Emily Carr was an acclaimed artist who has garnered international attention for her post impressionist style that was inspired from the local surroundings of her home in the Pacific Northwest. The Season of Emily is a celebration of her life and works as well as a recognition to the impact she has had on culture in Victoria.
Emily Carr has risen to be one of Canada's iconic female artists, yet there has not been a true celebration or recognition of who she was beyond her art and how she became the woman that changed how the world saw Vancouver Island.
This year, several organizations have come together to shed some light on Carr's origins, her private activities and her way of life.
For me, one of the first stops as a tourist is always to a museum. The Royal British Columbia Museum (RBCM) has an outstanding exhibit currently open that showcases the more personal side of Emily Carr's life. This exhibit invites us to explore a previously unknown side of Emily Carr. Not just the artist behind the paintings, but the real Emily Carr: the woman, the daughter and the sister. With a showcase of items including unpublished paintings, sketches, personal letters, journal entries and other writings, the RBCM's display whisks visitors away to the early twentieth century with costumes and artifacts.
Another must see within the Season of Emily events is the very house Emily grew up in. Now protected as both a provincial and national heritage site, Emily Carr House is a standing tribute to the arts, writings and life of the iconic titular person. Take part in guided tours of the grounds, as well as the special first season launch of the "Our Emily" guided tour. Our Emily journeys to historic locations of Victoria beginning with the Emily Carr statue outside The Fairmont Empress.
With a solid footing of where she has come from and who she was, visit the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (AGGV) to check out the premiere destination for examining Emily Carr's work. The current exhibit at the AGGV is called "Emily Carr: On the Edge of Nowhere". It has a wide and varied collection of pieces across all her used media and styles. The On the Edge of Nowhere exhibit also explores a historical survey of Carr's career works and delves deeper into the significance of each piece to examine the wide variation of inspirations of which Carr drew from over her years as an artist.
For those of you thinking about soaking up some sun (now that it has finally arrived!), a great Emily Carr experience outdoors is the Heritage Garden Tour. This Emily Carr garden tour takes you out and about in the sunshine to explore the art of Emily Carr, as well as the historic community and landscapes that surrounded and inspired many of her creations in her time in Victoria. Many of the places visited on this tour are not regularly open to the public.
If you are the type of person that plans things in advance, fear not, you have not been forgotten. The Season of Emily runs the length of summer and the Victoria Symphony wraps things up in spectacular fashion with two full concerts dedicated to Emily Carr. The Victoria Symphony will present two concerts on October 11 and 15 that explore Emily Carr’s painting, poetry and connection to the people of the First Nations. These concerts will include the world premiere performances of several new works by Canadian composers and feature video presentations of Emily Carr’s artwork.
Although Emily described herself as "an isolated little old woman on the edge of nowhere" her expressive work has created a long standing appeal over distance and time that is both universal and captivating for everyone from collectors to first time visitors. Join Victoria in celebrating the life and works of Canada's most recognized female artist and make sure to stop by some of the events listed above, they are not only educational and inspiring, but they are lots of fun too!
Tourism Victoria has pulled together a page celebrating the Season of Emily. You can see a full list of Emily inspired experiences here: www.tourismvictoria.com/SeasonOfEmily.
What part of Emily's life inspires you the most?