Syrian art exhibit and events held at Mahon Hall


Behind the Lines: Contemporary Syrian Art continues to impress visitors this week with the work of 17 young Syrian artists, most of them under the age of 40.

Curated by Paul Crawford of the Penticton Art Gallery and Humam Alsalim for the Cyrrus Gallery in Damascus, this exhibition is a first for Salt Spring in bringing a show from another institution to the island.

The Salt Spring Arts Council has organized two events this week to help give some context to the exhibition and enhance understanding of the art as well as the production of an exhibit such as this.

On Thursday, Feb. 22 at 7 p.m., Artist in Residence program recipient Greg Constantine will give a presentation of his ongoing Nowhere People project with a slideshow and a discussion of his work and encounters he has faced in his quest. An award-winning documentary photographer who has travelled the world extensively, Constantine points his lens on displaced and stateless people, and the Syrian art exhibit provides a poignant backdrop to his important and fascinating work.

The final day of the exhibit, Sunday, Feb. 25, will see a pair of events. First, Crawford will speak about the exhibition from his view as lead curator, including the motivations, the logistics and the art beginning at 2 p.m. He will be joined via Skype by Alsalim, the Syrian co-curator now living as a refugee in Germany. Afterwards, there will be a panel discussion focused on the profession of the curator. Moderated by Anthony Matthews, the panelists include Crawford, Regan Shrumm and Margaret Day, who will be discussing what a curator is and does and the curator’s role in the dissemination of art and its presentation to the public.

Shrumm is a curator from Victoria with a show currently on exhibit at the Salt Spring Public Library in Ganges, and Day is a respected gallery director and curator of the Point Gallery on Salt Spring. The curators panel has been generously funded by the David Cook Memorial Fund, and is the first of three events planned over the next 18 months dedicated to examining the profession of the curator.

Behind the Lines continues until Sunday, Feb. 25. It is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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