Aboriginal Immersion by Robert Burke

Robert Burke The Nanaimo Art Gallery, Vancouver Island University campus location, 900 Fifth Street, Building 330, is presenting the exhibitions Aboriginal Immersion and Structural Connections from November 21 to December 24, 2008. In the Aboriginal Immersion exhibition, Robert Burke's brilliant coloured iconographic works come from his unique cultural background. His work is shaped by his struggle to find an identity within a mix of First Nations and Black cultures. The bright imagery and fascinating cultural background make this work very appealing to a general audience. The colourful works are compressed with figures closely packed, many consisting of half animal and half man. Burke's art is compelling as it expresses experiences, not always positive, by evolving them into a positive creation. Burke explains his motivation thus:
"We have so many ideas that hit us at once that the idea of just putting one painting there with one image and one background representing one thing doesn't really appeal to me because there are so many other things involved in that situation. I try to emphasize the chaotic quality of life in this work. My ancestry on my mother's side is Chippewa and as a result of that, they are People of the Buffalo. Wood Buffalo National Park was territory taken from them and ceded to the buffalo by the government. That's basically my recognition of my ancestry through these buffalo people in the paintings that I put with horns."

In the Structural Connections exhibition, the Vancouver Island University Visual Arts students from class 384 demonstrate their abilities working with three dimensional installations. Structural Connections offers a great deal of variety and exhibits the sculptural skills and ideas that today's art students are exploring. The opening night for both exhibitions is Friday, November 21, 2008, from 7 to 9 pm, catered by Masters Touch Catering. Call 250-740-6350 for more information.

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