ARTIVISM aims to turn UBC into an activist space with resistance art festival

The UBC Arts and Culture District is hosting its first ARTIVISM exhibition this week, which will be “a chance for students to get involved with campus culture and be the artists that shape UBC” according to the event website.

Kicking off on October 1, ARTIVISM is a five day creative resistance art festival. The event will feature the works of over 100 UBC student artists with exhibitions that include poetry, theatre, music, visual art and comedy as well as other artistic and cultural performances. These exhibits will be hosted in a variety of spots on campus including the Museum of Anthropology, the Belkin Art Gallery, the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, Barnett Hall and more.

ARTIVISM’s website says the event’s goal is to “[highlight] stories of resilience and student activist art practice that challenge dominant narratives through arts and culture.” Angelica Poversky, Assistant Manager of Marketing and Communications at UBC’s Arts and Culture District, says the event was created with the intention of having as much inclusivity and diverse representation as possible. The SEE US photography exhibition at the Alumni Centre, for example, will be “showcasing photos of people you don’t normally see,” she says. These include members of marginalized groups who are often left out of gallery spaces.

Courtesy Deb Pickman
Courtesy Deb Pickman Drag Queen, Genome

When asked about the intersection of art and activism, Emma Macleod from the arts and culture organization Dive Into UBC elaborates on the importance of uplifting marginalized voices. “When all of the artists are women or people in marginalized bodies, then you are giving space to something without even thinking about it,” she says. “Suddenly you’re in a space that has become an activist space.”

“I think art is political depending on who you are,” Poversky adds. “Everything you do has to engage with some sort of politics, and it’s a privilege to not be political in a lot of ways.”

The event series will also include a pop up art shop on October 2 at the Audain Arts Centre where students can purchase art made by UBC students.

“It’s a fun way to engage with artists, and for a lot of student artists, it’s their first time selling their art,” Macleod says. “So it’s always really exciting to get to give people that opportunity.”

Deb Pickman, Communications and Marketing Manager of UBC’s Arts and Culture District, hopes the event will showcase artistic opportunities on campus, and ultimately allow UBC students to “become comfortable, discover what could be there for you, even if you’ve never tried a particular art form before.”

A full festival schedule is available on ARTIVISM’s website detailing the time and location of every exhibition throughout the week. With the exception of a select few, all ARTIVISM exhibitions are free to UBC students. ARTIVISM will take place from October 1 to October 5.

Anjalica Soloman, slam poet
Anjalica Soloman, slam poet Courtesy Deb Pickman