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Nanaimo Art Gallery groups show dream-inspired work as part of downtown Artwalk

Adult, teen and youth groups displaying work together in gallery’s ArtLab studio
Nanaimo Art Gallery art education coordinator Yvonne Vander Kooi leads the senior Code teen art group in the gallery’s ArtLab studio. The group will be exhibiting work in the space during the upcoming Nanaimo Artwalk. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)

The Nanaimo Artwalk is back after taking last year off due to COVID-19 and once again the Nanaimo Art Gallery is joining in.

On Dec. 4 and 5 about 38 members from the NAG’s Saturday Studio, age 5 to 12, junior and senior Code art groups, age 12 to 19, and adult Surrealist Parlour are showcasing their work in the gallery’s ArtLab studio space.

NAG art education coordinator Yvonne Vander Kooi said the work is inspired by the gallery’s current dream-based exhibition, Pawatamihk, by artist Audie Murray.

“Ideas around the exhibition loosely reference dreaming and the subconscious…” she said. “Working in ways that kind of mimic the dada and the surrealist artists of the early part of the 20th century, where they would do a lot of automatic writing and automatic drawing without thinking. Allowing the subconscious to come to surface or to the page.”

Vander Kooi’s senior Code group will be showing “automatic” paintings and dream-inspired clay sculptures. Participant Tori Djakovic, an aspiring marine biologist, created a hand emerging from a pair of goggles.

“I’ve had multiple dreams of just being underwater, calm, seeing all the animals and all the fish,” she said. “But there’s been a couple dreams where a hand pops out and you just wake up and there’s nothing else.”

Fellow senior Code member Teagan MacLean’s sculpture alludes to a recurring dream where they’re walking towards a house on rocky spikes.

RELATED: Nanaimo Artwalk returns after cancelling last year’s event due to COVID-19

As for the other groups, Saturday Studio members created video animations and will be screening their work and displaying the objects used in the videos, the junior Code group created a wall of “artist trading cards” that Artwalk guests will have the chance to add to by creating their own cards during their visit and the Surrealist Parlour participants will be exhibiting large text- and image-based works.

“[I’m] just really hoping to share with the community all of the fun and interesting things that happen here and connect with people again,” Vander Kooi said.

WHAT’S ON … Nanaimo Art Gallery group exhibition takes place in the gallery’s ArtLab studio, 150 Commercial St., on Dec. 4 and 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

RELATED: Nanaimo Art Gallery resumes fully in-person programming as restrictions ease

RELATED: Nanaimo Art Gallery youth art groups show work at this year’s Artwalk

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