Ben Sopow and Lynn Hunter are two artists showing work at the upcoming Renewal exhibition at Arbutus Books next month. (Photos courtesy Lynn Hunter/Ben Sopow)

Ben Sopow and Lynn Hunter are two artists showing work at the upcoming Renewal exhibition at Arbutus Books next month. (Photos courtesy Lynn Hunter/Ben Sopow)

Shop window art show explores COVID-19, the Black Death and the Renaissance

Rotating ‘Renewal’ exhibition coming to Arbutus Books display window in August

Christine Battye said she sees historical similarities between COVID-19 and the Black Death and the local artist and curator hopes that like in the 14th century, there may be a Renaissance to follow.

“They caught the plague, had to go into isolation, not being allowed to leave their houses,” she said. “And then after the plague happened in the early 1300s it led to significant social changes in society and it also led to the way art was changed.”

Battye’s latest exhibition, Renewal, focuses on themes of Renaissance art and people’s response to living through pandemic conditions. The show will be on display in the front window of Arbutus Books from Aug. 1 to 30.

“Our idea is to empty the window and place the art in there so the window becomes part of the exhibit and then you respect the social distancing and it also allows for a stream of audiences,” Battye said.

The exhibition will feature work by artists Lynn Hunter, Ben Sopow, Dyane Brown, Karen Birch and Nansey Sinclair on a rotating schedule. Battye said the artists “all have something they can offer to illustrate the curatorial concept.”

For her contribution, Hunter crated a watercolour painting and a pair of mosaic-like fabric portraits inspired by Renaissance-era Madonna and Child imagery.

“I’ve always been interested in doing [religious] icons,” she said. “And so I’ve tried watercolours and oils and I’m also a fabric artist so I decided I would try to paint with fabric.”

Hunter will also be displaying a fabric collage called Sanctuary, which depicts a couple sheltered by an umbrella. In an e-mail she explained “the background environment references a cathedral of sorts where the people find solace in times of trouble.”

Sopow said he was interested in the spiritual renewal that followed the Black Death and “new ways to find faith.” His work includes a mosaic that references Rastafarianism and piece inspired by pagan cave drawings. He also created a three-dimensional piece contained within a plexiglass box to allude to life in quarantine.

“What I’m really excited about is this idea of a storefront gallery,” Sopow said. “And I’m really excited by what Christine’s working out here and the potential for a different kind of art show … and I’m hopeful for Christine that this show may be a little bit of a prototype.”

WHAT’S ON … Renewal takes place in the display window at Arbutus Books, 87 Nicol St., from Aug. 1 to 30.

RELATED: VIU art student Christine Battye curates ‘Nudes’ show at Nanaimo Arts Council



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Art

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The sky above Mt. Benson in Nanaimo is illuminated by flares as search and rescuers help an injured hiker down the mountain to a waiting ambulance. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Search and Rescue)
Search plane lights up Nanaimo’s Mt. Benson with flares during icy rope rescue

Search and rescue team gets injured hiker down the mountain to a waiting ambulance

Sofia Low, left, Delilah Maisonneuve, Madi Hickey, Alayna Black, and Maya Wilch, Departure Bay Eco-School students, will turn down the temperature and wear sweaters on Feb. 4, National Sweater Day. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo students will don sweaters next week as part of energy-saving challenge

Departure Bay Eco-School’s green energy team challenges other classes on National Sweater Day

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo’s NRGH

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All seniors in long-term care on the Island will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

Environment Canada is forecasting snow for the east Vancouver Island region the weekend of Jan. 23. (Black Press file)
UPDATE: Snowfall warning issued for Nanaimo area, up to 5 cm forecast

Snow to begin Saturday night, according to Environment Canada

Sofia Low, left, Delilah Maisonneuve, Madi Hickey, Alayna Black, and Maya Wilch, Departure Bay Eco-School students, will turn down the temperature and wear sweaters on Feb. 4, National Sweater Day. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo students will don sweaters next week as part of energy-saving challenge

Departure Bay Eco-School’s green energy team challenges other classes on National Sweater Day

VIU’s health and science centre. (Vancouver Island University photo)
VIU to train 72 health-care assistants to work with seniors

B.C. Ministry of Health announces details of health career access program

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization, a non-profit, seeks to raise $8,000 for a play structure to help children remain active during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo Unique Kids Organization asking for help fundraising for play structure

Physical activities have been limited due to COVID-19 restrictions, says non-profit

Comox Valley RCMP are looking for witnesses after the theft of a generator worth thousands of dollars. Photo supplied
RCMP asking Vancouver Island residents to watch for stolen generator

Vehicle may have been travelling on Highway 19

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Actions of Vancouver Island RCMP emergency response team members prevented a potential head-on collision accident on the Trans-Canada Highway on Jan. 19, says Nanaimo RCMP. (News Bulletin file)
Eight cars evade vehicle driving on wrong side of highway, says Nanaimo RCMP

Incident occurred near Trans-Canada Highway-Morden Road intersection earlier this week

Most Read