To the Totem Forests:
Emily Carr and her Contemporaries
Interpret Coastal Villages (1900-1950)

Art Gallery of Greater Victora, Victoria
Aug 6-Oct 31


Anonymous, Totem Walk at Sitka, (n.d.),
photograph, courtesy Sitka Historical Society

During the first four decades of the 20th century, one of British Columbia's most beloved artists, Emily Carr, found sanctuary in remote Indian villages along the Coast. She drew and painted hundreds of villagescapes, canoes, housefronts, people and totem poles.

This unusual treatment of her paintings and drawings incorporates historical photographs of the locations that inspired her, as well as paintings by her contemporaries. The latter, including Walter J. Phillips, A.Y. Jackson, Langdon Kihn, George Pepper and F.M. Bell-Smith, rendered many of the same scenes as Carr. The juxta

position of their work with that of Carr provides intriguing contrasts.

The exhibition was curated by Peter Macnair and Jay Stewart. It includes material from diaries, letters, and essays by the artists, and statements from First Nations people. Together these artifacts form a multimedia whole, with the voice and imagery of Emily Carr merging with the visions of the other artists and the legends of the people behind the poles.

© Mia Johnson