All posts by FCCS Blogger

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.


Focus – A Photography Exhibit

FINA Gallery Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies
The University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus March 9 – 15, 2019

Arianne Tubman


These images are a part of an ongoing project addressing gun culture in Canada. Though my work I am trying to showcase the realities of being a gun owner in Canada, as well as address negative stereotypes surrounding firearms that are perpetuated through mass media. My goal is to encourage people on both sides of the gun debate to look into the laws surrounding gun ownership in Canada and incite discussion from an informed position.


Jade Zitko


With this work I really wanted to capture the ability that black and white photography has to blend the unreal and real together. To create something that is hard to believe and imitate something absolutely tragic. Such as a mysterious death in the Okanagan in the middle of January. The illusion was created with the use of props and careful placement of the objects.


Tiffany Douglas

Domestic Textures

Both of these photos are from a series exploring textures that bring me joy around my home. They focus specifically on textures that are viewed from an intimate closeness to show their importance to my life. I felt comfort in these objects as many of them are used to bring brightness into my day and lighten my mood. With this I also wanted to emphasize self care and how sweet, little things, such as wicker basket, can evoke such a strong feeling of contentment and joy. I find it important to surround yourself with people, experiences, and things that fill you up to maintain a healthy state of mind.

The use of film with these photos is important because while the objects are interesting to look at, the actual tactility of them is equally as important. When using an SLR camera I find I experience the same sensations with the click of the button, the sound of the shutter, and the reeling of the film to the next film. This experience is just another moment of joy I find in my day.


Miah Shull Olmsted

“Nobility” and “Elegance”

I have always been drawn to the opposing dichotomies of simplicity and chaos. Photography is a medium which allows exploratory navigation between the two. In the stillness of early winter months with short days and long nights, I wanted to examine conceptual notions of “timeless” in black and white. So, using the department’s Yashica medium format twin lens camera, I chose to examine what classic portraiture currently feels like to me. I connect to vitality around me as a woman yet am slightly detached as photographer observing through time-worn glass. Like the old camera itself, sitting and waiting in the dark of a winter afternoon, I am a tool capable of sharing what I see in the light places of life. Beauty: As revealed though the elegance of a young woman, straightforward, simultaneously complex. Loyalty: simple on the surface, yet depths of elegant nobility in the love an old dog shares freely with us.

L’chaim! 2019

Ling Yin (Kelly) Lu


As a human, we retrieve our memories through different mediums such as sense and memory focusing primarily on texture. The purpose of this work is to discover the correlation between memory and texture, and I focus on searching textures that makes me think about my family. CHUN-YU, with ERROR, represents the textures I found that reminds me of my father. CHUN-YU,With ERROR, being a piece shown on cardboard using 35mm film helps to encompass the compassion between distance of being away from one’s father. The error represents the disconnect between young life and life as the present. One’s distancing between family and self is shown in the following work to help provide a descriptive aspect to the work.

David McIlvride

Over the Hill Gang

My photographic work for this assignment channeled American fashion and portrait photographer, Richard Avedon. An obituary published in The New York Times said that Avedon’s portrait photographs helped define America’s image of style, beauty and culture for the last half century.” 1 His portraits are distinguished by their minimalist style, where the person is looking squarely at the camera, posed in front of a sheer white background. Using Avedon’s style as a jumping off point, I posed members of an over-65 hockey team against a white background, using minimal flash lighting.

I wanted to focus on these elder athletes, men who still loved to play ‘Canada’s game’ and met weekly to, in some ways, keep their passion for the game alive while holding on to the memories of their younger playing days. The lines on their face run deep from the years they’ve lived, but the joy they feel from being able to still put on the hockey armor and hit the ice, is evident in their smile – even though I gave them direction to “let’s see your game face.”


Shibo Liu


This is a selfie of myself being choked by a wet napkin. People constantly encounter challenges and struggles through life, which can generate the dark side of people’s mind. The emphasis of the wet napkin’s texture represents the sophistication that one needs to face in life. This picture is shot by 35mm black and white film and the purpose of using a film camera is because it shows more detail compared to a digital camera.

Jayme Miller


Throughout my life I’ve been intrigued by sites that appear to blend into the normalness of everyday life. Things that have always existed seem to become invisible in the public sphere. My work draws attention to these everyday scenes to suggest the aesthetic beauty of them, which is often overlooked. Using a 35mm camera and black and white film, I am able to precisely create the frame within which the scene will be viewed, and furthermore, to produce a physical artifact—the negative—which highlights my intentional emphasis on the scene itself. These two images were taken in November 2018 as part of a project on the town of Ashcroft, BC.


Chantel Snyder


Dillon Eichhorst

The Watchers in the Woods

The Watchers in the woods is part of a much longer body of work about staging paranormal and cryptid sightings. My first series was Ogopogo Hunting and my second was UFO Sightings. The Watchers in the Woods follows a mysterious group of cloaked individuals in the woods in the dead of winter. It is meant to strike interest and imagination with the viewer. This was shot on 35mm black and white film (400 ISO) scanned, cleaned up digitally, and printed. I am influenced by the paranormal and conspiratory communities, as well as recently the work of Christopher Mckenny, a surrealist horror photographer.


Vanessa Mercedes Figueroa

98% & Vitamin C for Careless

A majority of my work touches on femininity, empowerment, sexuality and the male gaze, this piece in particular focuses on sex and its stigmas for women. The two images shown are from the series Unplanned Parenthood, a photo series touching on reproductive rights and the stigma associated with women and sex. This series was shot on 35 mm film, and are darkroom prints which were manipulated through the use to stencils to burn text which did not previously exist into the images. The image of the condom is titled 98% because of the effectiveness rate of a condom alone in preventing unwanted pregnancy, using stencils this text heavy subject was manipulated to include the text “supposedly prevents pregnancy”. The image of the birth control blister pack has the text “vitamin c for careless” burned into the image in the darkroom process, commenting on the stigma associated with the pill and the implication that being on it meant that a woman was planning on having sex, which remains a taboo subject.


AJ Salter


If I were to give this piece a medium, it is a mounted digital print of an enlarged collage or spliced negative darkroom print. This is not obvious by looking at it, and the average gallery-goer would not be able to see the extensive process and many steps to get here. I want people to know though because the photo itself is unassuming and is not specifically of anything. Even once you look at the photo past a quick glance you can see that the photo is actually showing multiple perspectives which play with how the viewer imagines the photo as one scene. This photo is required to be looked at more than once and the collage aspect of the print is subtle while also being the main aspect of the image.


Shelby Condon