Bill Reid, Bear Mother, Dogfish Woman, 1991 (detail). Plaster on marble pedestal. SFU Art Collection. Gift of Allan and Faigie Waisman, 2002.

Unpacking Art: Lunchtime Talks on Works in the SFU Art Collection

"I must ask you to join me in the disorder of crates that have been wrenched open…to join me among piles of volumes that are seeing daylight again…so that you may be ready to share with me a bit of the mood - it is certainly not an elegiac mood but, rather, one of anticipation."

- Walter Benjamin "Illuminations"

Are you curious to learn more about the SFU Art Collection? Are you wondering what's hidden in the storage vault or what's hanging on the walls in offices around campus?

An art gallery is not only responsible for the physical display and wellbeing of art objects, but also for the intellectual care for art's ideas and histories. Within this set of responsibilities lies the need to make space for innovative thinking where knowledge can be generated, tested and shared.

With this in mind, SFU Gallery is pleased to present a new monthly speaker series, Unpacking Art. Each talk will focus on a single work from the SFU Art Collection and will "unpack" this work out of storage and "unpack" its significance. This series encourages participation from audiences that are new to visual art and to the SFU Art Collection. The speakers are not artists, art historians or affiliated with art galleries, but are interested thinkers from the SFU community. The purpose of the talks is to unpack the artworks, literally and theoretically, with a renewed and varied point of view each month.

The invited speakers in this inaugural series invite dialogues that blur boundaries between disciplines, providing an opportunity that encourages multiple perspectives. An exploration of the collection will be the starting point for conversations that stem from the speakers' backgrounds in postcolonial studies and library science, among others. 

Participation in Unpacking Art is free and open to everyone. No advance preparation or registration is necessary. Bring your lunch.


Bryan Myles
Manager and Acting Director, The Bill Reid Centre
Thursday, January 19, 2016, 12:30pm
SFU Gallery, Burnaby

Bryan Myles is currently the Interim Director of the Bill Reid Centre for Northwest Coast Studies at SFU, where he is also working on an interdisciplinary PhD that explores the changing relationship between memory institutions and Indigenous peoples. His research interests include Indigenous cultural heritage in digital contexts, visual anthropology, postcolonial studies, and material culture. His doctoral research investigates the use of new and emerging media technologies to record, document, safeguard, and create access to Northwest Coast visual cultural heritage.

Adriana Contreras Correal 
Marketing and Communications Coordinator, SFU Health & Counselling Services
Wednesday, February 8, 2017, 12:30pm
SFU Gallery, Burnaby

Adriana Contreras Correal is a Colombian-Canadian visual artist and arts and culture advocate. She moved to Vancouver from Bogotá Colombia in 1998 and completed a BFA at the SFU School for the Contemporary Arts in 2006. Her inter-disciplinary practice and research interests focus on the Latin American diaspora in North America and the politics of identity and representation. She's held positions at SFU Gallery, New Performance Works Society and is now the Marketing and Communications Coordinator at SFU Health and Counseling Services.

William G. Lindsay
Director, Office for Aboriginal Peoples
Wednesday, February 8, 2017, 12:30pm
SFU Gallery, Burnaby

William Lindsay is currently a doctoral candidate in the Faculty of Education at Simon Fraser University researching the Indigenization of universities. William has worked for many years as an Indigenous teacher, professor, student services provider, and senior administrator, at numerous Lower Mainland colleges and universities, including the Native Education College, the Institute for Indigenous Government (now the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology, Burnaby campus), Douglas College, the University of British Columbia, and Simon Fraser University. William currently serves as the Director of the Office for Aboriginal Peoples at SFU. He is also a published writer, with a TESOL textbook, newspaper essays, and numerous academic papers and book reviews.

Sylvia Roberts
Librarian for Communication and Contemporary Arts
Wednesday, February 8, 2017, 12:30pm
SFU Gallery, Burnaby

Sylvia Roberts has been a librarian at SFU since 1997, currently serving as the subject specialist for the Schools of Communication and Contemporary Arts. Working with researchers in many disciplines has provided her with a broad perspective on how information is created, disseminated, discovered, interpreted and used in academia and by society at large. Sylvia endeavors to use this knowledge for good instead of evil, helping navigate the world of facts and alternative facts. To quote Linton Weeks of the Washington Post, "In the nonstop tsunami of global information, librarians provide us with floaties and teach us how to swim." Roberts' current research interests involve visual literacy and representation of cultural institutions in archives. This talk will focus on the question of how art can be experienced at distances of time and space.

Ivana Filipovich
Director of Operations and Service Excellence, Communications and Marketing
Wednesday, May 10, 2017, 12:30PM
SFU Gallery, Burnaby

Ivana Filipovich's career at SFU was, until recently, focused on educational media production. The productions she led and participated in garnered accolades from top tier national and international design and digital media competitions. Now in an operations role in Communications and Marketing at SFU, she is exploring analytics and data-driven decision making. 

With her experience spanning the fields of architecture, archeology, digital media and storytelling, Filipovich is especially interested in the intersection of technology and art. She will speak about the influence of fine arts and technology advancements on design, with a specific example from the SFU Gallery Art Collection that made a lasting impression on her, as well as some of the world's most revolutionary graphic designers.