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Beauty Queens

Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
Victoria BC Dec 10-Feb 27, 2005

John Boehme - Surf and Turf (detail)
John Boehme, Surf and Turf (detail) (2004), still from video performance [Art Gallery of Greater Victoria BC, Dec 10, 2004-Feb 27, 2005] collection of the artist

Beauty Queens is an exhibit of work by 13 artists inspired by their island homes. From Ireland to Prince Edward Island, from Newfoundland to Trinidad and from Vancouver Island to Hawaii, the artists in “Beauty Queens” examine their island cultures, histories, identity, traditions and the environment.

Who among us has not dreamed of escaping to an island? We can imagine being self-contained and self-sufficient, free of the economic and social constraints of living in cities. But while the artists explore facets of these myths, they also focus mainlanders on the realities. Island life can entail social isolation from larger communities, an engagement with ecological issues unique to islands, economic difficulties making ends meet, and the unavoidable politics and tensions of diverse communities sharing a limited, geographic area. What emerges from the artwork is a portrait of the island as an externally desirable “beauty queen”, but a more complex entity than might be imagined from our illusions, myths and fantasies.

The 13 artists include Gerald Beaulieu and Judith Scherer of Prince Edward Island; Jim Hansen and Barb Hunt of Newfoundland; Marianne Nicolson and John Boehme on Vancouver Island; Dan Shipsides and Daniel Jewesbury of Ireland; Susan Dayal, Wendy Nanan and Chris Cozier from Trinidad; and Gaye Chan and Melinda Mory from the Hawaiian Islands.

Mia Johnson

 Tue, Nov 2, 2004