Collage Caravan: Art on the Move this Fall

Front view of the Collage Caravan. Photo courtesy of Rachel Henry.

In conjunction with this extended exploration of the medium of collage, the CRAG team is embarking on a travelling community collage project known as the Collage Caravan. Local artist Rachel Henry has converted a 1975 Winnebago van into a mobile art gallery complete with a blonde wood interior and overhead track lighting, not unlike the Crummy Gallery by the Bomfords which is currently residing in Spirit Square as part of the CRAG’s main gallery exhibition this fall. It is built to house collage artwork from the community of Campbell River and will travel to the North Island communities of Gold River, Tahsis, Sayward, Port Hardy and Port McNeill over the course of October to display the art inside. All of the schools that we visit in will also contribute collage art pieces to the gallery. 

Jan Brueghel the Elder and  
Hieronymous Francken II, The Archdukes Albert and Isabella Visiting a Collector’s Cabinet. Circa 1621-1623, oil on panel. Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland.

A mobile art gallery might sound like an outlandish idea, but art galleries have not always looked like the ubiquitous “white cube.” In fact, this model was only popularized in the 20th century with the rise of modernism which assumed that white walls devoid of any context would allow art to speak for itself. Aristocratic early modern households displayed their art collections of all eras and mediums clustered together to demonstrate their wealth and good taste. A postmodernist approach to art and display takes social context in to consideration. Our mobile gallery will be able to change its physical location and engage directly with the diversity of community contexts that we inhabit on Vancouver Island. We hope that this ongoing collaborative project enriches arts education and appreciation and makes these accessible to everyone.

We want to celebrate the endless possibilities of collage and share the joy of art making with this accessible medium. Anyone is able to get immediate results (just cut, place and glue) with no formal art training needed, just lots of creativity and imagination. All you need to get started are scissors, glue and images! The ability to rearrange and change your mind without committing to a final image by physically moving pieces around gives collage a sense of flexibility that avoids the frustration of mixing a paint colour you don’t like or taking a photo with your thumb over the lens. 

The caravan with a fresh coat of paint. Photo courtesy of Rachel Henry.

The first Caravan stops are happening this week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday right here in Campbell River. We will be visiting schools around town so keep your eyes peeled on the streets and our social media platforms for sightings and updates as it tours the island. Be sure to use #CollageCaravan to get involved on social media!

If you want to get involved with collage and public art at the CRAG this fall, be sure to check out our updated Programming Guide for all the info. Our current collage exhibition, VOICES AFAR // Diversity-based practices in collage, is on in the Satellite Gallery until November 20th and our new Main Gallery exhibition, Rest Stop and Crummy Gallery by Cedric, Jim and Nathan Bomford, is on view until November 18th.