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Industry Narratives


The Gulf of Georgia Cannery Society "Industry Narratives" project was a multidisciplinary initiative involving socio-historical research and the production of contemporary art using the Gulf of Georgia Cannery Society's salmon can label collection as the primary resource of study. These utilitarian labels, with their direct association to industry, commercial art and popular culture, serve to uniquely encapsulate key periods of BC's history.

In the fall of 2001, two University of Victoria students took upon themselves the challenge of studying specific portions of the Gulf of Georgia Cannery's salmon can label collection. In four months, the students generated thoughtful interpretive work, which inspired the content and layout of an exhibit entitled "Trademarks and Salmon Art: A brand new perspective, held at the Gulf of Georgia Cannery in the summer of 2002.

The exhibition featured not only the labels and their associated stories, but also contemporary works of art inspired by the research. Eight jury-selected artists were given only three months to produce artwork responding to both the salmon can label collection and the research results. An exhibition catalogue with the same title was published by the Gulf of Georgia Cannery in October and a lecture series featuring the student papers was held in February.

The catalogue, Trademarks and Salmon Art: a brand new perspective, proved to be so popular that it was reprinted in 2003. Copies of this publication can be obtained from the Cannery, by contacting the site at The catalogue was distributed to numerous museums, archives and libraries throughout the province, where it may also be seen.

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