On Sept. 28, 2018, three new exhibits made their first appearance at the Glenbow Museum in downtown Calgary.
The new displays were introduced to the public through the traditional Launch Party the Glenbow hosts each time it reveals a new exhibit.
“The great thing about Launch Parties is we design them to be really accessible and welcoming to everyone no matter your circumstances,” said Jenny Conway Fisher, 41, who has been the manager of marketing and communications at the Glenbow for five years.
She said there are usually 800-1,000 people that attend a launch party, and it has grown in the past few years.
Conway Fisher said there is a long history of galleries having “open nights,” and the launch party is a way to celebrate the hard work that went into the new displays.
“I’m really excited about these ones,” said Conway Fisher.
“There’s a lot for people to explore.”
Zoltan Varadi, communications specialist for the Glenbow Museum for five years, spoke in an interview about each of the exhibits.
One display, The Arctic: Real and Imagined Views from the Nineteenth Century, includes artwork is from the British expansion and exploration of the Arctic.
As the time of this artwork coincided with the period of the romantic art movement, the sketches made during the expeditions would have been taken back to artists who would then have elaborated on them to give them a dramatic and exaggerated look.
“There’s some real treasures in there you don’t see every day,” Varadi said.
Along with the paintings, the display includes artifacts from the period depicted.
“We’re taking a look at these imagined views of the Arctic that are documenting a real period of history of this colonial expansion into the North, and kind of reframing it by bringing in actual artifacts to give a sense of reality to the story,” Varadi said.
Another of the exhibits, Cosmos: Gathie Falk, Margaret Nazon, and Erik Olson, is composed of artwork from three contemporary artists.
Falk’s work is from an earth perspective of space, while Nazon’s showcase deep space images through beadwork.
Olson’s work focuses on showing the personality of each planet through portraits, attempting to convey the personalities of each of the planets in the solar system.
“I think it will strike a chord in everyone, because who hasn’t looked up at the night sky and just felt a sense of awe at the stars and the vastness of space and all the mysteries of it,” said Varadi.
The display is complimented by commentary from retired astronaut Robert Thirsk, who talks about what the pieces make him think about.
The third exhibit, Tamara Lee-Anne Cardinal: Feet on the Ground, is part of a series of exhibits called One New Work.
One New Work, curated by Nancy Tousley, aims to give local artists a voice and a platform. Various artists arevperiodically commissioned to put together a new display for the series.
Feet on the Ground, the latest of these displays, features the traditional Cree Jingle Dress and how it has changed over the years.
“There’s a renaissance of Indigenous artists happening in this country right now,” Varadi said.
Varadi personally appreciates this display for the level of dedication Cardinal put into her piece.
Varadi said the public can appreciate this display as it will give them a connection to a culture they do not know much about.
“All the exhibitions are about telling stories. Hopefully people come and hear a story they haven’t heard before, hear it in a different way, or see something in a new light. I think that just ties all the exhibitions together,” he said.