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Updated: Feb 11

2024 Open, Adjudicated Art Exhibition celebrating visual art and "Kootenay Creatures" | February 1 - 25, 2024

The Art of Celebrating The Kootenays

The people living in and those visiting The Kootenays know there is much to celebrate about this little slice of paradise called the West and East Kootenay: the traditional homelands and unceded territory of the Ktunaxa, the Kinbasket (Secwepemc), Syilx, and Sinixt Peoples. Art Gallery Kimberley owner and operator Irma de Visser is organising an artistic celebration of our region by inviting all (aspiring) artists from The Kootenays and beyond to enter up to three artworks for a chance to win the Kootenay Art Prize. The theme for the 2024 adjudicated art exhibition is “Kootenay Creatures”.

As Kimberley | k̓ukamaʔnam is within Ktunaxa ?amak?is, the traditional homelands of the Ktunaxa Nation, Irma encourages all curious souls to read about and/or listen to the captivating Creation Story of the Ktunaxa Nation in the hope that this will be a source of inspiration.

The idea for an open art exhibition emerged from the desire to give more artists a chance to display their artworks at the gallery. The gallery space is limited, and even though the (solo) art exhibition space in the gallery gives other artists the opportunity to showcase a body of work for a limited time, this space got fully booked early on in the first year of the gallery’s existence. Since winter is a slower time for the gallery, Irma decided to organise an art exhibition in the (solo) art exhibition space that is open to everyone. This creates another chance for artists to show and sell their artworks in this high traffic part of Kimberley, BC, as well as a great opportunity to connect with art collectors and peers.

Along with the awesome experience of being part of this celebration of fine art and The Kootenays, entering artworks into this exhibition has other benefits for artists. A guaranteed spot for their artwork(s) in the online gallery and in the webshop for a month; exposure; a chance at winning prizes; and adding value to their CV to name a few.

Since Irma has helped organise many open art exhibitions during her seven years working as the administrative assistant at Centre 64 Gallery, the organisation of this kind of show is easy and fun. The only challenge is to fit as many artworks as possible into the exhibition space without losing the space needed for the artworks to “breath” and show properly. Connecting the artists with each other and meeting new artists is a part of the exhibition that brings Irma the most joy.

The open exhibition will be available in the gallery and online on the gallery website from February 1st through February 25th, 2024. Everyone is welcome to attend the exhibition opening reception on Friday, February 9th between 7 and 9 pm.

Award process

One of the cons of juried exhibitions is the fact that adjudicators’ choices are subjective. Jurors have limitations: they don’t know the background and intention of the artists, and it is hard to compare artworks that are sometimes vastly different. The chosen artworks are always a reflection of the adjudicators. For the artists, entering a juried exhibition can be an emotional rollercoaster.

In order to make the selection process more rewarding and positive for everyone involved, the following idea of broader encouragement was created. The adjudicators will look at the selected 25 artworks in the gallery and choose 10 artworks to appear on a shortlist. Finally, a random draw will determine which of the shortlisted artworks will receive the Kootenay Art Prize. Furthermore, all artworks that didn't make the shortlist will have a chance to win the Inspiration Award which will also be chosen by draw.


Asha Robertson

"There are many things that propel me forward in the creative realm. A ceaseless desire to learn more being for most. I have a very interdisciplinary approach to my work. This drives me in finding and exploring the potential and limits of materials. Ceramics, metal smithing, painting, drawing, tattooing are just a few subjects that occupy my practice. Creating singular objects that are responses to all the beautiful nature that surrounds us seems to be the main thing keeps me working."

"I grew up on the road mostly shifting between East and West Coast of Canada. This is a big part of my origin story. My Father a sculptor and Mother a painter introduced art as an integral part of life. I had the privilege of starting officially at the age of 16 with an apprenticeship under sculptor Kathy Venter which continued into my collage years. Graduating with a BFA in sculpture from Alberta College of Art and Design in 2003. Some fun endeavours worth mentioning in the following years are a residency at Medalta in Medicine Hat; being part of starting studio cooperative in beautiful Kimberley, BC; raising my two small children which changed my practice more then anything to date; opening Little big Studio and gallery in 2020 where I continue to make and sell my wears and host a wonderful group of artists and makers from our area; and most recently, I've had the wonderful opportunity to enter into another apprenticeship as a tattooist with coal feather tattoo, which has continues to evolve and expand my creative practice in fun new ways."

Neal Panton

“Photography for me is the purest and most personal way I can share what I feel about life,” says Neal. “I try to create photos that are not passive but more reflective. In this reflection viewers can discover their own unique meaning and deeper connection to my photographs. I make images intended to quiet the restless mind like the snow crunching underfoot in the dead of a winter night. My photography inhabits a wordless world where every detail and texture resonates.”

Neal has been photographing since 1984, exhibiting since 1992, and is primarily self-taught. He has won or been nominated for over a dozen awards, some in the Columbia Basin region, others from Europe and the USA. He has worked as a photojournalist for Reuters, taught photography and visual literacy, been published in over 25 countries, had 18 solo exhibits and 58 group exhibits in Canada, Europe, the United States, and South America, and self-published eight books showcasing his images.

Irma de Visser

"I've consistently expressed my creative voice in various ways throughout my life, yet it was my move from The Netherlands to Canada in 2013 that immersed me in the world of fine art."

"Shortly after settling in Kimberley, BC, I took on the role of administrative assistant at Kimberley Arts at Centre 64, our town's vibrant arts and cultural hub. It was within these walls that I discovered a passion for the arts, particularly in supporting artists and inspiring and growing the local art community. Over the years, this passion has flourished, pushing me to establish Art Gallery Kimberley in the heart of Kimberley's Platzl when the opportunity arose in 2021."

"More recently, I was introduced to the wonderful world of ceramics and played a role in the inception of the Kimberley Clay Collective. I am excited to see where this road will take me."

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