The changing exhibitions of Touchstones Nelson offer a diversity of topics and themes that reflect the broad interests and capabilities of people living in the region. From contemporary art and pop culture, to fine craft and design, to local architectural and human history, Touchstones Nelson exhibitions connect to this area’s creative energy and rich heritage.
Exhibition News and Guidelines
Zeljko Kujundzic and the Early Years of the Kootenay School of the Arts
Curator: Jessica Demers
August 16 to November 9, 2014
Opening Reception: Friday, August 15, 7-9pm (Member’s Preview at 6:30)
Image: Zeljko Kujundzic paints while students look on, Circa 1959, Touchstones Nelson Archives
It was 1960. Zeljko Kujundzic, a fifth generation artist from former Yugoslavia, was hired as the first principal of the newly formed Nelson School of Fine Arts’ three-year diploma program. Over the next 4 years, Kujundzic would impart his rigorous European “studio method” of instruction in which teacher and student work together on commissioned projects, much like the Renaissance model of apprenticeship. Kujundzic emphasized the use of local materials, practical skills in a wide array of mediums and the study of literature and philosophy to enrich cultural depth. Students would learn to make their own art materials using locally sourced clay for sculpture, mineral pigments for mixing paints and metals for jewelery. The school began to attract a diverse cross section of students, from hippies and homemakers to young artists from across Canada and abroad, drawn in part by Kujundzic’s reputation as well as the breadth of the courses offered.
Although he was only there for a relatively short period of time, his influence marked the beginnings not only of KSA, but perhaps also of Nelson’s re-invention as the “Best Little Arts Town” in Canada. Join us for this retrospective exhibit that surveys Kujundzic’s diverse artistic achievements, and traces the beginnings of the now iconic Kootenay School of the Arts.
Sons of Freedom Doukhobors: Photographs from the Stevens Studio Collection
Curator: Jessica Demers
May 24 to September 7, 2014
Group of Friends Choir Performance
Thursday June 12, 7pm
Image: Doukhobor woman stands in front of burnt house, Circa 1950’s, Touchstones Nelson Archives
The Sons of Freedom, a distinct group of Doukhobors based mainly in Krestova BC, gained worldwide attention during the early 1950’s. They burned their own houses to demonstrate rejection of material wealth and private property, and marched naked as a form of spiritual cleansing and protest. When a public demonstration was planned, photographer Jane Sloan often showed up before the police. A trusted outsider, she was invited by the Sons of Freedom to document their cultural activities and protests, and her evocative photographs quickly spread throughout Canada and parts of Europe via newspapers and publications such as Life Magazine.
Selected from the larger Stevens Studio collection in the Touchstones Nelson Archives, the photographs in this exhibit document a compelling chapter in the history of the Sons of Freedom Doukhobors, as well as our community. Although much of the collection has been made available for viewing online (at http://www.flickr.com/photos/touchstonesnelson), this will be the first time the photographs have been exhibited publicly since they appeared in media outlets over six decades ago.