RESEARCH: Journey as a Collections Assistant by Johnny Chi

Johnny Chi | November 17, 2017

My name is Johnny and I am a third-year student from Simon Fraser University. I am currently obtaining a degree in Cinema Studies and working as a collections assistant at SFU Gallery. During the summer, I was notified by my academic advisor in regard to this wonderful opportunity that will give me a chance to not only complement my experience in the filmmaking field but also deepen my knowledge in art history. This amazing internship with SFU Gallery offers me a chance to get close to a variety of sensational artworks produced by extraordinary and talented artists such as Gordon Smith and Marcel Barbeau. Being able to work with different artworks helps develop and enhance my understanding of art and culture.

SFU Gallery oversees the SFU Art Collection which includes a large number of works by Jack Shadbolt. Jack Shadbolt is an important Canadian artist who is deeply respected for his unique artworks portraying the ongoing political and social issues around BC. Many of his paintings and sketches focus on the relation between First Nations and their environment as well as the conflicts during colonialism which is one of the most important periods in Canadian history. The importance of imprinting First Nation's history into his artworks is to give a voice to the Indigenous peoples to show their true history and identity. I am thrilled to be working with his artwork for the next few months. My role as a collections assistant involves revising and uploading digitized images of Shadbolt's artworks onto a database that will be available online in the next few months. I also have to make sure that all the metadata for the images are up to date and entered correctly into the system. Metadata is a very important part of the digitalized images because it describes the characteristics of the artworks including the name of the artists, descriptions, and editions. The information provided will give the viewers a better understanding of the artworks.

I believe that what I am working on right now is very important because it will eventually offer everyone a chance to look through a selection of Shadbolt's artworks at their convenience. As soon as the database becomes finalized, it will be released online for public access. The digital images will be easily accessible for people who are interested in learning more about Shadbolt's artworks but unable to travel all the way to the gallery. I hope that by the end of my internship, I will be able to apply what I have learned to my future artistic pursuits, research, and to appreciate the works of art from a whole different perspective.