Deryk Houston is a Victoria artist with a strong passion for politics. A great deal of his art and writing is concerned with war, peacekeeping and children's rights. The Collective Works Gallery exhibition features five by six foot photographs of enormous spheres of paper and string that he installed in Victoria's Beacon Hill Park.
Deryk Houston, Installation view of work by Deryk Houston in Beacon Hill Park, Victoria BC [Collective Works Gallery, Victoria BC, Nov 20-Dec 3]
The boulder-like shapes are filled with children's art on the theme of peace and will gradually disintegrate to expose the content. In the gallery, his photographs are accompanied by low altar-like stands set with candles to represent young men and women who have died in Afghanistan. The photographs were shown at the Gracefield Art Centre, Scotland in recent months.
For the past fifteen years, Houston has been critical of the war in Iraq, and of Canada's involvement in Afghanistan. In 2003, the National Film Board of Canada premiered From Baghdad to Peace Country, Houston's documentary on his Peace Sanctuary, a permanent ground art project in support of children and the people of Iraq that he constructed in northeastern British Columbia near Hudson's Hope. In 2007 his Fighterjet/Mousetrap sculpture was accepted into the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, and in 2002 he was invited by the Iraqi Minister to participate in an International art exhibit at the Baghdad Art Centre in Iraq.
The Scottish-born artist has exhibited internationally in Canada, the USA, Scotland, Iraq and the former Soviet Union. He has completed ground art and earthen works in Iraq, Canada and Scotland in support of children's rights. Houston is also well-known as an accomplished representational painter with a colourful style. In a different vein, in March 2010, Canada House Gallery in Banff will present a solo exhibition of his paintings of the Muskwa Kechika Management Area, in a wilderness region in northern BC.