Next Artist Talk speaker takes aim at what we throw away

'Tower of the Obsolete,’ by Anna Gustafson. The artist is the next featured 2019 Artist Talk speaker and will appear Thursday, Oct. 10 from 6-7 pm in the Stan Hagen Theatre at NIC’s Comox Valley campus.

NIC’s next 2019 Artist Talk Series speaker uses discarded appliances and single-use plastics in projects that shine a light on habitat loss and environmental destruction.

Anna Gustafson will be the second artist appearing in the fall speaking series and is set to present on Thursday, Oct. 10.

The annual lecture series features distinguished local and international artists who share their insights and practices with NIC students, local artists and community members.

Coordinator and NIC Fine Arts and Design department chair Sara Vipond says Gustafson’s extensive career and focus on environmental degradation will translate to a compelling evening for attendees.

“She is an invaluable addition to our series and we’re looking forward to welcoming her,” Vipond said.

Gustafson’s artistic practice combines a spare aesthetic with a sincere use of materials and rigorous methodology. The artist works with a limited palette and a restricted vocabulary of natural materials and found objects.

Her ongoing, multi-chapter project, The System Is Not Foolproof, sees the artist encasing discarded small appliances and single-use plastic containers in linen.

The project includes Object Lesson, a collection of works that explores the destructive impact of consumer products like small appliances.

Remote & Obsolete and Heart of the Matter, two chapters of The System Is Not Foolproof, are currently featured as part of the Comox Valley Art Gallery group exhibition Uncover, which also includes work from NIC fine arts faculty Elizabeth Russell and previous Artist Talk speaker Nadine Bariteau.

“As we consume the earth’s resources to manufacture and power ‘invented-needs’ consumer products, we destroy ecosystems,” Gustafson explains in her summary of the work. “These often-ignored pieces of our contemporary culture are then consigned to landfills, further continuing this devastation. In response, I enshroud discarded small appliances in old linen, a manner historically used to prepare the dead for burial.”

Born in Sweden and raised in Vancouver, Gustafson is an honours graduate of Vancouver School of Art (now the Emily Carr University of Art + Design) and has exhibited her work in public galleries since 1974.

Gustafson will speak from 6-7 pm at the Stan Hagen Theatre, located on NIC’s Comox Valley campus. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.

The 2019 Artist Talk Series is possible thanks to community gifts and corporate sponsorship. If you are interested in supporting future Artist Talk events, please call 250-334-5074 or visit

The series continues with additional guest speakers Boomer Jerritt (Oct. 24) and Samantha Dickie (Nov. 21). Visit for more information.

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More on This Story

You can read more about this in the Campbell River Mirror.

Also, check out the Comox Valley Record for additional coverage.