Il Museo At The Italian Cultural Centre
Our Mission: To be a living narrative of the contributions of pioneer and contemporary Italians and their institutions in Vancouver and beyond.
Il Museo at the Italian Cultural Centre in Vancouver tells the varied and vibrant stories of Italians in the Lower mainland of British Columbia from 1890 to the present day.
Il Museo opening hours
Regular Hours: Tuesday to Saturday, 10:00am to 5:00pm
Special thanks to the BC Arts Council and the Provincial Government of BC for their generous support in our Museo
The Venetian Ghetto: A Virtual Reconstruction: 1516-2017, July 25- October 30, 2017
The Italian Cultural Centre is pleased to host the exhibition The Venetian Ghetto: A Virtual Reconstruction 1516-2017. This exhibition which concluded its successful run at the Doge’s Apartments in the Palazzo di Venezia in 2016, has been be converted to a traveling exhibition and brought to Vancouver for summer and fall 2017. Included in this exhibition will be virtual reconstructions of the architecture of the Jewish Ghetto in Venice from the 16th century to the present. This exhibition will also run simultaneous to two Venetian Ghetto-themed plays in performance during the Bard on the Beach Summer Shakespeare festival. As part of their 2017 repertoire Shakespeare’s controversial play Merchant of Venice will be performed as well as a new and original work by Mark Leiren-Young entitled Shylock. This new play revisits the challenging attitudes inherent in Shakespeare play. Additionally, the Jewish Cultural Centre will be hosting two Venetian Ghetto art themed shows from July 27 until September 3. The Italian Cultural Centre is pleased to partner with the Jewish Community in Venice, MUVE (Museums Association of Venice), The Jewish Cultural Centre, Vancouver, The Bard on the Beach Shakespeare festival 2017, and Vivo Media Arts.
Common Voices: The Cultural Legacy of Cantonese and Italian Opera In Vancouver, 25 May- 15 Jul, 2017
In honour of Canada’s 150 years the Italian Cultural Centre is unveiling its Giovanni Caboto series which will focus on immigrant communities and the diverse cultural heritages they have introduced to Vancouver. In Common Voices we will examine up close two Vancouver immigrant cultures which brought to this city two significant musical genres which enabled them to maintain their cultural ties as they adapted to their new home in Canada. This exhibition will examine through pictures, cultural items and oral interviews the significance of art and music as a means to maintain cultural identity in times of transition and even upheaval. As well, this exhibition will examine the role these art forms play in the current cultural life in these communities as the children, grandchildren of these immigrants negotiate their Canadian identity with the culture of their past. Performances in both opera genres will be included in the programming during the run of this exhibition.
Real Life in Technicolor: Paintings by John Capitano, 6 April- 15 May, 2017
How do we respond to the world around us? How often do we have an awareness of the objects and items which enable us to function in our daily lives? Whether it is the well-used appliances which end up in our kitchen sink; the street signs which help us negotiate the traffic; the overstuffed industrial garbage bin in the back of an alley or even the flowers in a garden which call out for us to take time to “smell the roses,” the artist John Capitano gives us a new awareness of our urban environs. Using a vivid palette, like anonymous graffiti message scrawled on a wall, he shakes us out of our somnolent state urging us to pay attention to the people, objects and surroundings which inhabit our environment and have become essential to our daily lives.
Behind Glass: An Artist’s Journey Through European Museums
The Paintings of Leslie Poole, January 20 – March 30, 2017
Museums are significant destinations for travelers visiting the great cities of Europe. These institutions truly shape the way we view the great masterpieces of world art. Leslie Poole paints of the emotional responses we experience while touring the great museums of Europe. While there are transcendent moments of wonder and awe there are often just as many moments of exhaustion, confusion and the feeling of being overwhelmed. Poole reflects on his museum visits and wonders why the methods of display often overvalue certain works, causing us to ignore others. There are many significant works of art to be discovered which have been relegated to dark forgotten corners of a gallery. Poole reflects on the factors which shape our viewing experience, those which ultimately determine the lasting images reverberating in our minds years after we return from our journey.
Voyages: Three Women Visit Italy, 13 October, 2016- January 14, 2017
In popular literature and film over the last one hundred years from E. M. Forester’s Room with a View to Frances Mayes’, Under the Tuscan Sun, and most recently Elizabeth Gilbert’s, Eat, Pray, Love, there is an enduring and pervading notion that travel to Italy for women is transformative, life changing, and cathartic. Italy is viewed from the same lens as Shakespeare’s green world, a fantastical place where a woman’s logic and inhibitions can be stripped away and she can become, finally and completely, herself. This exhibition examines the art work of three women artists who traveled to Italy, in most cases for the first time. We ask what is the effect of Italian travel on these women?
Vancouver, City of Contrasts: Breaking Down the Fourth Wall
10 September – 5 October, 2016
Italian-Canadian Poet Diego Bastianutti and photographer Jon Guido Bertelli explore life in the Downtown Eastside through word and image. These artists reveal that the world of the city core is one of contrast and contradiction contained within the span of a few streets. Contiguous to the design houses of Gucci, Chanel and Versace: spaces of high affluence, economic abundance and cutting edge aesthetic fashion, are the dwelling places of the city’s most impoverished. The artists reveal that there is very little that sets these two worlds apart.
with support from:
Found Objects: Treasures from an Italian Flea Market, the Still Life of Mandy Boursicot
7 July- 5 September, 2016
The historian Peter Burke in his book Eyewitnessing theorizes that the objects in background of antique paintings are just as important as the people painted in forefront. These paintings are a window into the world of times past, and the objects within them convey the values, aesthetics, occupations, and preoccupations of that time. The classical realist painter Mandy Boursicot creates a series of paintings based on objects she found in an Italian flea market. The exhibition looks at these objects of the past and questions why these relics have such an enduring fascination.
Family Lines, Lesbian Heraldry, An Achievement of Arms,
The Art of Shelley Stefan
Tuesday, 12 April- 30 June, 2016
There are families into which we are born and the families that we create. Shelley Stefan looks the traditional symbols of family identity, especially those of the European nobility, such as medieval heraldry, lineage, castles and genealogy. As an artist coming from a traditional Italian background she wonders if these constructs of centuries old family values would ever include those of same sex couples. Stefan offers viewers insight into what this would look like and the impact it might have on social acceptance.
Heroine of A Thousand Pieces: The Judith Mosaics of Lilian Broca
12 November, 2015 -31 March 2016
Mosaic artist Lilian Broca, winner of the 2003 Lorenzo Il Magnifico (Medici) Gold Medal at the Florence Biennale, will unveil her new mosaic series at the Italian Cultural Centre Il Museo. This monumental work of seven, six foot high mosaics will feature the story of Judith, a heroine from Biblical times, but one that has re-emerged as a contemporary feminist icon. Through her masterful talent, Broca is able to adapt the ancient genres of mosaics and Apocryphal literature to the rendering of this epic tale, while offering universal and profound truths to modern audiences.
La Società degli Emigranti: Tree of Progress, an Exhibition.
In connection with Performigrations and its partners in Italy, Malta, Athens, Portugal, Austria and Canada, the Italian Cultural Centre (Il Centro) presents La Società degli Emigranti: Tree of Progress, an Exhibition.
This exhibition, consisting of documents, photos, and historical objects from the personal archive of author and historian Ray Culos, traces the history of Italian immigration in Vancouver. Starting with the first Italian immigrant Giuseppe Guasparri, who settled in Vancouver following his involvement in the American Civil War in 1865, this display focuses on the origins and activities of the Confratellanza, and other Italian mutual aid societies.
This exhibition showcases the important role these societies played in the Vancouver Italian community through their support of new Italian immigrants. Based on Ray Culos’ original research, this exhibition demonstrates that not only did these organizations provide a social outlet for these new immigrants, enabling them to continue their cultural traditions with their own (paesani) countrymen, but they offered economic support and career opportunities as well. This exhibition presents a case study on how one cultural group in Vancouver successfully adapted to Canadian life.
Also, included in this exhibition will be the art installations on the theme of immigration created by the team of seven artists chosen for the European Union Project: Performigrations. These installations entitled: Three Queers Chat in East Vancouver, On Ice, A/Vgrations and Address Known will document the culture shock, alienation and isolation of immigrant experience through spoken word and interactive video.
Exhibition runs August 22- September 16, 2015.
This exhibition is a mid-career retrospective of the sculptor Lorenzo de Francesco. By gathering together in one space the major works de Francesco has produced over a life-time, the artist reflects on the visual language he has created. Art, he concludes, enables us to articulate experiences that cannot be expressed in words, specifically those that pertain to creativity and spiritual maturity. The hard stones of marble and granite, which de Francesco utilizes, are perfect metaphors for his message that change, transformation and spiritual growth are only achieved through strain, challenges and significant effort.
Exhibition runs June 1 – August 15, 2015
MENDED- A traveling exhibition of contemporary textile art.
A broken heart, socks and relationships can all require mending. Have you improved something by mending? Recovered from an injury? Mended your ways?
Twenty-Five BC textile artists share their stories through creative expressions of their version of mending. All new, original artwork with both 2D and 3D pieces.
Exhibit runs March 17th, 2015 until May 15th, 2015.
The Sacred and The Arcane; The Mythic Vision of Evie Katevatis
Vancouver Artist Evie Katevatis creates a pantheon of gods and goddesses from the ancient world set against a pastoral landscape of her own imagination, a terrain created after her many travels to Greece and Italy. Like the centuries of Neo-classical artists before her, and the film maker Federico Fellini, Katevatis sees the ancient world as a fascinating dreamscape of mysterious beauty, but one that eludes the comprehensible to the modern eye.
This exhibition runs through 20 January to 5 March 2015
The Taming of the Minotaur
This exhibition explores the work of the young Russian artist Anya Gusakova and her series the Taming of the Minotaur. Inspired by the surrealist works of Picasso, which examined the baser human instincts of man, through this mythological half man half bull figure from Greco-Roman lore, Gusakova reveals that our roughest instincts can be tamed and that we are capable of expressing great humanity and touching compassion.
This exhibition features a group of Vancouver artists dedicated to studying the techniques of the old masters; many of whom have studied in Europe in the traditional ateliers in Paris and Florence. These artists set out to prove that viewing the old masters with fresh eyes can result in art work that is as beautiful and resonant in technique, style and message as is was for the Renaissance Italians centuries ago.
The Horizon Line an exhibition featuring the art work of Dante Comoglio. Two series by the artist are featured: the Horizon Project, consisting of photographs which test our concepts of travel, perception and distance. As well as the Yes/ No installation: a series of post modernist works consisting of found objects from both the natural and artificial world. The show begins on April 10 with a special opening reception on April 24, at 7 pm.
Join us at the Italian Cultural Centre Museum for the opening of our new exhibition entitled The Bookbinder’s Art featuring Cloud Art by Candace Thayer-Coe. The opening takes place on Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 7 pm. This exhibition features the art work of Candace Thayer-Coe, a master in the paper marbling techniques of Italy, Turkey, and Japan. Additionally, we will have a display of bookbinding, which utilizes this marbled paper art to create one-of-a-kind books. As well, there will be antique Venetian books on view from the bequest of Abraham Rogatnick, now part of the permanent collection of the Italian Cultural Centre. Please join us. Refreshments will also be served. The exhibition runs through to March 31, 2014.
Silent Spaces features the paintings by Mena Martini and John Capitano. Join us in viewing the paintings of two artists with very different styles, but who both explore daily moments of transition and change. Where John Capitano walks us through the rooms of a well-used house, whose contents clearly demarcate their function, Mena Martini examines shifts in emotional states from sound to silence and from mystery to awareness.
The origins of pasta are clouded in myths and fantasy. This exhibition looks at evidence for the beginnings of pasta and traces its development through the centuries. Once viewed as a dish eaten by the poor of Southern Italy, and a subject of parody in Commedia dell’arte, pasta now is viewed as a profound expression of the Italian culture. Join us for a glimpse into pasta through the ages.
Our archive contains documents and photographs relating to many of Vancouver’s Italian Societies. Prospective researchers should contact Angela Clarke, Museum Curator at 604 430 3337 or at [email protected]
Volunteering At The Museum
We are currently looking for volunteers in the following areas:
Volunteer Museum reception staff
You will greet visitors and supervise the museum during its opening hours. Shifts are just 3 hours long. Italian language skills would be an advantage but are not essential.
Interior Castle: Tradition and Innovation: The Tapestries of Ruth Jones
March 12 – June 7, 2013
Featuring the creations of Vancouver master tapestry artist Ruth Jones, Interior Castle explored the tradition of tapestry weaving that flourished during the Italian Renaissance and its reverberations in today’s culture. Jones uses ancient textile techniques to merge the artistic and spiritual themes of the Renaissance with the ethical and moral issues of our time. The audience joined us as we celebrated this antique art form, patronized by the Medici in Florence, and reinterpreted through the skill of the modern Vancouver artist, Ruth Jones.
Bel Canto: Italian Opera in Vancouver
October 11, 2012 – January 31, 2013
Bel Canto included archival photographs from the Barry Glass estate, opera posters from the Vancouver Opera’s archives, and an historic costume worn by Joan Sutherland in the Vancouver Opera’s 1963 production of Norma.
Beyond The Barbed Wire: Experiences of Italian Canadians in WWII
March 6 – August 31, 2012
In 2012, Il Centro presented A Question of Loyalty: Vancouver’s Italian Canadians in World War II a series of events to mark the experiences of British Columbia’s Italian-Canadian community during WWII. During this time, some Italian-Canadians were interned, while others were branded “Enemy Aliens” by the federal government of the day.
The project, funded by the Government of Canada, included a book by Raymond Culos, “INJUSTICE SERVED, the story of BC’s WWII Italian Enemy Aliens”; a new play, FRESCO by Lucia Frangione and BellaLuna Productions, presented at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts and the Cultch Historic Theatre, and the exhibition Beyond The Barbed Wire: Experiences of Italian Canadians in WWII in the museum.