Exploring the New Brunswick Art Bank, no. 4: The Exhibition

Beaverbrook Art GalleryFebruary 11, 20190 Comments

Psi-kekw keti mewi / Tout va bien aller / Everything is gonna be fine / Wela'sitew na is, at its core, a celebration of the NB Art Bank and its collection. It marks the 50th anniversary of this important collection of New Brunswick art, established in 1968 as one of the first Canadian art banks (read more about the Art Bank itself here).

But, the Art Bank’s collection is over 829 works, and only some fifty are presented in the exhibition. With such a broad collection, how do you pick which works get featured? That was a big question for the emerging curators as they worked on this exhibition (you can learn more about their experience of the process here).

We’ve asked the curators how they chose the three themes presented in the exhibitions. They told us that three main ideas kept coming up in their conversations about the project, ideas they felt were both broad but specific, that could speak to everyone. In the end, the three themes of the Art Bank’s exhibition are: Ecosystems, Voices, and New Futures.

“Emma, Emilie and I worked very closely together these past 6 months,” said Erin Goodine, “and many of the conversations we had when researching the New Brunswick Art Bank were around how we saw the province from our age demographic, and how art has been viewed in New Brunswick over the past 50 years. When we were given the challenging task of choosing 50 works for the exhibition out of the entire collection, we thought, ‘why don't we approach this from our own perspectives? What do the three of us see in common about New Brunswick at this specific time and place?’ It also really made us realize how many things we had in common, even when the communities we grew up in seem so separated.”

What do you hope visitors will take away from the exhibition?

Emilie:

“The exhibition is a celebration of New Brunswick, a celebration of our distinct voices and our similarities. Through these different themes, we want people to reflect on their relationship to the ecosystem, their impact on it, and how that environment shapes culture. We want them to discover new things, and to remember others. We also want the viewer to experience our vibrant New Brunswick culture, and learn about each other through different voices. And, finally, we hope they’ll recognise some of the challenges we have as a province, and maybe think about sustainable solutions. Maybe they’ll find a new way, or a new perspective to think of our province….”

Erin:

“I think we would like people to take away their own interpretation of the themes we present. But, I would also like people to leave the exhibition thinking about how they view New Brunswick, and consider what this place means to them, whether negative or positive, and consider how those opinions are different depending on their own experience. We also want people to realize how many amazing artists New Brunswick has, not only in the past, but also the artists currently practicing in the province today.”

Emma:

“I want viewers to understand their place in the province and in New Brunswick’s history, to acknowledge other cultures and other histories. Equally, I want people to consider the effects of climate change, and the importance of land and our relationship to it. I want people to feel proud and to reflect on their memories here. As well, I want people to think about the future as being intersectional and inclusive. Overall, I want everyone to see that no one captures culture like artists, and, therefore, that the arts and culture sector in New Brunswick is vital.”

Psi-kekw keti mewi / Tout va bien aller / Everything is gonna be fine / Wela'sitew na opens at the Beaverbrook Art Gallery on February 16th, at 4:00 pm with a public reception.

You can read more about this exhibition through our past series meeting the emerging curators, exploring the art bank, and understanding the curators’ process.

Plus: Join the curators for a special curator tour and talk on February 21 at 7:00 PM. This event is free and open to the public.

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