July 01, 2015 | Login | UBC.ca

The Department of Art History, Visual Art & Theory

#saltandwater: The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: Curated by CCST Candidate Margaret Stern

June 05, 2015

Exhibition runs June 6 - July 17, 2015

The Or Gallery is pleased to present #saltandwater: The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict, an exhibition of four Palestinian artists. In his 1981 book, The Political Unconscious, Fredric Jameson asserts the idea of Louis Althusser’s “absent cause” within a structure. He posits that the structure itself is intrinsic to its effects, that Jacques Lacan’s “real” and Louis Althusser’s “absent cause” can never be represented in their entirety, as the signifier will always take the place of the signified. In looking at the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, Jameson’s argument can bring new light to the violence and unspeakable totality of the ongoing occupation. Seemingly innocuous substances, salt and water, can be viewed as materials which are inherently political. Palestinians now receive at most 73 litres of water per capita, lower than the World Health Organization’s recommended 100 litres for daily consumption. The seas  ... (more) »


About the Department


Art History and Visual Art were first taught at The University of British Columbia when noted Canadian painter, B.C. Binning, was appointed to the faculty of the newly-formed School of Architecture. The Department of Fine Arts was established as an independent department within the Faculty of Arts in 1955. Since its inception the Department has grown steadily and now includes 23 full-time members of faculty (13 art historians and 10 visual artists). In 2001, the Department changed its name from Fine Arts to the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory to better to encapsulate the innovative teaching and interdisciplinary research interests of the faculty.

The Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory comprises three streams of research-based learning and practice: Art History, with a particular focus on theoretical and critical discourses concerning the social impact of art and visual representation at both the undergraduate and graduate levels; Critical and Curatorial Studies, examining through research and exhibition projects issues in contemporary visual culture and display; and Visual Art, with an undergraduate curriculum placing art production, academic learning and a graduate emphasis on preparation for participation in the field of contemporary international art.

The Department’s faculty are actively involved in research and bring this strength into their teaching at all levels. Undergraduate and graduate seminars enhance student experience in advanced academic research and practice. As a result many of our graduates have established distinguished careers in the creative, scholarly and gallery fields.

The main goal of Art History, Visual Art and Theory is to foster critical and reflexive thinking within an inclusive and supportive environment. The Department thus maintains the highest standards of intellectual and administrative practice, seeking to be innovative in pedagogy and international in scholarly perspective.


Our Galleries

The Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery


The Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery has an international reputation for its exhibitions, publications and projects in the area of contemporary art. Its collections and archives are an invaluable resource for scholars.

Visit the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery »


The AHVA Gallery


The mission of the AHVA Gallery is to promote research and discourse in the field of visual art by facilitating collaboration and experimentation within the department, the university, and the community. The gallery is dedicated to providing resources and opportunities to students, faculty and the community through exhibitions, public programs, and providing a venue to engage in dialogue.

Learn more about the AHVA Gallery »


AHVA Events


June 05, 2015

#saltandwater: The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: Curated by CCST Candidate Margaret Stern
Exhibition runs June 6 - July 17, 2015  (more) »



Featured Profile

Ken Lum
MFA in Visual Art degree, 1985

Lum’s advice for incoming students of the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory is to "remember that the world is a lot bigger, more complex and contradictory than what one learns in AHVA or any other department..."   (more) »