The Reach Heats Up Summer

By July 16, 2014Arts, Arts/Culture

Submitted. The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford cranks up the heat in its cool galleries this summer with four amazing arts and heritage exhibitions. I all kicks off on Thursday, July 17, 2014 at 7 pm with a free public opening reception, a first peek at the new exhibitions and an opportunity to meet the artists and curators over appetizers and the pulsating beat of the Hurrricane Drummers – Fraser Valley Korean Youth Drum Team.

Cover photo: Carol Portree, Strummin’ in Sechelt, watercolour

“We are honoured to welcome one of BC’s most important painters, Takao Tanabe, to the opening of his exhibition and to present his art tour and talk the next day, July 18th. It’s also a real thrill to share our other major exhibition, the Salish Weave Collection with the Fraser Valley audience and invite everyone to join us for artist/curator India Young’s tour and talk on Saturday, July 19th”, says Kate Bradford, curatorial assistant at The Reach.

The exhibition Takao Tanabe: Chronicles of Form and Place, organized and circulated by the Burnaby Art Gallery, features selections from the artist’s personal collection. It is a rare glimpse into the creative practice of one of Canada’s leading artists and printmakers, Takao Tanabe, and chronicles the artist’s career through his drawing practice. Although he started with abstract, today the subjects of his paintings are almost exclusively BC landscapes. Born in Prince Rupert, the son of a commercial fisherman, he was interned with other Japanese-Canadians in the BC interior during World War II.

Record, (Re)create: Contemporary Coast Salish Art from the Salish Weave Collection, organized and circulated by the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, is ours to enjoy thanks in part to funding from The Hamber Foundation. It showcases works by fourteen artists of Coast Salish ancestry including Fraser Valley artists: Thomas Cannell, Stan Greene and Susan Point. The pieces in this exhibition, a diverse range of traditional and contemporary media, effectively negotiate the relationship between both. They record history, recreate form, and create new works that simultaneously uphold the relevance of history while communicating the importance of change in the contemporary world.

Moving closer to home, the Fraser Valley Watercolour Society Celebrating 25 Years: Fun, Friendship and Painting honors the 25th anniversary of the diverse talented group of local artists in this society. Artists Andrea Chapman, Irene Enns, Gwen Gregorig, Wanda Hawse, Sheila Kirk, Patricia Maertz, Barry Morris, Deb Nolet, Corinne Popienko, Carol Portree, Cheryl Shaw, Shirley Thomas, Laurie Thomasson, David Tickner, Marilyn Vooys and Anne White present their passion and shared interest of the watercolor medium.

Boat People – Ben Nicholson Sr. and Wilhemina “Nickie” Nicholson, The Reach P12505

Boat People – Ben Nicholson Sr. and Wilhemina “Nickie” Nicholson, The Reach P12505

Then in its heritage gallery, The Reach shows Boat People in recognition of the passing of 100 years since passengers of the Komagata Maru were denied entry into Canada. Boat People examines the stories of other Abbotsford immigrants that made their way to Canada via an ocean voyage and includes pieces from The Reach material culture collections: artefacts, photographs and excerpts from oral histories.

Boat People brings you face to face with stories of local immigrants, incIuding that of Ben Nicholson Jr. son of Ben Nicholson Senior and Mrs. Nicholson and their voyage from Powfoot, a seaside resort in Scotland, to Halifax and then Abbotsford. He recalls, “Our gruesome journey from Halifax across Canada in 1926, took eight days on the Canadian National Railway train, in one long carriage with hard wood seats and a cook stove on which you boiled a kettle or soup from a can. Since the power came from coal that in turn provided the steam, the carriages were grimy with soot. Finally the train pulled into a small station with the red painted building and three Model A Fords to meet the three families that alighted, driven by Soldier Settlement Board supervisors.

Except for the cases we had on the train we had no luggage since our boxes arrived two months later via the Panama Canal to Vancouver. After a three mile journey along Harris Road into Glenmore, we arrived at a large field with what looked like a chicken house about 75 feet from the road, our new home!”

Experience these exhibitions: Takao Tanabe: Chronicles of Form and Place; Record, (Re)create: Contemporary Coast Salish Art from the Salish Weave Collection; Fraser Valley Watercolour Society Celebrating 25 Years and Boat People at The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford, 32388 Veterans Way, and participate in connecting events.

Friday 18 July @1pm – Tour and Talk with artist Takao Tanabe I Free

Saturday 19 July @1pm – Record (Re)create Tour and Talk with artist/curator India Young I Free
Somewhere between her Alaskan home, her New York college education and peace riots in La Paz, India Young decided art best expresses activism. Today she is a doctoral candidate in art history at the University of New Mexico, an independent curator and researcher of print media, contemporary Indigenous arts, and activist art.

For more information on The Reach’s programs, call 604-864-8087 or go to

Carol Portree, Strummin’ in Sechelt, watercolour

Carol Portree, Strummin’ in Sechelt, watercolour

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