Life Stories

Life Stories

Life Stories brings to light a provocative array of visual and material culture from the University of Victoria Art Collections that engages with life stages and related rituals. The exhibition runs December 2, 2020 - April 3, 2021 at the Legacy Art Gallery Downtown.

All that we are is story. From the moment we are born to the time we continue on our spirit journey, we are involved in the creation of the story of our time here. It is what we arrive with. It is all we leave behind. We are not the things we accumulate. We are not the things we deem important. We are story. All of us. What comes to matter then is the creation of the best possible story we can while we’re here; you, me, us, together. When we can do that and we take the time to share those stories with each other, we get bigger inside, we see each other, we recognize our kinship – we change the world, one story at a time…

– Richard Wagamese

Art shapes our life stories, our sense of self and our relationships, as we journey through the life stages: Beginnings, Childhood, Coming of Age, Maturity, Later Life, and Passages. Life-stages imagery and objects may inspire memories and reflection, offer comfort, joy, and healing, and foster a sense of belonging. However, such imagery can also be a source of cultural stereotypes, engender marginalization, cause pain, and create feelings of loss.

Paintings, drawings, photographs, textiles, ceramics, and furnishings from the university collections evoke the plurality of experiences across the life course. Artist Elly Heise’s installation “The Bed Room” highlights the intertwining of memory, materiality, and life passages. Interwoven with the artworks are voices of writers, artists, scholars, and curators offering diverse perspectives on significant stages informing our lives. We invite you to add your own life stories to the conversation. “All that we are is story.”

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360 degree view

Life Stories Exhibition