By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – Travel down any back road in Alberta and you are likely to find an old car lying in a field, rusting hunks of metal that are eyesores to most people. But a photographic exhibit now on display at the Musée Morinville Museum not only claims otherwise – it show otherwise.
Built to Last is an exhibition of cibachrome prints of vintage vehicles by Calgary photographer Mark Vitaris that sets the vehicles against the surrounding beauty of the landscapes they are found in and takes a micro look at the inherent beauty of the rust and decay illuminated by the natural lighting of the sun.
Museum Operations Attendant Donna Garrett said she was particularly impressed with the vibrant colours of the rust that Vitaris has captured in his photography.
“You can go down the road in the country and find an old car,” she said. “You don’t realize that there is actually a beauty to it. Who knew the colours could be so beautiful. Something that is torn and broken down is actually very unique and interesting.”
Garret said the photography exhibit is a good tie in with the museum’s pride and joy – a 1928 Model A Ford once owned by long-time Morinville resident and community volunteer Roger Champagne, and now one of the major exhibits at the museum.
But while Mr. Champagne’s Model A is a permanent fixture of the museum, Vitaris’ photography is here for the next four weeks. It is the first time the museum has hosted a photography exhibit; however, they have an area reserved for travelling and themed exhibits like Built to Last.
Morinville Community Cultural Centre Manager Laurie Stalker said the exhibition is the first of three exhibits coming to Morinville over the next year. Built to Last is one of a number of travelling exhibits that are available to rural communities through the Art Gallery of Alberta.
“The museum has kindly offered to exhibit this on behalf of the town and it’ll be the first in a series of exhibits coming to us through this program,” Stalker said, noting the other two are scheduled to be showcased in the Community Cultural Centre when it opens in 2011. “It’s a taste of what’s to come. We’re on the cusp of a lot of great things coming to Morinville and this really is the taste – the beginning of it.”
Additionally, the museum will be hosting an exhibit from the Royal Alberta Museum called Chop Suey on the Prairies next year. The travelling exhibit looks at the history of Chinese restaurants in Western Canada.
Vitaris’ Built to Last exhibit will be on display at the Musée Morinville Museum until the end of December and can be viewed during the museum’s normal hours of operation – Wednesday to Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. There is no cost for admission.