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Current Exhibitions

THERE ONCE WAS A GIRL NAMED HESTER, AND OTHER DAMAGED KIDS

AMITAI BEN DAVID 

 

AUGUST 20 TO OCTOBER 29, 2022 | GALLERY B

Opening Friday, August 19 | 7-9 pm

In There once was a girl named Hester and other damaged kids the Dutch/Israeli Artist, Amitai Ben David, follows the odyssey of a small doll lost in the ‘real’ world. In this series, Amitai recreates images from a black & white Israeli children’s picture book from the 1960s, ‘Ziva the doll,’ and uses the book’s innocent imagery in order to tell his own tale. Amitai is the son of a Jewish Dutch mother, Hester Trompetter, who was orphaned at one year of age and survived the war years in hiding. Her traumatic upbringing very much formed her identity and later became part of Amitai’s own personal identity. Becoming a father himself, and following his kids’ coming to age, awoke in him the need to explore matters of vulnerability, dependency, courage and belonging. Amitai creates settings where the individual is surrounded by both the beautiful and the toxic, where brushstrokes build images and deconstruct them simultaneously. His ‘damaged’ and scarred protagonists are balancing themselves in a disintegrating landscape, stumbling and rising. Amitai depicts a world where horror and beauty are entangled, where nature blossoms and burns away in fantastic shapes and colours.

BACK ON TRACK

CURATED BY JEAN-PHILIPPE STIENNE 

 

SEPTEMBER 16, 2022 TO FEBRUARY 4, 2023 | GALLERY A

 From the copper mines of the Boundary District through to the coalfields of the Crowsnest, railways shaped the development of social, political, and economic life in the Kootenays. As the various and competing rail lines created a vast transportation network that connected east to west, it also brought calamity – cutting through Indigenous territories, causing environmental distress, and exploiting First Nations people and Chinese immigrants in work camps.  

Back on Track, the latest history exhibition at the Nelson Museum, explores both the vast opportunities and the detrimental practices that accompanied the expansion of the railways in the west. The exhibition, which opens on Monday, September 19, features artifacts, photographs, maps, and other documents from museums, archives, and individuals around the region and beyond. A highlight of the exhibition is a working model train from the 1950s, which spans a 9ft x 5ft table.  

“Railways have been a large part of the Kootenay story from the late 1800s onwards, involving sternwheeler fleets, tourist hotels, passenger services, and rival railway barons. The founding and location of so many of the towns and cities was largely due to the building of railways,” says Jean-Philippe Stienne, Nelson Museum Archivist and  Collections Manager, who curated Back on Track. “However, there is another, less appealing side to the story, that we must never overlook: the huge land grants given to railway companies, the disregard for Indigenous land rights, the environmental destruction and pollution, the exploitation and dangerous labour conditions suffered by many of the railway labourers, and more. Back on Track captures a sense of the many sides of this fascinating and complex history, whose legacy touches our lives every day.”  

The exhibition coincides with the first ever joint Canadian Pacific Historical Association and Great Northern Railway Historical Society Convention, being held in Nelson from September 17-21, when over 200 train and railway history enthusiasts will visit the region.  

Back on Track provides the Nelson Museum with another important opportunity to share the complexities of history through multiple lenses in order to encourage respectful critical dialogue, decolonization, and an expansion of the way in which we look to the past to inform our future,” adds Nelson Museum Executive Director Astrid Heyerdahl.  

The material covered in Back on Track offers a wonderful opportunity for educators to explore the many historical layers and challenges of this important topic and is suitable for subjects from social studies to history to environmental science and more. School tours are available throughout the week and can be booked through the Museum’s website.