Visual arts review: Hopelessly Devoted To You examines the apocalypse and Olivia Newton-John

The Khyber’s latest visual art exhibit will give you chills that multiply.


Hopelessly Devoted To You
Wed-Sat 12-5pm, to Aug 24
Khyber Centre for the Arts, 1880 Hollis Street

If you've ever imagined the end of the world—or wondered if it's happening right now—the Khyber's latest exhibition (titled Hopelessly Devoted To You) is for you. The group show is at the intersection of contemporary consumer capitalism, Olivia Newton-John (the show title nodding to ONJ's legendary Grease solo), and the apocalypse. It's the brainchild of Khyber programming assistant Calen Sack and intern Bakhmala Khan.

"The inspiration for the show comes from wondering about our own personal relationship(s) to the end of the world, especially considering that it's becoming a fast-approaching reality due to climate change," says Sack. And while all pieces in the exhibition address the end of the world in one way or another, a couple of them really encapsulate the "hopelessly devoted" part of the show title.

Take the slim book by Jennifer MacLatchy called In Memory of a Small Tree. In it, MacLatchy chronicles her doomed relationship with a child-size tree she found growing in the middle of a clearcut. It's a sad story with similarities to The Fir-Tree by Hans Christian Andersen. It's full of love, tenacity and despair.

If you're looking for something slightly lighter, there's "Survival Kit" and "Are You Still Watching?" by Sofia Alarcon. In these brightly coloured drawings, Alarcon offers humorous visions of a mundane apocalypse, sponsored by Amazon and Netflix. Don't worry—there's still SPAM, vibrators and binge-worthy television in the final days.

This exhibition has the potential to make you laugh and cry. But it will also make you wonder what you really need at the end of the world. Hint for both you and Olivia: it's definitely not Danny Zuko.

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