The idea for the project came about through her discovery of a 1950s photograph of a Doukhobor couple kissing in the archives of Touchstones Nelson. The photograph shows the moment of a kiss between a then unknown Doukhobor woman and man. This photograph won the artist’s admiration. She believes that the image of the Doukhobor kissing couple is particularly iconic and deserves national recognition as does Nelson’s own culture of openness. The resulting community based art project has been inspired by these intersections, and in the artist’s desire to bring forth in her work a similar message of affection and affinity among the people who call Nelson home.
Guided by the question, “Can Nelson be the Paris of the north?”, a call for participants was sent out in late winter. The artist invited the public to nominate kissing partners, places, and to create visual narratives that could be shared with wider audiences as contemporary artworks. The task of photographing the couples happened over a three-day period at locations chosen by the couples ranging from Lakeside park to Pixie’s Candy shop. The process of photography had an additional unique layer in that the couples were photographed in a 360 degree context to be embedded in Google Street View that will bring the scenes to ‘life’ in an accessible way.
The resulting images are both documents of place and diverse portraits of the kissing sitters themselves.
Will this be the last of the Kissing Project? The artist hopes not, she intends to extend the project, funding available to the creation of a Kissing Trail! Pucker up Nelson!
Join us at the opening and hear more about this story.
Sylvia Grace Borda is a practicing media artist with interests in the development and promotion of Canadian photographic history and visual arts. She has taught at the University of British Columbia and at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Her practice has also brought her international opportunities, including Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Stirling in Scotland. She has been granted several awards for her exhibition work that is shaping and challenging contemporary photographic expression. More about the artist can be found at sylviagborda.com
Join us on Thursday, June 8th at the Oxygen Art Centre for an opening reception and launch of the exhibition, the Kissing Project . The opening will run from 7-9pm with the artist in attendance. The exhibition will be on display until July 8th. The gallery is open Wednesday – Saturday from 1-5pm. The exhibition will participate in the June art walk on the 23rd when the gallery will be open from 6-9pm.