For a while last year, Syria was everywhere online, on TV, and most importantly, on our minds. The only places Canadians were not seeing Syria was in our art galleries. But the Penticton Art Gallery has changed that.
In what is billed as the largest exhibition of contemporary art from Syria in Canadian history, the PAG, in conjunction with the Cyrrus Online Gallery of Damascus, presents over 100 artworks by 20 artists. The purpose of this exhibition, writes PAG director/curator Paul Crawford, is to introduce to the western world a cross-section of contemporary Syrian artists from the established to the emerging, both male and female, and have them share their personal stories and the stories of their communities back in Syria today.
While some might think Penticton an unlikely place for such an auspicious exhibition, think again. For the past two years," says Crawford, "the Penticton Art Gallery has endeavoured to tell the stories behind the headlines of the people living in countries where the Canadian military has been engaged. Indeed, last year the gallery presented the Kabul Art Project, an exhibition of drawings and paintings by 27 contemporary Afghan artists, alongside Canadian War Artist Program participant Allan Harding Mackays controversial Gift of Conscience.