Exhibit examines history of steam

The Penticton Art Gallery has been hosting an exhibit since March that reflects on the impact of steam on the Okanagan.

The Penticton Art Gallery has been hosting an exhibit since March that reflects on the impact of steam on the Okanagan.

One hundred years ago the Kettle Valley Railway arrived and the S.S. Sicamous was launched and our valley was changed forever.  As part of this look back at history the Penticton Museum spearheaded a project entitled Okanagan Steamfest.

Two shows are currently on exhibit at the Penticton Art Gallery. One called Steamrolled: How Steam Colonized the West and a second which is a Steampunk Primer.

For 23 years, the S.S. Sicamous connected small communities on the water to the commercial hubs of Vernon, Kelowna, and Penticton. Now, of course, it sits beached in Penticton where it acts as a museum, and a venue for weddings, plays, musical events including the Pentastic Jazz Festival.

The Kettle Valley Railway, of course forged a vital link between the mining communities of the Kootenay/Boundary area, the orchards of the Okanagan and the coast.

It’s incredible to consider that it took more than 20 years to construct the Kettle Valley Railroad and less than 75 years later the railway was abandoned completely in 1989.

The second show incorporates Steampunk which is an artistic and design subculture that combines science fiction, history, fantasy and the Victorian era into a fanciful blend.

The term originated during the early 1980s when Steampunk was used to describe a fantasy world where steam-powered machines and technology of the 19th century merge with elements of contemporary time.

Since then, writers, fashionistas, artists and inventors have embraced this art and aesthetic so much so that IBM’s Social Sentiment Index recently called Steampunk the next big enduring trend.

Through the steampunk aesthetic one can repurpose virtually anything blending history, technology, fact, fiction and design to create new objects which allow us to transform our own view of the world around us.

Both shows are at the Penticton Art Gallery until May 10.

On Thursday, May 7 the  Summerland Art Gallery will open a new exhibit entitled Celebrating 100 Years of the KVR. It promises to be an interesting show as it is a collaborative show that will incorporate a number of artists and works in a variety of styles.

David Finnis is the publicity chair and past president of the Summerland Community Arts Council, P.O. Box 1217, 9908 Main St., Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0.