Noted artist donates paintings

February 20, 2008

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By Scott Byers

SFU will soon be home to paintings by Noel Hodnett from his series Memory, History, and Loss following a generous gift from the noted Vancouver artist. The paintings address the experiences of people living under authoritarian rule and their impact on individual and collective memory.

“Apart from their great artistic importance, they connect to a strategic interest of the university in international and political studies, especially in the area of international justice and security,” says President Michael Stevenson. “These paintings will be a permanent stimulus to SFU’s tagline, ‘thinking of the world.’ ”
SFU Gallery curator Bill Jeffries says Hodnett’s work gives voice to the marginalized “other” and reminds westerners of their relative comfort and privilege.

“The social and political situation is much worse elsewhere, and one aspect of Noel’s effort in his art is to give a voice to those situations, a voice that is completely different from that conveyed by the mass news media,” notes Jeffries.

Hodnett hopes his paintings will remind SFU students and academics to always be vigilant in guarding against abuses of power. “Art has the ability to remind us that man is capable of terrible acts of violence against his fellow man,” he says.

“And as history, unfortunately, continues to show us, we are capable of repeating this violence and abuse of power if left unchecked and unaccountable. I hope that those who take the time to look at these paintings will reflect on history and our democratic and collective role in monitoring the actions of those in positions of power.”

Originally from Zimbabwe, Hodnett moved to South Africa at age six. For many years he was a faculty member in fine arts at Rhodes University, South Africa. He moved to Vancouver in 1997.

Hodnett’s work will be in the SFU Teck Gallery, Vancouver campus, 515 W. Hastings St., until March 1. Gallery information: 778.782.4266.
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