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Styx & Stones exhibit explores bullying at Penticton Art Gallery

Artist Sondra Richardson looks into a piece of her installation that is featured at the Penticton Art Gallery Styx & Stones exhibit which opens on Friday. - Kristi Patton/Western News
Artist Sondra Richardson looks into a piece of her installation that is featured at the Penticton Art Gallery Styx & Stones exhibit which opens on Friday.
— image credit: Kristi Patton/Western News

Taking its name from an old rhyme and a mythical Greek river, the latest exhibit at the Penticton Art Gallery is one everyone can relate to.

Styx & Stones, opening on Friday, explores the issues of bullying in an effort to bring to light the issues and in some small way open opportunities for those who have previously felt alone.

“One can’t go a day without experiencing and baring witness to some form of bullying in their lives whether it be at the workplace, road rage. out shopping, turning on the TV, watching the sports highlights, listening to the news on the radio or picking up the daily paper,” said Penticton Art Gallery curator Paul Crawford. “It’s everywhere we turn ... I imagine it would be one of the leading causes of our economic and social strife and unhappiness.”

Crawford said the title takes its key from the rhyme sticks and stones but replaces sticks with the mythical river of Styx, which separates the world of the living from the world of the dead and means the river of hate.

“A fitting reinterpretation on the age-old rhyme, sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me. Of course they did,” said Crawford.

The exhibit features two key components; an open call for artists and a non-juried public program which invites the community to come in and add their own voice and experience to the exhibition. A confessional wall has been created to tell your own story or ask for forgiveness from those you have bullied or forgive those who have tormented you.

“With luck, exhibitions such as this may help shed a greater light on a growing problem and help turn the tide before it eats us all alive,” said Crawford.

The response for the call for artist submissions was overwhelming said Crawford and takes over all three exhibition spaces in the gallery.

“The scale and scope of these works is impressive, heartfelt, honest and in many cases profoundly moving and cathartic,” he said.

It was watching the story of B.C. teen Amanda Todd who, prior to committing suicide, posted a video on YouTube using a series of flash cards to tell her experience of being blackmailed, bullied and physically assaulted.

That brought to light that bullying is a challenge to not just youth but across all ages, professions, genders and ethnicity. Her mother, Carol Todd, will also be part of the exhibit. She will host a round table on March 29 from 1 to 3 p.m.

Styx &Stones has its grand opening at the Penticton Art Gallery on March 28 from 7 to 9 p.m.

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