But I want to do more than just show you the artwork I photographed. I want to tell you about the woman behind the university, Emily Carr.
Carr was born in Victoria, the second youngest of six children. Her parents Richard and Emily Saunders Carr were English born and settled in Victoria due largely to the city's British influence. Here Richard Carr felt he would be able to raise his children in a decidedly English manner with all the customs the elder Carrs were used to. It was also possible for the senior Carrs to hold onto their British passports this way.
The family was quite religious and attended a Presbyterian church. The children were expected to be able to recite the sermon which is something Emily had difficulty with.
The Carrs lived in a home that was in lavish English fashion with high ceilings, ornate mouldings and a parlour room. It was located on Birdcage Walk in the James Bay district of Victoria not far from the 'birdcages' or legislative buildings. (Birdcage Walk is now Government Street)
Emily's talents were supported and encouraged by her parents but it wasn't until after their death that Emily began to take her art seriously. She enrolled in the San Francisco Art School - the nearest proper art school - from 1890 to 1892. After her sojourn there she returned to her hometown of Victoria.
It was at the Ladies' Art Club that Emily Carr tried her hand at teaching the craft she loved. But that didn't work out so well and Carr only lasted a month since students started boycotting her classes. She was rude and smoked in class and cursed her students. We can't all teach. Some are better at doing.
In 1910 Carr returned to Europe to advance her study of the ever changing trends in art. It was in Montparnasse with her sister Alice that Emily met the person who would influence her style of art. Henry Gibb, a modernist painter, both shocked and intrigued the sisters with his use of vibrant color and distortion.
It was in 1912 that Carr painted her iconic work Big Raven, a painting of a carved raven. This painting and another entitled Tanoo were inspired by a trip she took that summer to the Queen Charlotte Islands and Skeena River.
Although there was some positive reaction to Carr's work her perception of the reaction was that it wasn't positive. She returned to Victoria and spent the next fifteen years doing little painting and running a boarding house called 'House of All Sorts'. She also wrote a book about her experiences at that time under the same name.
I hope you find the beauty around you.
Karen Magill, Emily Carr, Vancouver, DVBIA, Wrap Program, art, Queen Charlotte Islands, Victoria