Urbanite, the hip and happening night where cocktail culture, performance and art collide, returns Nov. 17. as part of the gallery’s adult programming. The event derives inspiration from three current exhibitions; “Water Work Space,” “Picturing The Giants: The Changing Landscapes of Emily Carr” and “Point of Contact: On Place and the West Coast Imaginary.”
What looks on the outside like a party is actually an education, says Nicole Stanbridge, curator of engagement at the gallery, adding that you don’t need to know about art to attend.
“It’s [about] engaging people in the gallery in a way they’re not used to and a chance for us to connect with other groups in the community to build audience together,” she says.
Visitors are encouraged to “come as you are,” as each corner of the gallery’s unique space is activated, animating the work and bringing it to life. Past incarnations have seen dance and music performances, a puppet show and a parade. This month, Nuu-chah-nulth writer Alana Sayers will use verbal expression to reflect the show’s themes of people and place, using sound to depict the first point of contact in colonization.
“The main piece in the centre of the exhibition space is a longhouse, which is pretty amazing,” Stanbridge says. The piece, from Nuu-chah-nulth artist Hjalmer Wenstob, is part of the historical works the gallery hopes will inspire people to think about their relationships to this land.
“At the gallery when we’re discussing ideas, the team is always aware that we’re guests on this territory,” Stanbridge says, referring to the Lekwungen-speaking people native to the South Island.
“Part of the theme we were thinking about is ‘how did we get here?’ Not just where is your family from and how did you get here, but how did we get to this ‘place’ in terms of how we understand our relationship to the place we live?
“I think that’s really important right now in relation to Indigenous and non-Indigenous relationships.”
Urbanite happens Nov. 17 from 8 to 11 p.m. at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. Tickets are selling fast, but still available through Eventbrite.