Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Robert Bateman Centre

Wildlife painter Robert Bateman is one of Canada's best known living artists. He and his wife Birgit make their home on Salt Spring Island which is due north of Sidney.

The Robert Bateman Centre is located upstairs in the historic Canadian Pacific Railroad Steamship Terminal building in Victoria's Inner Harbour (seen in photo above to the right of the flags).

I show my Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea membership card and get the $10 admission reduced to $8. Bateman narrates an eye-opening film about his career and philosophy of life at the start of the gallery. Significant works from various phases of his eight decades as a naturalist and artist make up the permanent exhibits. The "Birdsong Gallery" is particularly delightful. With a wave of your hand over the sensor on the wall you can activate recordings of bird calls that match the paintings.

The temporary exhibit entitled "Eyes of Society: Art, Traditional Knowledge and the Watchmen of Haida Gwaii" is equally captivating. Ten Haida and non-indigenous artists explore the meaning of place with respect to Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) in prints, paintings and sculpture. Seen here are works by Guyana born, Toronto-based artist Andrew Cheddie Sookrah.

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