Intro Painting Class!

After only 6 weeks these students from Katherine’s VISA 215 class demonstrate amazing technical skills!

VISA 215 course: Introduction to the materials and techniques of painting. Exploration of colour, surface, structure, and space.


Self-Organization – Curated by Lindsay Kirker


Curated by Lindsay Kirker

MFA Candidate

“The dynamical process by which a system forms persistent structures in space or time, often in response to a flow of energy, matter or information within and across the system boundary.” – Dr. Lael Parrott

This show is a moment to reflect on nine days spent at the Kluane Lake Research Station in Yukon Territory as guests on the traditional territories of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations and Kluane First Nations. Taught by Dr. Lael Parrott, this field course examined the complex system of the Lhù’ààn Mân or Kluane Lake region, observing how interactions between humans and the environment have influenced the present landscape. Meeting with researchers and members of the community, we observed how interconnected this place truly is. Because the Kluane region is so culturally and ecologically diverse, it presented the opportunity to look at interactions between different aspects of this system across multiple spatial, temporal, and hierarchical scales, taking into account economic, cultural and social influences that drive them. The Kluane landscape is a complex system and we saw firsthand that a place like this cannot be studied in isolation from any of its parts. For example, nothing in the environment can be studied without the assumption that there will be human interaction, whether through population increase, tourism, or economic and means of survival. Likewise, no aspect of the humans in this region can be studied without considering the environmental context of the Kluane region.

In nine days, we learned more in the field than being in the traditional classroom setting. As the only Fine Arts student in the group, being able to participate in this trip was not only significant to my research but solidified the importance of communication and connection. All students came from different cultural and educational backgrounds but this experience connected us, and the conversations we shared were enlightening and extremely informative. Sharing stories and research, academic and personal, allowed us to approach difficult problems from all angles. Communication between and across fields is essential. Listening to multiple perspectives introduces the possibility of different approaches in how we might solve issues that impact us as a collective. As in a complex system, nothing should be considered in isolation; boundaries are arbitrary and everything is interconnected.

Artist’s Biographies:

Emmanuel Adoasi-Ahyiah

Emmanuel Adoasi-Ahyiah is an MSc Forestry Student at The University of British Columbia Vancouver Campus. He is studying the regeneration of tree seedlings post-disturbance in the UBC Alex Fraser Research Forest and hopes to provide useful information for the sustainable management of the UBC research forest and other similar forest types around the world. 

Elizabeth Houghton

Elizabeth Houghton is in her final year of a BSc in Earth and Environmental Science at the University of British Columbia. She is focusing her undergraduate research on the implications of postharvest deficit irrigation in cherry orchards throughout the Okanagan Valley in hopes of contributing to the improvement of water management techniques.

 Lindsay Kirker

Lindsay Kirker is a Master of Fine Arts Student, completing her second year at the University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus. Her thesis examines the emotional and ethical disconnect in the Anthropocene. Her main focus is painting the construction taking place in Kelowna as a site of contemplation.

David Lee

David Lee is a BSc student in earth and environmental science and minor in human geography at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. He is studying mapping, hydrology, and climate based fields in the major, and the area of environmental sustainability and food systems in the minor. He hopes to enter to work in environmental sustainability and urban planning/development. 

Heather Magusin

Heather Magusin is a Master of Arts student in Interdisciplinary Studies at UBC Okanagan. Her research examines the influence of language on our conception of and responses to complex social-environmental phenomena, from wildfire management to urban cycling. An avid photographer and nature lover, she spends all of her remaining time adventuring outdoors.

Kayleigh Nielson

Kayleigh Nielson is a Ph.D. student at the University of British Columbia (Okanagan campus) studying the impact of climate change on spotted knapweed biological control efficacy. She hopes to continue researching the interaction between the environment, invasive plants, and their insect biological control agents to better understand current and future invasive plant management.

Claire Thornton

Claire Thornton is a BSc student in Earth and Environmental Science at The University of British Columbia – Okanagan. She is in her final year of her BSc and hopes to work in resource and land management.

Nick Tochor

Nick Tochor is a fifth year environmental science and biology student at the University of British Columbia’s Okanagan Campus. Recently, he has been researching how patterns of habitat suitability for Grizzly bears has changed in Western Alberta over the last few decades.

Natalie Trusz

Natalie Trusz is a BSc student in microbiology and political science at The University of British Columbia. She is currently developing her potential in both fields, with a hope to one day connect the two disciplines in an impactful way.

Layers – FINA exhibition by Cool Arts Society Artists


Cool Arts artists showcase original work in annual exhibition

Layers aims to introduce more disability and outsider art to the general public. Though there are many gifted animators, sculptors, and fibre artists living with disabilities in the Okanagan, too often, their work is considered amateur or unprofessional. With the increased popularity of the disability and outsider art movements around the world, Layers attempts to bring more visibility to the work created by artists who have traditionally been on the fringes of the art world. All work is representative of each individual artist, with video animations, wall hangings, and yarn-bombed furniture featured in the exhibition.

Cool Arts Society is a Kelowna-based non-profit organization that believes that everyone should have equal opportunities to express themselves through art. The organization is dedicated to providing fine art opportunities to adults living with developmental disabilities through its various classes, workshops, and special projects, all facilitated by professional artists. Cool Arts artists explore process-oriented art activities in a safe, artist-centred environment.

The Layers exhibition is made possible by the support of the FINA Art Gallery at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan and the City of Kelowna.

To learn more about Cool Arts Society and the Layers exhibition, visit or find us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube @coolartssociety.

Alumni Exhibition: Mirjana Borovickic

FCCS is pleased to host an exhibition of new works by recent BFA alumna Mirjana Borovickic ‘19. Mirjana completed a residency at the Caetani House this summer for the month of July, and will be showing the work she created during that time.

Mirjana Borovickic is a visual artist living in Kelowna, BC. She was born in Bosnia and immigrated to Canada in 1995, at the age of 12, after living through a civil war. Throughout her life Mirjana has always been fascinated with textiles; her love for textiles was further developed during her teenage years when she opted to take sewing in high school. She graduated with a BFA in Visual Arts from the University of British Columbia, Okanagan in 2019. Currently she is working with textiles on a series titled Resilient Child in which she explores childhood memories and war trauma.

Open Studio Gallery – Alison Trim

Open Studio Gallery

Alison Trim

9 – 20 September 2019

 Over this two week period current MFA student Alison Trim will be using the FINA gallery as an open studio space to explore her graduate research within a white box gallery space and the potential for developing the work through installational approaches. This is a working studio space, not an exhibition, however the public are welcome to visit the gallery/studio to explore the work in progress and meet the artist. Alison will be in residency at the studio at the following times, when she is not present the gallery will be closed.

10am – 1pm Tuesdays

10am – 4pm Wednesdays

10am – 4pm Thursdays

10am – 2pm Fridays

Statement of work in progress

Through expanded drawing practices including collaborative and installational approaches, drawing as both action and object is at the core of my current research. Responding to the impact of a new landscape in moving from rural Ireland to the Okanagan valley, extensive walking and experimental drawing methodologies have informed the direction of my work.

The combination of resilience and fragility evident in the richness of surface found whilst walking within regions still scarred by fire is interesting to me both visually and ecologically. This has become the raw material for creating drawings through direct collaboration with Ponderosa Pines carrying the scars of past fires in their skin as charcoal. These drawings are at the core of a body of work that acts as an active surface; to be read, as a map, or experienced as terrain.

This residency is enabling me to experiment with translating somatic experience of connection with, and immersion in place, into a gallery context. Making visible those knowledges located physically in the marks made by body and land, my work explores the role of drawing in enabling active conversation with the non-human.

Alison Trim

Beyond Borders Go Global Tanzania 2019: Community, Creativity, and Communications

Beyond Borders

Go Global Tanzania 2019: Community, Creativity, and Communications

The Beyond Borders: Go Global Tanzania 2019 exhibit shares a few glimpses into the works created by students who participated in the Go Global Tanzania: Community, Creativity, and Communications program Summer Term 1, 2019.  The program enabled UBC Okanagan and UBC Vancouver students from all degree programs to immerse themselves in an interdisciplinary, intercultural context, considering questions such as:

  • What does travel and travel writing enable us to explore – not only about the people and places we encounter, but also about ourselves?
  • How are places represented and people’s stories told – or not told?
  • How can sharing diverse ideas and perspectives lead to understanding and mutual benefits across disciplines and across cultures?
  • How can creative and cultural production inspire social change and community building, both locally and interculturally?

The Go Global program, led by Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies English Instructor Joanna Cockerline, abounded with diverse experiential learning opportunities. Students visited villages, markets, and local schools as well as historic and culturally-significant sites.  Activities ranged from participation in locally-led environmental initiatives to hands-on learning at artisans’ workshops and roundtable discussions with prominent East African authors, filmmakers, artists, human rights leaders, and community activists. Students had opportunities to delve into academic projects alongside creative pursuits such as poetry, film, web design, photography, and multi-media art.

The Beyond Borders: Go Global Tanzania 2019 exhibit shares just a few of the experiences and pieces of work inspired by our journey.

Guest Speakers and Authors

Numerous guest speakers from East Africa shared their works and ideas with the students.

Ndungi Githuku, an internationally-recognized human rights activist, filmmaker, slam poet, reggae artist, and street theatre instigator, discussed grassroots strategies for what he deems “artivism”: the power of art to inspire social justice and change


Munira Hussein, a fiction writer and poet from northeastern Kenya, travelled to Tanzania to read from her works and share her perspectives on the increasing opportunities independent publishing can forge in contexts of governmental, economic, and gender oppression

Charles Chanchori
, novelist and journalist, discussed his work plus insights on alternative publishing channels and the use of social media to increase accessibility to literature



Faith Mutheu, recently named the Most Influential Young Person in Kenya, shared her perspectives as founder of a mentorship program for disadvantaged youth, and as the author of a book based on overcoming challenges of her past



Rukia Kurwa, an Arusha-based artist, TED talk speaker, and founder of the artists’ collective The Annoyin’ Artist, further emphasized the power of cultural productions to inspire social change, understanding, and connectivity across borders


Whether exploring contemporary East African writing, film or art, discussing these works with their authors and producers, or immersing themselves in the rhythms of daily life in Tanzania, students who participated in the program all agree that the questions they asked of themselves are not uncomplicated ones – and are ones that will continue to impact them far beyond the program.

Re-covering and Remembering – Steven Thomas Davies MFA Thesis Exhibition

Re-covering and Remembering is a collaborative documentary film that weaves Indigenous stories of cultural and political resurgence on Vancouver Island. While reflecting on and sharing stories about family, my mentors and I collaborated to produce a film with a powerful counter-narrative to assert Indigenous sovereignty and connection to place.

I make films and media art that centers around spiritual, cultural, and political themes to reconnect with Indigenous histories and epistemologies to educate myself and others. I feel a huge responsibility to the cultural leaders who have mentored and supported my growth, and the individuals whose voices and actions are shared in my work. My thesis research centers Indigenous perspectives to ask in what capacity can collaborative storytelling and film creation assist Indigenous resurgence efforts, while offering new avenues for restitution and healing. This work follows an Indigenous paradigm of relationality and decolonization that privileges Indigenous methodologies and is informed by the work of Indigenous scholars such as Linda Tuhiwai Smith, Shawn Wilson, Jeff Kanohalidoh Corntassel, and Audra Simpson.

Documentary HD Video, 5 channel surround sound

7 minutes 22 seconds

Sequestered Elements MFA Thesis Show by Joe Fowler

Sequestered Elements
Joe Fowler

This exhibition explores cultural objects from my home, the island of Newfoundland. Growing up and living there for most of my life has shaped my artistic output in ways I continue to discover, not just in terms of subject matter but also in how I actually go about making my art. Newfoundland is an island inhabited by a mixture of cultures faced with many challenges that dictate how and what they make; building shelters, technologies, vehicles, and other objects in accordance to restrictions and allowances of the rugged land, harsh weather, and scarce resources.

Lobster traps, fishing nets, small houses, anchors, boats, warm clothes, rubber boots, these are some of human made objects that dominate Newfoundland’s visual imagery. In my sculptural work I recreate and reflect on these objects in an attempt to explain them; Why are they here? What do they tell us? I have chosen, fishing nets, lobster traps, anchors, and ugly sticks as a point of departure in this exploration. These objects have many functions, they are practical, often serving a function related to basic survival. They also function as displays and decorations denoting a region, a people, and a culture. It is very normal to see these objects proudly displayed in front yards, in people’s homes or sheds, or in gift shop and restaurants. I believe that Newfoundland has unique culture of creativity which is present in these objects. I hope that by creating artwork that speaks to the material culture of Newfoundland I can shed some light on this unique relationship between people and objects in a place that inspires me.