Exhibition ~ Valley 2000

Millennium Project

This exhibition and accompanying catalogue are dedicated to the memory of

Douglas Oehmsen Clark

Kelowna Art Gallery entrance banner

Valley 2000 was presented from January 27 to March 24, 2001 at two venues: The Kelowna Art Gallery and Alternator Gallery, an artist-run space in Kelowna. The Kelowna Art Gallery hosted the the invited artists while the juried and snapshot images were divided between the two venues.

Later in the year, portions of the exhibition moved to the Armstrong Spallumcheen Art Gallery, from October 30 to November 7, and the Salmon Arm Art Gallery, from November 2 to 24, 2001.

In the spring of 1999 I was invited to participate in the documentary photo project Valley 2000, A Photographic Record of Life in the Okanagan. The project was to include photographic work from three sources: snap shots with written commentary submitted by the public, a juried exhibition of local professional and amateur photographers, and four invited artist-photographers who were asked to interpret their experience of the Okanagan Valley. The four invited artists were Fern Helfand, Greg Young-Ing, Kevin Dunn and myself, Henri Robideau. I was the only non valley resident on the project.

I spent four days photographing the valley in late September 2000, and produced a quartet of panoramic images titled The Four Directions of the Okanagan, as well a small series of single images (which were not included in the final exhibition).

The exhibition catalogue featuring examples of exhibited works and essays by Jeannette Armstrong, Robert Mackenzie and Duane Thomson.

Community snap shots were displayed at the Alternator Gallery in Kelowna.

Fern Helfand

Valley 2000, A Photographic Record of Life in the Okanagan, was a community art project initiated by artist and photographer Fern Helfand as part of the Government of Canada Millennium Partnership Program, with the intention of establishing an archival record of the daily lives of people living in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia at the turn of the new millennium. Helfand based Valley 2000 on a documentary photo project created some twenty years earlier by her friend and colleague Doug Clark.

Doug Clark

Doug Clark was a tour de force in Canadian photographic culture from the 1970's until the time of his death in July 1999. Besides working as a newspaper and commercial photographer he was the Curator of Photography at the Edmonton Art Gallery, researched the lives of numerous photographers, preparing exhibitions and publications of their works. He independently curated a dozen other photo based projects across Canada and developed an outstanding body of his own photographs. He began teaching in the late 1980's which took him to Germany where he met his wife, artist Tina Oehmsen. He returned to Canada in the mid

 1990's with Tina and son Anton and took on duties at Reyerson Polytechnical Institute in Toronto.

Douglas Clark's A Photographic Project: Alberta 1980 was a huge undertaking, bringing together documentary photographers, writers, academics, curators and the Alberta public for the purpose of making an archival record of the province at the time of its 75th anniversary. The result of the project was an exhibition of 202 photographs which was shown at the Edmonton Art Gallery, Calgary's Nickle Arts Museum and The Peter Whyte Gallery in Banff during 1980 and 1981. A publication of essays and images was printed to accompany the exhibition (Douglas Clark and Linda Wedman. Keepsake. Calgary: Western Emerging Arts Ltd, Alberta Culture, 1981. ISBN 0-9691003-0-2) and the final project was archived at the Edmonton Art Gallery.

Doug Clark participated in the early stages of Valley 2000, including a thought provoking lecture given in Kelowna in March 1999. Then, unexpectedly, tragically, Clark died in July 1999.