Briefly: Artist Becky Thera set to ‘Embrace’ her return to Regina

Odds and ends from the local arts-entertainment scene, including a pair of visual arts events coming to Regina next week.

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Becky Thera is bringing her work home.

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The Art Gallery of Regina is presenting a solo exhibition — Embrace — from June 16 to Aug. 13 by the Edmonton-based artist, who’s originally from Regina.

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Thera, a former synchronized swimmer who works as a coach and choreographer, creates art through video, photography, embroidery, drawing, and performance.

The exhibition features a combination of her “ethereal” underwater films and “rippling waves” of fabric, inspired by the ill-fated Earnest Shackleton expedition to Antarctica in the early 1900s. Thera drew “unexpected parallels” to her own experiences as an artistic swimmer while creating “non-gendered models for tenderness and touch.”

Her embroidered silhouettes are a reinterpretation of photos by Frank Hurley, the Shackleton expedition photographer. The artist selected images from Hurley’s archive that “depict profound loneliness and tragic scenes coupled with acts of care.”

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“The experience of social isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic caused the artist to reflect upon the three years that crew members from the Shackleton expedition were stranded in the Antarctic,” says a release. “She likens the pandemic to ‘the idea of being adrift on an ice floe, disconnected from a world you once knew.’

“In Shackleton’s memoir, South!, the artist discovered descriptions (of the expedition), particularly Shackleton’s tender recounting of how the crew, continually wet and cold in their small craft, huddled together for warmth…”

This exhibition in Regina also “touches on restrictive gender norms and the devaluation of traditional ‘women’s work.’ Drained of colour and frayed at the edges, her embroideries seek to tear apart binary gender division and restrictive ideas of performing one’s gender well and productively.”

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Thera’s work has been featured nationally and internationally. It “explores themes of empathy, intimacy, and feminist politics, situating herself between poetry and activism.”

An opening reception runs the evening of June 16.

Gallery admission is free.


The new Prairie Art Institute is holding its inaugural conference from June 15 to 17 in Regina.

It features guest speakers, educational sessions, roundtables and panel discussions at the MacKenzie Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Regina, and U of R.

The event is affiliated with a new initiative called Art Under the Big Sky: Prairie Art Network — a collaboration between the U of R, U of Calgary and U of Lethbridge.

According to a media release, the objective is to “help grow and strengthen art education in the Canadian Prairies and build a stronger presence for the visual arts in the region.”

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Regina’s Karla McManus is a co-founder of the network while Sherry Farrell Racette is also one of the organizers. They’re helping assemble a group of Prairie-based visual arts educators and professionals who will be able to “connect with one another, share ideas and resources, and develop a vibrant community that will also welcome and support students.”

The conference includes sessions for registered members in the following categories: Teaching Art History in the Prairies, Teaching and Learning with Prairie Collections and Organizations, What is Prairie Art History?, and Teaching and Curating Indigenous Art in the Prairies.

Two roundtables are open to the public and free of charge: Curating Under the Big Prairie Sky (June 15, MacKenzie Art Gallery), and Artist-Run-Centres in the Prairies (June 16, Art Gallery of Regina). Both run from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Co-founder Devon Smither of Lethbridge says: “I grew up on the Prairies and am now an art historian but I still know very little about the history of art in this region. Ontario, Quebec and, to a certain extent, the West Coast occupy more space in the history books. I think people in the Prairies are hungry to know more about what has happened in the arts here, in the past and present.”

More information can be found at

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