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.
Bringing the War Home: 3D images from the Battlefields of WWI
September 20 to November 23 | Curator: Rod Taylor
Image: Partially buried field cannon, image taken from WWI stereoscopic glass slide.
Courtesy of Bill Sturgeon.
It’s springtime in Nelson. Like many other men in his community, a young accountant at the Bank of Montreal by the name of William Sturgeon has just enlisted. By August he’s in France, where some of the heaviest fighting of the war is taking place. The year is 1916, and it’s been two years since the start of World War I.
Sturgeon would be one of the lucky ones - although severely wounded in the left hip, he would survive. When he eventually returned home, he brought with him a selection of stereoscopic images of French soldiers taken on the front lines. Stereoscopy was an early form of 3D photography, and images of this sort were very affordable and popular for a time.
Nearly 100 years later they remain powerful images, and for this exhibit a selection of them have been converted for use with 3d glasses, and will be projected in a darkened gallery. We are grateful to the family of William Sturgeon for the loan of the images and viewer, as well as local historian Steve Kobs for bringing them to our attention and helping in countless other respects. A warning: although black and white, many of these images contain graphic depictions of the dead that may be disturbing for some viewers.