May 29 – June 11, 2015
This exhibition was headed by Chris Bose and featured work from members of Kamloops’ Arbour Collective, an urban Aboriginal, Métis and Inuit artist association. “The underworld is a community that society rarely acknowledges,” says Bose. “This exhibit brings outsider art from the fringes of our social systems; it is created for people who will never step foot in a gallery or museum.”
Much of the exhibit’s contentious content wrestled with themes of missing Aboriginal women, poverty and issues of injustice facing an array of underserved and plighted communities.
Presented over Canada’s June 21st National Aboriginal Day and Canada Day on July 1st, God Save the Underworld also draws heavily on Canada’s history of colonialism and our current relationship with the British monarchy.
Interpretive Essay by Dr. Michelle Jack
Beauty, Strength, and Expressive Emotional Commentary can be found flowing in and out of the edges of communities. We find ourselves here in this flow with the art by Chris Bose and the Arbour Collective. Like a quiet and powerful wave we are covered with a momentary experience of mixed reactions and emotions. Sirens, social walls, and violence in many forms often block the brash and expressive street art and graffiti writing we see in God Save the Underworld.
The artists here are giving a voice to important interior social justice issues that are largely ignored by many British Columbia media and authoritative bodies. Why is there no wide spread investigation into missing Aboriginal women? Are we so callus to the gaping wounds in the earth that are mined with massive amounts of once clean water? Toxic waste pollutes the precious waters and fish that provide food for many animals and people alike. These works can force us to consider these issues, and their place within BritishCanadian colonialism.
Western society and consumption often cause us to gloss over these issues. Commercials for slick, “clean” living push the idea that it is more important how things look, rather than what is within. After all the consumption what is left? Hungry mouths, money, oil.
Socially critical dialogue has become rare. Who really gives a voice to those in need? There is great need for communal art space, one where every voice is welcomed to participate.
The Kamloops based Arbour Collective is an Aboriginal, Métis, and Inuit urban artist group that provides a place for collaborative and personal expression.
Chris Bose and his collaborative murals are a blunt commentary about the social injustice of the local Kamloops area. His bold and colourful graffiti shows the true nature of his KYOTI persona.
KAST and his classic graffiti lettering is homage to the first graffiti writers and the vinyl music that inspired them.
Marvin Strange give us a prickly sharp comment on the effects of destruction and darkness of many kinds. Their steampunk creations present designs inspired by 19th century steam-powered machinery.
God Save the Underworld entices the onlooker to come and investigate what hides in the shadows. Even if only for a few moments, these works have your attention fixed and engaged to listen to voices most would not bother paying attention to. So be coxed and enter this piercing environment. See the layering of public space from rock petroglyphs to the graffiti of today, and hear the many voices that will sound long after these graffiti night expressions are washed away.
Interested in exhibiting in the Alternator’s Main Gallery? Check out the Submission Guidelines.