

Karen Tam explores the history of Chinese immigrants in Canada through extensively researched and immersive installations. Autumn Tigers focuses on the history of anti-Asian racism and Chinese culture on Vancouver Island and celebrates the advocacy and resistance of contemporary Chinese communities.

Autumn Tigers Digital Programs

Didactic panel for Autumn Tigers by Karen Tam at the Campbell River Art Gallery
The gallery walls painted dark blue for the show Autumn Tigers by Karen Tam

Finding Sybil: Contemporary Responses to Sybil Andrews

March 6 to May 1, 2021

Artists: Nicole Crouch, Karver Everson, Jake James, Kari Kristensen, and Marni McMahan

Curated by Jenelle M. Pasiechnik

Five BC based artists are producing new work in response to Sybil Andrew’s biographical history, aesthetic style, and artistic practice. The CRAG’s two Sybil Andrews original linocut prints will be featured alongside the artists’ commissioned work, bringing Andrews’ legacy and our permanent collection to life through conversation with contemporary. We are honouring Sybil Andrews, whose work is a great source of pride throughout Campbell River and beyond.

Finding Sybil Digital Programming

Various works in the gallery during Finding Sybil: Contemporary Responses to Sybil Andrews
Various works in the gallery during Finding Sybil: Contemporary Responses to Sybil Andrews
Various works in the gallery during Finding Sybil: Contemporary Responses to Sybil Andrews

39th Annual Members’ Show

January 14 to February 20, 2021

A time honoured tradition of celebration and recognition of the local artists of Campbell River and the North Island region. This will be the 39th iteration of this popular showing of the creators in our community.

Exploring Care, Three-Part Exhibition Series

Curated by Jenelle M. Pasiechnik

This three part group exhibition aims to explore the relationship between the ethics of taking care, taking care as related to art practices and professions, prioritizing the self, and the fatigue that results from community members sharing their experiences, and educating the public. The aim of the exhibition is to create a space of safety and knowledge, where people feel welcome to share their experiences and connect with others around issues pertinent to mental and physical well being.

Digital Programs

Part 1: The Aesthetic of Silence

March 6 to May 15, 2021

Artists: Shelley Vanderbyl and Lam Wong

The artists approach introspection/self-examination and the practice of kindness for others as mechanisms for healing and understanding. Just as seeing something can cause trauma, so can looking lead to healing.  

Antique pill boxes painted with mini landscapes by Shelley Vanderbyl

June 1 to August 28, 2021

Artists: Skeena Reece and Whess Harman

The artists explore what it means to hold space for someone. To make room emotionally and energetically; to be open and accepting to what they may bring forth; to be present with care and understanding; to listen.

Part 3: Rest and Sustenance – September 4 to November 20

September 4-November 20, 2021

Artists: April Mary Lynn White and Lindsay Dobbin

Rest & Sustenance is the third iteration of the Exploring Care exhibition series. This duo show explores the basic needs and resources that are so precious to the survival and wellness of humans and are also some of the more precarious.