Friday, April 27, 2018

Calgary Showcase pt4: Power In Pictures- The exhibit that deserved more respect then it got- A Review

Where has the week gone? Apparently, my stomach flu ate it.

Soooo, remember when I said that the next set of Calgary pictures would be my last? Well, I forgot about one more thing. An exhibit that I can't even review because of how little time I got with it. And by how badly handled it was by the Glenbow. But before I get into that, let's see some photos, shall we? Because the Exhibit itself is actually really awesome!

Power In Pictures: The Outside Circle and the Impact of the Graphic Novel

This Exhibit's first part features the new graphic novel, The Outside Circle, about two aboriginal brothers, the violent world they live in, and dealing with the traumatic history of their people. The second part features masks and comics made by kids from the USAY (Urban Society of Aboriginal Youth) during a workshop with Kelly Mellings, the illustrator of The Outside Circle

Overall, the exhibit itself is very cool. The pieces are displayed on the inside of a circle of walls, (get it? you're walking from Outside a Circle) showing off not only pictures from the book but also the comics created by the kids in the workshop

First up, here's a list of everyone involved, including the kids!

And now for the art!

 Here are some more images that I didnt' get clear artist statements of:

And here is the first set of masks I saw! 

I'm reallly sad this one turned out blury, because I love the hand print design on this mask. It was one of my favorites.

Overall, I really enjoyed the masks and the kid's comic's the most. I am definately going to pick up The Outside Circle, but I love to see art from today's youth! Each mask was very unique to each maker, making it the most interesting part of this exibit!


And now... onto the not so good stuff. Excuse me if I get a bit ranty, but this really stuck with me in a bad way.

This is the exhibit I had the least amount of time with. By the time I found it, I had a half hour to look it over. Enough time to snap as many pictures as I could, glance over the statements beside each piece, and head out before the doors were locked. I had hoped that I would be able to enjoy and read through each work on my camera. Unfortunately, continuing the trend that "cellphones are the worst camera's, I don't care what everyone says", almost every picture came out blurry.

And y'know what? It's entirely the Glenbow's fault. 

Was my phone camera a bad idea to use? Yes. Yes, it was. But I would have had much more time in this small exhibit if I KNEW WHERE IT WAS!!

See, according to the website, Power In Pictures IS a current exhibit. But when I got to the museum, I couldn't find it. It wasn't in the flyer. It wasn't on the map. I asked a few people and security guards and they had NO idea what I was talking about, even when I showed them the website! Since there was no date on the exhibit's website page, I ended up assuming that it was an old exhibit that I had missed.

It was only when I asked the woman running the gift shop at the end of my trip, did I get some direction. And even then, I had to ask two more people before I could find it. I think I spent more time looking for the exhibit, then enjoying it. 

The worst part is that this NEW exhibit is practically hidden away. So here are some directions for anyone who wants to check it out. First off: It's on floor three. Don't be fooled by the sign on the stairs saying "closed". It's just talking about the stairs. Take the elevator. Second: Once you're on floor three you're gonna need to go right. Go past the bathrooms and then right again, down a thin, barely lit, tiny hallway. This will lead you to the New Sun Gallery where the exhibit is being shown in the middle circle of walls.

Now, seeing as this IS an entrance to a gallery (a poorly marked out one, but still) Why would I be so mad about that? Because It's not just an entrance. It's an exit. From the entire aboriginal section of floor 3.

I've been to the Glenbow many times, and I can tell you that floor 3 kinda works like an Ikea. Visitors will usually follow the main path laid out for them. You either start in the Maverik's Exhibition, or the Aboriginal section, the first part titled, Niitsitapiisinni: Our Way of life, also called "The Blackfoot Gallery". Why would anyone try going anywhere else when the entrances to THESE exhibits are indicated by large signs showing visitors where to go? On that note, the New Sun Gallery has a very small sign that you can easily miss.

These are both EXTREMELY LARGE sections. The Blackfoot Gallery is so big that the teepee in the exhibit cuts through the floor above, allowing anyone on the fourth floor a birds-eye view of this corner of the exhibit. It's only after you are done here that you enter The New Sun Gallery. Even if the New Sun Gallery had a better sign, I still had no indication that something new was in there.

So to recap: The very important, creative, and interesting exhibit, featuring new Aboriginal works, was not only not indicated on the map, the guidebook, or was even known by several workers there, but was also hidden away in a place that most people would find only after walking through a completely different exhibit. And a permanent one at that. One that, unless told otherwise, regular patrons of the Glenbow would probably skip, because they have already seen all of the permanent exhibits 20 times over. LIKE I HAD. 

I'll be blunt. THIS is insulting. Not just to the artists, either. Adding even more of an insult is that this work features Aboriginal art, implying that new Aboriginal art is not important enough to have its own space. Or even be marked down on A FREAKING MAP.

Power in Pictures deserved a lot more respect then it got. And I expect more from the Glenbow or any other gallery that decides to show Aboriginal artwork!

Wow. Two reviews in one week. I wish they were both ended on a nicer note. Next time, hopefully, will be a nice relaxing look at some galleries that didn't tick me off, as well as some cosplay from the Welcome to Nightvale liveshow: All Hail!

Till then!
The Sluglady, aka, Tegan Dumpleton

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