University of Victoria Legacy Art Galleries



Ellen Neel

The First Woman Totem Pole Carver

January 14 to April 1, 2017

Legacy Art Gallery Downtown
630 Yates Street

Curated by the Williams Legacy Chair Dr. Carolyn Butler Palmer with advising curators David A. Neel and Lou-ann Neel

This exhibition celebrates the career of Kwagiulth (Kwakwaka'wakw) carver Ellen Neel (1916-1966), the first woman carver of monumental totem poles. Further, it acknowledges Neel’s influential role as a professional artist and her contribution towards the recognition of what Neel called “Indian Art”. “Our art continues to live, for not only is it part and parcel of us, but can be a powerful factor in combining the best part of Indian culture with the fabric of a truly Canadian art form.” – Ellen Neel

Image credit: Kakasolas (Ellen Neel), carved and painted cedar mask by David A. Neel (photograph by Katie Hughes. On loan from Camosun College, Department of Visual Arts.

The Mystery of Grafton Tyler Brown

Race, Art, and Landscape in 19th Century British Columbia

January 21 to April 1, 2017

Legacy Art Gallery Downtown - Inner Gallery | 630 Yates Street

Guest curated by Dr. John Lutz (History, UVic) with Emerald Johnstone Bedell and Caroline Riedel.

We know Grafton Tyler Brown (1841-1918) was one of the first professional landscape artists to work in the Pacific Northwest. His few regional paintings that survive offer vivid windows into the world of 1880s Victoria and British Columbia. Yet, how did this African American artist succeed at a time when racial prejudice prevented most Blacks from entering any skilled profession?

Image credit: Portrait of Artist Grafton Tyler Brown, Image A-08775 courtesy of the Royal BC Museum and Archives



Learning Through Looking

Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Art History and Visual Studies at UVic

February 4 to April 13, 2017

Legacy Maltwood (at the Mearns Centre – McPherson Library)

Curated by faculty members with graduate students Jaiya Anka and Atri Hatef

Using diverse historical and contemporary cultural objects, members of the Department of Art History & Visual Studies show how history, learning, and community interweave to support the mission to teach inter-cultural understanding through the study of world arts.

Image credit: Design by Cliff Haman

Natural | Supernatural

Natural | Supernatural

Nuu-chah-nulth Serigraph Prints from the University of Victoria's Permanent Collection

Curated by Allison Grey Noble and Caroline Riedel

First Peoples House

For hours & location click here

This exhibition of serigraph prints by artists Patrick Amos, Joe David, Ron Hamilton (Chuuchkamalthnii), Tim Paul, Art Thompson (Tsa-Qwass-Upp), and Glen Webster visually articulates knowledges of histories and stories that are important to the people of the Nuu-chah-nulth nations. These prints are from the university's permanent collection and originate from the print making studio of Vincent Rickard, who worked with these artists in the 1980s and 1990s. Rickard and donors George and Christiane Smyth have given the university nearly 3,000 contemporary Northwest Coast prints, making UVic's collection the most comprehensive in Canada.

Image: Supernatural, Joe David (Nuu-chah-nulth)




Legacy Art Gallery Downtown
630 Yates Street

April 8 to September 16, 2017

Origin Stories

First Nations Prints and Carvings

Guest curated by Jackson McDermott (Dene/Cree) with Gillian Booth and Katie Hughes.

As Canada celebrates 150 years since Confederation, the Legacy Art Galleries respectfully acknowledges a much longer history by presenting First Nations narratives that move beyond limited settler versions of history. Through prints and carvings chosen by guest curator, Jackson McDermott (Dene/Cree) from the Fort Nelson First Nation, the exhibition explores centuries-old stories that continue to live in the people, communities, nations and lands of this place.

There’s Blood in the Rocks

Video Installation

‘Indigenous blood is in the very land itself.’ Marianne Nicolson

Organized by Gillian Booth and Katie Hughes.

Kwakwaka’wakw artist Marianne Nicolson uses pictographic imagery and song in a quiet but powerful video installation that tells the often silenced history of the 1862 small pox epidemic in Victoria which utterly devastated thousands of West Coast First Nations people. Nicolson acknowledges the loss of her ancestors while affirming continued Indigenous presence in the land and the strength, endurance and resurgence of First Nations peoples over time.

Image credit: There's Blood in the Rocks, Video Installation Still, Marianne Nicolson.


Survival by Design

Contemporary photographs by John Taylor & documents from the Pacific North West Architectural Archive, University of Victoria

Guest curated by Martin Segger


The Legacy of Early Modern architecture in Victoria

Survival by Design: The Legacy of Early Modern architecture in Victoria in the Urban Landscape

April 19 to July 8, 2017

Legacy Art Gallery Downtown Inner Gallery | 630 Yates Street

Survival by Design: The Legacy of Early Modern architecture in Victoria: the UVic Gordon Head Campus

May 6 to Oct 8, 2017

Legacy Maltwood (at the Mearns Centre – McPherson Library)

The two decades post-WWII saw some of the most intensive urban development Victoria has witnessed. The result, a flowering of design innovation by a small group of architectural, has created a built heritage which, still under appreciated, nevertheless still defines the look and feel of Victoria.

Initiatives such as Centennial Square and the UVic Gordon Head Campus, planned neighbourhoods to accommodate returning veterans, to commercial and residential high-rises, this "legacy"; building stock still defines the urban landscape, influences how we use it, and to a large part determines how we adapt and change it.

These two exhibits document this unique and creative architectural legacy, captured through the lens of architectural photographer, John Taylor.

As small group of local architectural practices, often working together, created a distinctive design approach to style and form, but working within the earlier 20th tradition of the European-influenced "International Style". As regional influences coalesced, what we know today as a "West Coast Style" emerged.

Form and detail uniquely expressed not only the purpose and function of these buildings, along with climate, geography and materials availability, but also demonstrated how building traditions of the region were subsumed in new construction technologies.

Taylors's images document adaption and change in the urban landscape as original designs have responded to the pressures architectural life cycles: changes in purpose, retrofits to meet modern life-safety and other codes, additions to accommodate growth. Archival evidence, drawing from plans, photographs and textual records, traces the original design intent of the builders. Some of the reasons and subsequent design approaches for both structural and cosmetic adjustments to built form and detail are also revealed.

This exhibition project is supported by a grant from the Canada Council of the Arts.

Image Credit: John Taylor, photo of British Columbia Electric Building 1954, Thompson Berwick and Pratt, Architect.




Feb. 22 | 5 - 6pm *limited seating

Legacy Art Gallery Downtown
630 Yates Street

Distinguished Women Scholar Lecture Series

TOPIC: “I Want to Call Their Names in Resistance”: Claiming Space for Indigenous Women in Canadian Art History.

Dr. Sherry Farrell Racette, Professor, artist & curator. Presented by the Department of Art History and Visual Studies.

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Curator's Talk with Guest Lecture

February 4 | 3 - 4:30pm *Light Refreshments Provided

Legacy Art Gallery Downtown
630 Yates Street

Kick-off Black History Month with an afternoon presentation about BC’s first Black professional artist with UVic History Department Chair John Lutz and writer, Robert J. Chandler.

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Panel Discussion

March 8 | 5 - 7pm

Rm. 025
Mearns Centre – McPherson Library

TOPIC: Why Art Matters in Dangerous Times

We live in a visual world where images define our lives. Yet, are we in danger of taking the visual for granted? This lively panel discussion argues that with xenophobia, ethnocentrism, and censorship on the rise, art has more to offer society than ever before in human history. The panel accompanies the exhibition "Learning Through Looking - Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Department of Art History & Visual Studies at the University of Victoria." Part of Ideafest.


March 10 | 7 - 9pm *Light Refreshments Provided

Legacy Art Gallery Downtown
630 Yates Street

TOPIC: Re-Imagining Race, Art, and Landscape

Three local artists, Charles Campbell, Kemi Craig and Ann-Bernice Thomas respond to the story of Grafton Tyler Brown, BC’s first Black professional artist. Part of Ideafest.

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Generously supported by the British Columbia Arts Council



Your collection.
Your art gallery.
Your resource.

The University of Victoria Legacy Art Galleries is a teaching and research centre committed to fostering critical dialogue and meaningful change in our communities.

Visit the galleries on campus and downtown and use the exhibitions and collection to enhance your teaching and research. Gallery staff are available for tours as well as object-based learning opportunities in the classroom.

Booking a Visit to the Legacy Downtown

Please let us know ahead of time to ensure there are no other group bookings. Depending on staff availability, we can offer a short introduction to any exhibition at the Legacy Downtown.

Contact - Gillian Booth, Academic & Community Programs Coordinator | 250.721.0831

WORKSHOPSelfPortraitTroyNadia Hunter

Open Eyes,
Open Minds

The University of Victoria Legacy Art Galleries is a teaching and research centre committed to fostering critical dialogue and meaningful change in our communities.

A Free Workshop for UVic Classes SPRING TERM | January – March 2017

Join Legacy Art Galleries Educator, Gillian Booth, for a dynamic and educational opportunity to strengthen your cultural competence.

In this two-hour workshop we will:

- Engage with art and visual imagery in an open-ended way

- Learn about ourselves, our biases and our blind spots

- Develop empathy

- Practice being curious in the face of ambiguity.

Participants will be invited to engage individually and communally in a variety of dynamic and thoughtful activities that explore how we can begin a process of decolonizing how we see. We will foster critical thinking and a deep understanding of visual imagery, people and the world around us. This cross-disciplinary resource is offered to any faculty or sessional instructor to book for their classes.

Workshop Details

One two-hour session

Maximum number of participants is 25

On Campus (at Mearns Centre - McPherson Library), Lower Level room 025.

BOOK EARLY – 8 sessions will be offered in Spring term 2017. Registration is dependent on availability of room 025.

Your collection. Your art gallery. Your resource.

Contact - Gillian Booth, Academic & Community Programs Coordinator | 250.721.0831

Image credit: Self Portrait - Troy and Nadia Hunters, Troy Hunter, 2008.

School Tours

Kwaht-Yaht is Born

Thank the Creator

Grade 4 First Nations School Tour

Important: Bookings are currently full, please email to be added to the waitlist.

In response to the celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary, University of Victoria Legacy Art Gallery’s exhibition Thank the Creator showcases prints and sculpture by mostly coastal peoples depicting alternative histories through First Nations origin stories. These long told stories of this land have been excluded from mainstream history but include important themes to consider and celebrate: the interconnectedness of all things; the relationship of family and clan to stories and to the land; and the importance of generosity and sharing.

This tour will meet the Grade Four social studies Prescribed Learning Outcomes. Students will come away with an understanding of varying world views, belief systems and histories connected to this place beyond the story of Canada. They will experience the nature of oral tradition as well as visual storytelling.

To view the Teachers Guide, click here


75 min guided tour and hands-on art project

April 12 to June 16, 2017
Bookings - Wednesdays 10AM | Thursdays 1PM | Fridays 10AM *** Exact times flexible with classroom needs
Location - Legacy Art Gallery Downtown 630 Yates Street

Optional - Book a same-day related tour with the Royal BC Museum (for a fee) Wednesdays and Fridays from 12:30pm-2pm.


All of our bookings are currently full.

Image credit: Art Thompson, Kwaht-Yaht is Born, 1989.


Perpetual Salish:

Coast Salish Art in the Classroom

Perpetual Salish: Coast Salish Art in the Classroom is an online resource for teachers, offering cross-curricular lesson plans to engage students and facilitate their understanding of Coast Salish culture and art.

This site is based on the exhibition Perpetual Salish: Contemporary Coast Salish Art from the Salish Weave Collection, curated by Coast Salish artist lessLIE, and originally presented at the University of Victoria's Legacy Art Gallery Downtown (August 15, 2014 - January 10, 2015). The Legacy presented tours of the exhibition for grade four classes to educate the students about Coast Salish art and culture. Coast Salish Art in the Classroom aims to bring this educational initiative to a broader audience.

Click here to visit the website Coast Salish Art in the Classroom

Image wHOle W(((h)))orl(((d))) - lessLIE, Serigraph on paper, 2014

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