Exhibition at the Osoyoos art gallery highlights Okanagan farming

Art pays homage to farmers

The bright engaging landscape paintings in acrylic by Lyse Deselliers pay homage to the farmers of the Okanagan Valley, but yet are also underpinned by some unavoidably weighty concerns.

As Deselliers says in her artistic statement we've all become far more aware of how and where our food comes from thanks to the pandemic. "Supply chains" and "food security" now get bandied around as part of the everyday lexicon.

Deselliers' works are now exhibited at "The Food We Grow" show at the Osoyoos Art Gallery until June 14.

Painting for more than 20 years she is a retired veterinarian and tends towards topics to do with nature, environmental issues and conservation.

This current show centres around the fact that farmers are important because of the essentialness of food. "Local food is to be valued and the work that is involved in growing food locally and making a living from it, is of great value."

She notes the difficulties a family farm faces today, everything from the cost of production to getting a fair return on their crops. She said it's important to educate the public "as to why this cabbage or this peach cost more when grown locally."

Supporting local farmers is one important thing we can all do to play a part in helping the planet she says. "Going to the market on Saturdays to buy produce directly from the people who grow it, is something we can do."

It's important to think about where we get our food from she says, highlighting the border closures during the pandemic. "How self-sufficient are we in terms of food security," she asks. "Where do we get our food from and what do we value in life?"

But before you get the mistaken impression this exhibition is a polemic railing against the globalization of food production, it would only be fair to point out that her paintings are a delightful portrait of the bountiful nature of the Okanagan Valley.

Bowls of orange-hued peaches, branches of deep red cherries, rows of orchards stretching over hill and dale, farmers in fields, and honeybees carrying out their important tasks - it's a vivid storytelling of the agricultural magic that happens all around us.

"The Food We Grow" by Lyse Deselliers is now on at The Art Gallery Osoyoos, 8713 Main St. until June 14. The gallery is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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