A miniature version of Dallas Road made almost entirely out of driftwood and complete with cyclists, paragliders, whales, Terry Fox’s angel and a flying Dr. Bonnie Henry is on display in an Oak Bay gallery this month.
The exhibit reflects Victoria driftwood artist Tanya Bub’s vision of the waterfront spot, inspired by every day scenes and enhanced by her imagination.
A tiny Dr. Bonnie Henry, B.C.’s provincial health officer, flies a biplane over Dallas Road in the display, her “Be Kind. Be Calm. Be Safe.” banner trailing behind her. Below, a family enjoys ice cream from Beacon Drive-In Restaurant, while a kayaker paddles on the water and an octopus swims beneath the surface.
“The whole room sort of looks alive. And I was joking that I kind of imagined that when I go home and close the gallery door that all the pieces probably are partying, and I’m going to come back and they’ll be in different places,” Bub said.
The Dallas Road display started with a scene of the Discovery Island wolf, Takaya, howling at the moon from his island and photographer Cheryl Alexander snapping photos from her boat. Bub also created a larger-than-life version of the wolf to commemorate his life, cut short by a hunter. The piece is on display in the lobby of the Fairmont Empress Hotel until Friday, when it moves to Nootka Court as part of a one-day arts festival dedicated to the animal.
Bub decided to expand the scene, choosing Dallas Road because it’s where she collects most of the driftwood she uses in her pieces.
The exhibit at the Gage Gallery Arts Collective in Oak Bay also features a life-sized interactive baby elephant crafted from driftwood. Visitors can feed peanuts to Daisy the elephant — named after the flowers covering her — which roll over bells inside her.
Bub has also created a collection that she calls “air dogs,” inspired by the image of a dog sticking its head out of a car window, and wire pieces in which part of the art is the shadow the wires create on a wall.
Outside, a collaborative piece features the hopes and wishes of elementary students, patients in hospice and people staying in a homeless shelter written on leaves of a tree.
Bub invites anyone who wants to share something to create a leaf out of paper and put a message on it for the Communit-tree, as she calls it. Bub weatherproofs each leaf so it can withstand the elements.
Some messages are lighthearted, like a child’s wish for a pony, while others are more touching. Someone in hospice shared: “I wish to go strawberry picking again.” Another person wished for Donald Trump to no longer be president of the U.S.
Bub said from afar the colourful tree looks like many voices speaking at once, “like it’s dripping with meaning.”
The exhibit, called Creatures, Great and Small opened Tuesday and runs until Nov. 8. at the Gage Gallery Arts Collective. Entry is free. The pieces on display are for sale.