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December 10, 2020
Garry Neill Kennedy
The Kamloops Art Gallery is honoured to have recently acquired work by Garry Neil Kennedy to our collection. Kennedy is one of Canada’s most prominent and pioneering contemporary artists. As president of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design for 23 years (1967-1990), Kennedy established NSCAD University as a forerunner in art education. He has exhibited his work across Canada and internationally. In 2003, Kennedy was a recipient of the Order of Canada, and in 2004, he was presented with the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts.

Each letter in Kennedy’s Quid Pro Quo series is rendered on 10 unique canvases which the artist is donating to 10 public art collections across Canada. Kennedy has donated the letter “I” to the KAG’s collection. Quid Pro Quo comments on post 9/11 national security policies regarding Canadian citizens of Middle Eastern descent and the threat to their basic rights. Evoking the meaning of the phrase (something for something), Quid Pro Quo is a Latin phrase used in English to mean an exchange of goods or services, in which one transfer is contingent upon the other, "a favour for a favour." Kennedy’s work focuses on a now infamous Canadian/Syrian citizen, Maher Arar, who was intercepted by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) agents at JFK airport in New York City while returning from a family vacation in 2001. On information provided by Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), he was deemed a "terrorist." Arar was detained by the CIA in Syria where he was tortured for almost a year. After relentless public pressure he was released and later exonerated through a public inquiry.

For this series, Kennedy chose colours that were frequently mentioned in relation to Maher Arar in the media, such as the florescent orange of his jumpsuit and the black electrical cable with which he was beaten. Kennedy made a number of works about this subject: The Colours of Citizen Arar (2007); Redacted, (2010), an installation work at Diaz Contemporary (2012), and An Eye For An Eye (2014). These works, along with a screen-print of Quid Pro Quo, were shown in the Kamloops Art Gallery exhibition Since Then in 2017. The Gallery also worked closely with Kennedy to realize The Colours of Citizen Arar wall painting based on his specific colour index. Bringing Quid Pro Quo into the Gallery’s collection has particular significance for Kamloops residents owing to the connection to its exhibition history and given that Arar was previously a Kamloops resident. When Arar was released on October 5, 2003, 374 days after his removal to Syria, he moved to Kamloops where his wife had accepted a job as a professor at Thompson Rivers University.

Acquiring part of Quid Pro Quo represents a unique opportunity for the Kamloops Art Gallery to facilitate a work of conceptual art as part of a network of public art collections across the country. Often Kennedy’s work is temporal, existing as a wall painting for a specific time and then painted over, but by painting each letter of Quid Pro Quo on canvas and offering it to regional art collections across Canada, each letter of the painting connects these collections to each other and comments on the enduring role of collecting institutions in the legitimisation of an artistic practice. This gift also offers opportunities for cross-institutional collaboration through research, exhibition, and publication of the collected works.

Garry Neill Kennedy (Canadian, b. 1935)
latex house paint and florescent orange paint on canvas
270 x 208 cm
Installation view, AHVA Gallery, University of British Columbia
Photo: SITE Photography

View images of the collection here.
May 14, 2020
Twyla Exner
The Gallery has acquired two works from Twyla Exner’s exhibition Cling, presented in The Cube January 17 to March 14, 2020. The works are comprised of satellite dishes infested with sculptural barnacles. They speak to prescient issues of the day: the relationship between invasive species and discarded technology. Some species of barnacles become invasive pests that cling to natural and human-made structures and remain in place long after their lifespan. Similarly the television satellite dishes that the artist reclaimed are often left clinging to the exterior of buildings long after the technology has been outdated. WiFi signals and technology invade our everyday lives, claiming to connect us while simultaneously disconnecting us from nature and the real world.

The Cube exhibition housed the majority of the barnacle satellites while the two acquired works were installed as invasive works intervening in the public space of the Atrium between the Gallery and the Thompson-Nicola Regional District Library.

This acquisition supports the practice of a British Columbian artist with a unique connection to Kamloops. Currently based in Prince George, BC, Exner taught in the Visual Arts Department at Thompson Rivers University, Kamloops, BC. She currently works as the Director of Public Programs at Two Rivers Gallery in Prince George.

Twyla Exner
Cling, 2017-2020
satellite, cast urethane
Collection of the Kamloops Art Gallery
Photo: Cory Hope
View images of the collection here.
January 30, 2020
Jayce Salloum
The 2009 Kamloops Art Gallery touring exhibition Jayce Salloum: History of the Present {Selected Work from 1988 – 2009} was the first comprehensive survey of Lebanese Canadian artist Jayce Salloum’s artistic practice. This year the Gallery finalized the acquisition of a significant body of work from this exhibition.

untitled: location/dis-location(s) is the second series in the artist’s ongoing untitled photographs series, all of which engage in the representation of public and private space, the tableaux of commercial enterprises acting as ideological stage fronts, domestic settings, and the spaces of intimacy found in between both. This series takes as its primary subject the city of Vancouver, but includes images from other cities and locations, including New York, Paris, Los Angeles and rural Afghanistan, which the artist visited in 2008. Comprised of photographs taken from 1996 to 2009, untitled: location/dis-location(s) visualizes “natural,” urban, semi-urban, and sub-urban environments as constructed views. Salloum’s collection of images represent his subjective response to “place” and suggest a dislocation from these sites, which are places in constant flux, progressing, mutating, persisting, resisting or collapsing under the pressures of regulated and unregulated development, crisis and contestation.

In 2014 Jayce Salloum was the recipient of a Governor General’s award in the visual arts in acknowledgement of his contributions to the arts in Canada. His work has included curatorial projects and community workshops; he has been consistently committed to supporting the work of emerging artists and those from marginalized communities. Salloum’s unique approach to the archive, documentary, storytelling and community engagement through art contributes to imminent dialogues about what constitutes contemporary art.
untitled photographs: location/dis-location(s), 1996 – ongoing (detail) 94 (inkjet) photographs Collection of the Kamloops Art Gallery, gift of the Artist
View images of the collection here.

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