Kamloops Art Gallery features work of Lawren Harris, Canada 150 display

By Chad Klassen
August 23, 2017 - 4:36pm Updated: August 23, 2017 - 6:13pm

KAMLOOPS — The latest exhibition at the Kamloops Art Gallery highlights Canada's great moments during its 150 years since confederation. The exhibit also paints a real pictures of some of the darker moments in Canadian history.

One of the exhibits takes you back to 1914 when a ship from India, called the Komagata Maru, arrived in Vancouver with 376 would-be immigrants. 

"They were trying to challenge a rule that Canada had put into place to try and stop immigration from Asia, which was the continuous migration rule, which said anyone coming into the country as an immigrant had to come directly from their country of citizenship," said interim curator Adrienne Fast. 

The collection of archived images from the Vancouver Art Gallery, put together by Roy Arden, tells the story of the Indian immigrants who were held on the ship for two months before a judge allowed a few of them into the country. 

The story has inspired many, including some wildfire evacuees that have taken it in with free admission into the gallery. 

"There was a fire evacuee that I was talking to about this work, the Komagata Maru, and she got tears in her eyes. She started talking about how this experience of being forced out of her home has made her more aware or feel differently about the experience of refugees, people that were affected by this historical event."

It's part of a Canada 150 exhibit, telling the stories of Canada over the years — the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

"There's also work that deals with the Japanese internment during World War Two, there's work that addresses the residential school's horrible legacy, so works that encourage us to take in all of the aspects of Canadian history, not just to accept the more positive elements," said Fast.

The other side of the gallery features the work of Lawren Harris, a famous Canadian artist who was part of the Group of Seven — a collection of seven Canadian painters that became well known for their work portraying the country's landscape. 

"It's a smaller exhibition that comes to us on tour from the Vancouver Art Gallery's permanent collection. It goes from very early work, his student work when he was studying in Berlin, chronologically covers his career up to around 1960. He passed away in 1970," Fast noted. 

The exhibition is on at the Kamloops Art Gallery until September 9. 

2141 steam engine back on tracks starting Thursday evening