Locally born artist Anna Banana has curved right back to Victoria.
The artist returns to her stomping ground to celebrate the opening of a major retrospective of her work, Anna Banana: 45 Years of Fooling Around with A. Banana, from Sept. 19 to Jan. 3 at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.
Anna Banana, formerly Anne Lee Long, was a mother, wife, textile artist and teacher in Victoria and Vancouver during the 1960s when an unquenchable desire to explore art and challenge existing ideals led her to declare herself Victoria’s Town Fool in 1971. She organized a variety of events aimed at engaging the public in creative endeavours and began circulating her newsletter, the Banana Rag – still in publication – which connected her to artists in a range of cities.
“Banana’s participatory initiatives were amongst the most avant-garde art being practised in Victoria,” says Michelle Jacques, chief curator of the AGGV. “Victoria wasn’t the easiest place in which to go against the grain, so in 1974, she moved to San Francisco where she found a community of like-minded artists and her work flourished.”
Banana’s interactive performance art included the Banana Olympics of 1975 in San Francisco and 1980 in Surrey. Recent work included a parody research project, Proof Positive Germany is Going Bananas, that toured Germany in 1993, and But, is it Art? which she took to various European cities in 2009 and 2011.
Anna Banana will give an artist talk at Open Space, second floor, 510 Fort St. on Sept. 26, at 2 p.m.
A complementary exhibition at Open Space will be on view from Sept. 19 through Oct. 24.