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A Woman's Place: Art and the Role of Women in the Cultural Formation of Victoria, BC, 1850s-1920s

News / Events / Exhibitions

  Update April 27, 2005

"A Woman's Place"... Ross Bay Cemetery tour -- a great success

On Sunday, April 24th a group of participants from the "A Woman's Place"... project, including Adrienne Munro, Tusa Shea, Tina Lowery, and Jan Gates, along with Sylvia Van Kirk, Mollie Newman, Theresa Molinaro and project co-director Jennifer Iredale, presented talks to a gathering of members of the Old Cemeteries Society and the public on local artists Hannah Maynard, Martha (Douglas) Harris, Emily Carr, Dolly Helmcken, Fanny Mable Pirrie, Petronilla Bossi, and Kathleen O'Reilly. A highlight of the tour was Mollie Newman's inspired reading of an unpublished Emily Carr story about the day her father took her and her sisters to pick out the family plot.

  Update Jan. 31, 2005

CURA Student awarded internship at Kew Gardens in London, England

UVic Cultural Resource Management student Kate Daley was awarded a six-month internship at Kew Gardens, where she will be working with the ethnobotony collection and studying pharmaceutical plants. Kate initially worked as an enthusiastic volunteer researcher on the "A Woman's Place"... project, and was hired as a curatorial assistant through a Young Canada Works grant in the summer of 2004. Kate provides a summary of her experience working for CURA in her article "Working with 'A Woman's Place': A Behind the Scenes Look at the Exhibit" in the Spring 2005 issue of the Maltwood Journal. She also recently finished an internship at the Royal BC Museum. Congratulations Kate!

  Update Jan. 17, 2005
A Woman's Place in the media
In late December, Shaw Cable aired a segment on the "A Women's Place"... exhibit, which featured interviews with project directors Jennifer Iredale and Dr. K. Anne Finlay. The latest issue of the Maltwood Journal (Spring 2005) also features an article, "Working with 'A Woman's Place,'" by Cultural Resource Management student Kate Daley, who worked as a curatorial assistant on the exhibit.

Recently reviewed in the Times Colonist newspaper (Dec.19/04), Robert Amos calls the "A Woman's Place": Art and the Role of Women in the Cultural Formation of Victoria BC, 1850s-1930s exhibition catalogue "a delightful and informative book." Although the show ended on Jan. 11, 2005, the 130-page catalogue is still available at the Maltwood Art Museum and Gallery.

Community interest in this project continues with a Cemetery Tour of Women of Victoria, hosted by John Adams, planned for April 24, 2005. The tour will feature short talks by some of the researchers who worked on the "A Woman's Place"... CURA project.

Other UVic media outlets that featured this CURA project include: How Art & Women Shaped Victoria from UVic Communications - a summary of the November 28, 2004 symposium - and the Ring's article Student puts her own touch on Maltwood exhibit.


  Sept. 1 2004 - Jan. 11 2005
A Woman's Place: Art and the Role of Women in the Cultural Formation of Victoria, BC, 1850s-1920s

Maltwood Art Museum and Gallery, University of Victoria

The CURA research project on women artists in Victoria, from the 1850s to the 1920s, culminated in an exhibition at the Maltwood Art Museum and Gallery, which ran until January 11th, 2005. The exhibition and accompanying catalogue asked questions such as: Why did women make art in colonial (1851-1871) and early post-colonial Victoria? How did they learn to make art? What sorts of art did they make? Who were they? Above all, what role did women's art activity play in Victoria's dramatic transformation during this period?

The "Women and Art in Early Victoria Symposium," held at the University of Victoria Senate Chambers on Nov. 28th, generated a large audience and featured talks by John Adams, Kathryn Bridge, Kerry Mason, Jan Gates and Adrienne Munro.

  Posted Jan. 17, 2004
Project Seeks Community Input

A Woman's Place: Art and the Role of Women in the Cultural Formation of Victoria, BC, 1850s-1920s

The co-directors of a research project on women artists in Victoria between the 1850s and 1920s are hoping that the Victoria community will help them in their investigations. Dr. Karen Finlay, History in Art Department, University of Victoria, and Jennifer Iredale, Curator, B. C. Heritage Branch, are seeking information about a number of women artists and various organizations with art connections. Culminating in an exhibition at the Maltwood Art Museum and Gallery at the University of Victoria in the Fall of 2004, the research project was initiated over two years ago and addresses several fundamental questions. Why did women make art in Victoria between the 1850s and 1920s? How did they learn to make art? What art did they make? And who were the artists? The project organizers have adopted a broad definition of art that encompasses a wide range of mediums, from painting and drawing to porcelain painting and pottery, to lace-making and liturgical embroidery, to weaving and basket-making, to photography, architecture and hand-made books, to landscape and interior design. They are also hoping to illuminate women’s art practice in Victoria from a multi-ethnic perspective. The artists about whom they are seeking information include (but are not limited to): Georgina de l’Aubinière, Eleanor Fellows, Doris Holmes, Margaret Maclure, Emily Woods, Mary Daniell, Alice Pooley, Petronilla Bossi (Quagliotti), the Mallandine sisters, Alice Ravenhill, Mrs. Noble Pirrie, and Ethel McMicking. The organizations that Dr. Finlay, Ms. Iredale, and their student assistants are presently researching include: the Victoria Fall Fair (art committee); Victoria Sketch Club; Art Union; Victoria Horticultural Society; the Protestant Orphan’s Home; and Local Council of Women of Victoria (f. 1894).

Kindly contact Karen Finlay at 370-2982 or Jennifer Iredale at 387-4696 with any information you might like to share concerning unpublished resources or artifacts by women artists in the Victoria community between 1850 and 1930.

The project is funded by a Community-University Research Alliance (CURA) grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

  Oct. 3 - 25, 2002
Naming the Artist

Emily Carr House
207 Government St., Victoria, BC

Presented in the childhood home of British Columbia's pre-eminent female artist, this exhibit of decorative arts focused on trying to associate the artists' name with their work. Artists included Martha Harris (nee Douglas), Emily Carr, Edith 'Dolly' Higgins (nee Helmcken), Dorothea McKenzie, Wilhelmina 'Goodie' McKenzie, Rosie Charlie (nee Guterriez), Annie Lee (nee Gilmore), Susan Paul James (nee Kalelse) and Emma Florence.

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