The Poetry Project

It’s been a tough year for live art exhibits. But, ever enterprising, artists and gallery owners have been looking for new, safe ways to keep the show going. One such 2021 exhibit asked scholarship students to write poems inspired by a locally created work of art.

We hear more about this unique show from Vancouver painter and show planner Niina Chebry …

i. In describing the show in 3 sentences or less, I’d say:
Opening January 7th and running to the 31st, Parker Art Salon hosts a new Poetry Project Exhibition and Book Launch at the new GALLERY GEORGE at 990 George Street, directly across from Parker Street Studios. This show is an eclectic exhibition of art and poetry. The words expand upon a visual idea, and a collaborative effort between ParkerArtSalon and the Beedie Luminaries makes for an engaging art experience.

Watch for the PINK DOTS  – here, artists will be sharing proceeds of sales with BC Women’s Health Foundation.

ii. How did the show process work?
ParkerArtSalon invited the Beedie Luminaries students to participate in the project by submitting a work of poetry, inspired by a selection of art provided by the ParkerArtSalon. The students were sent a digital catalogue of art to review.

The Beedie Luminaries Scholarship is for students with potential who are facing financial adversity. Students who are smart but constrained by circumstance. Students who are resilient and ready to make a positive change in their lives.


Lori Popadiuk. Caroline


The painting above inspired this poem …

Broken Borders
by Hannah Kazemi

The edges aren’t clear anymore
Though they try to be
The grey space is growing and I
Don’t know how to treat them.

As grey space or as opportunity?
Clarity is fading; Fog overtakes
And I forget if those moments of clarity were always clear
Or if they were grey spaces all along.

I can’t tell if I’m blurring the lines
Or the lines blur themselves.

The dark spaces get darker
When the clear spaces become distorted
I forget the clear, the good, the simple things
The dark, dangerous, confusing things overtake.

The imbalance is clear
It’s the only thing that’s clear
The borders between clarity and grey spaces lose meaning
They lose purpose, and I need purpose. I need clarity.
Grey spaces mean no edges, and no edges means
I forget what it feels like to be clear.

More from Niina Chebry …

iii. Under lockdown, the show is:
We’re following all COVID-19 protocols – masks are mandatory, and we’re tracking all visitors. GALLERY GEORGE is a 2,000 square foot space with a 20-foot ceiling- it’s almost like being outside- but we’re allowing only 10 people maximum at a time.

iv. In the show, you’ll see:
Fine art in a range of genres, styles and techniques. On selected artwork PINK DOTS indicate that the proceeds of sales will be shared with BC Women’s Health Foundation.

v. The inspiration for this show comes from:
For the most part, visual artists work independently with the resulting artwork to stand on its own. Having an outside group react to a body of artwork through poetry, the result makes for a stimulating juxtaposition. The viewer now is the third party, reading the poem and possibly seeing the art differently.

Perhaps the poem unravels the mystery of the art and generates a new interpretation altogether. Either way, it encourages the viewer to slow down as the words expand upon a visual idea.


Angela Burdon. Out Of The Blue


The painting above inspired this poem …

Out of the Blue
Chinenye Oluka

Out of the blue.

Sought after.
An enigma
But satisfying.
Coming and going as it pleases,
One could not rely on it.

A part of me, and yet
Not for me?
My colourful
Wonderful friend.
What can I do to reignite
My creativity.

Niina Chebry continues …

vi. One challenge in developing this show:
The poetry in this exhibition was written by students about to embark on their post-secondary education – in a range of disciplines. It should be said that these were not necessarily students of literature- or whether they ever wrote much poetry. This was simply an open call to the Beedie Luminaries to respond to the art if it compelled them to do so.

We at ParkerArtSalon had no idea what might be submitted. And then came the pandemic! We were worried if the students would have any motivation to write anything.

The team behind the Beedie Luminaries program was extremely helpful in sorting out the logistics, and fortunately, the poetry started to arrive. At this point, we knew we had something special.

vii. By ‘attending’ the show, we hope that you feel:
A range of feelings- perhaps a type of calm most of all, it is very open and peaceful in the gallery. You’ll want to slow down as the words expand and meander around the visual idea.

We invite everyone to book their visit at

Beedie Luminaries


Header: Isaac Lewis. Stairway To The Clouds



Maria Batista


Stephanie Geracitano

Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton