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Achjadi, Diyan
Person · 1971-

Diyan Achjadi is a Vancouver-based artist who explores the ways that surface ornamentation and illustrated printed matter can function as archives documenting the circulation of ideas in visual form. Born in Jakarta, Indonesia, her formative years were spent moving between multiple educational, political and cultural systems.
Achjadi received a BFA from the Cooper Union (New York, NY) and an MFA from Concordia University (Montreal, QC). She has exhibited widely at galleries and film festivals across Canada and beyond. In 2021, Achjadi was the recipient of the VIVA Award from the Jack and Doris Shadbolt Foundation.
Achjadi is a Professor in the Audain Faculty of Art at Emily Carr University of Art + Design.

Person · May 24, 1922 – November 21, 2015

Irene Cattelle Alexander (née Porter) was born in Montreal in 1922. During the 1920’s, her family moved west, first to Toronto, then Winnipeg, and finally to Vancouver in the 1930s.
Irene attended Britannia High School and in grade ten she won a scholarship to study drawing and painting at the Vancouver School of Art. She completed her first year at VSA in the late 1930’s where she studied under Grace Melvin. Porter left the Vancouver School of Art after her first year due to her family’s financial situation and began work at Woodward’s department store. She became their head Showcard writer and designed the trademark Woodward’s brushstroke logo using a sing painters brush.
Irene was a member of the Atelier Sketch Club, a group formed by art students taking Evening Classes at the Vancouver School of Art. She exhibited her work in a number of B.C. Artists annual exhibitions, from 1940 to 1949 inclusive. She was included on a list titled “Leading Vancouver Artists” provided to the Labour Arts Guild on April 10, 1946 by the Vancouver Art Gallery to assist in the Guild's call for entries to the second annual B.C. At Work exhibition
Irene met Robert Samuel Alexander in 1943. Together, they built their home in North Vancouver. The house was designed by Robert Alexander, who also constructed it with the help of a builder. They married in 1949. She had to quit work at Woodward’s due to company policy that required female employees to leave their jobs once married. After Irene left Woodward’s, she was commissioned to letter Woodward's retirement scrolls and shortly after began freelancing as a self-employed calligrapher. Recipients included the Van Dusen family, Jack Diamond and Prince Philip.
Irene and Robert had three daughters in 1951, 1953 and 1961. While they were kept busy raising a family, they formed a business in 1955, Studio Workshop. They later collaborated on various projects including the City of Vancouver "Freedom of the City" scrolls that were presented to dignitaries.
Irene was a founding member of the Westcoast Calligraphy Society originally named the Italic Handwriting Society, a branch of the one in England. During the 1970’s, she established many of the original calligraphy classes in the lower mainland, as well as the summer art school program in the interior and enjoyed teaching for many years. In 1980 she organized a very successful calligraphy tour to England for a few lucky members of the Society which included, as one of many highlights, dinner with the Lancaster Herald. During the seventies and eighties Rob Watt commissioned Irene to do the calligraphy on many of the patents for British Columbia recipients. She was awarded the 1985 Fellow of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada.
Irene Cattelle Alexander (née Porter) passed away on November 21st, 2015.

Alexander, Robert Samuel
Person · August 16, 1916 – April 23, 1974

Robert Alexander (known as Rab to friends and family) was born in Vancouver, B.C. in 1916 to parents Agnes Boyd and Arthur Forbes Alexander. He was the oldest of four boys, who were raised alongside two cousins that were taken in by the family. He attended Hastings Elementary School, Templeton Junior High School and Britannia High School. He wanted to attend the Vancouver School of Art at age sixteen, but due to his father’s illness and the family’s financial situation he was required to look for work. With a keen interest in the arts, he applied and was hired to work at David Hall’s on Beach Avenue, the largest pictorial and sign company in Vancouver in the 1930’s. Alexander took painting and portraiture evening classes at the Vancouver School of Art and studied under Fred Varley and Platon Ustinov. He remained good friends with Ustinov after meeting as instructor and student.
During the 1930’s, Robert painted in his free time and exhibited regularly at the Vancouver Art Gallery. He was invited to become a member of the B.C. Society of Fine Arts in 1937 and received various honours including First Honourable Mention for Oils in the Annual B.C. Artist’s Exhibition in 1939 and later in 1941, First Honourable Mention for Watercolours. He also designed street and building decorations for the visit of King George and Queen Elizabeth in 1939.
Around this time, Robert became interested in the landscapes of the interior and northern areas of British Columbia. His uncle, Charlie Alexander, arranged a job opportunity for him working in Telegraph Creek as part of a crew to keep the telegraph trail open for repairs between Hazelton and Lake Atlin. He lived and worked on the territory of the Tahltan peoples for roughly a year and half, during which time he built relationships with members of the Nation.
Robert returned to Vancouver in 1941 as his father had fallen ill. After his father passed in October of 1941, Robert went back to work at David Hall’s where he worked on contracts to design and produce posters and displays for war bond promotions. He applied for service in the Navy and was accepted in the spring of 1943. He was stationed at the HMCS Discovery barracks on Skwtsa7s (what is known as Deadman’s Island) where he painted a mural over the entrance to the Officer’s Mess in 1946.
Robert used his wartime gratuities to attend the Vancouver School of Art and received his diploma with honours in 1947. He met Irene Cattelle Porter in 1943. Together, they built their home in North Vancouver. The house was designed by Robert, who also constructed it with the help of a builder. Alexander and Porter married in 1949. During this time, he worked as a designer and foreman of David Hall’s until 1952. Irene and Robert had three daughters in 1951, 1953 and 1961. After leaving David Hall’s, he worked as a freelance artist in various capacities, including illustrating books for W.G. Gage Publishing and teaching classes at the Vancouver School of Art, West Vancouver Sketch Club and art classes held at Britannia Beach on Sunday afternoons.
In 1955 he began teaching art classes in North Vancouver. In 1956, Robert completed further studies at the Art Students' League in New York. He came back to Vancouver and together Irene and Robert formed a business, Studio Workshop, offering art classes in Vancouver. He rented studio spaces at various locations including Robson St., West Broadway and Marine Drive (North Vancouver). He also had a studio space in the family home.
In the years between 1956 and 1967 Robert accomplished numerous and varied projects. He received Canada Council funding to work on a series of optical illusions. He completed portraits for clients in Toronto, Ottawa, Regina, Victoria, Vasar, New York, and Tokyo, Japan, as well as numerous portraits in Vancouver (including portraits of W.P. Weston, Justice Nathan T. Nemetz and George Cunningham). He also submitted the winning Christmas card design for UBC, competing against other prominent artists. Alexander completed another large mural for the Penticton Airport in 1963, which was later restored and relocated into the Penticton Civic Centre in 1989. Robert designed fresco panels for the Hotel Vancouver and also completed four murals for the now-demolished Grosvenor Hotel on Howe Street in Vancouver. His work was exhibited across North America and received a Purchase Prize Award from the Washington State Art Commission in 1963 and the Seattle Art Museum in 1966.
With development in Vancouver, including rising rents and an increasing demand on Robert’s time, the couple began to phase out Studio Workshop in 1969. They stopped using the name, as UBC had started using the name to refer to an art department. He worked out of the home studio, after making some improvements to the space. He returned to landscape painting and also took up an interest in heraldic art and the medieval art of illuminating. Robert collaborated with Irene, an accomplished calligrapher, on a variety of projects, including three Freedom Scrolls for the City of Vancouver.
After being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January of 1974, Robert Samuel Alexander passed away in his home in April of 1974.

Anderson, King
Person · 1941-

King Anderson is a Canadian painter, photographer, collage/montage artist, video artist, and curator. Anderson was born in 1941 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and grew up on Vancouver Island and in West Vancouver, B.C. Anderson studied at the Vancouver School of Art (now Emily Carr University of Art + Design) from 1961 to 1964. During his time at the VSA, Anderson studied drawing, painting, and design with Roy Kiyooka, Takao Tanabe, Orville Fisher, Don Stewart, and others. Anderson pursued additional education in art history at Simon Fraser University’s downtown Vancouver campus from 1989-1991.

In the 1960s, Anderson produced a series of photo-based, pop-inspired collages that received some notoriety. Anderson began to exhibit his works in Vancouver, the Lower Mainland, and British Columbia in the mid-1960s. Anderson’s first solo show, A Dream of People, took place at the Mary Frazee Gallery in West Vancouver, B.C. (1965), and Anderson continued to exhibit regularly in galleries and juried shows throughout British Columbia, Canada, the USA, Japan, and Australia from the mid-1960s until the mid-2010s.

In addition to Anderson’s work in painting, collage, and black and white photography, Anderson designed bookmarks for Duthie Books and started to build model landscapes at the Ecology Centre in Lynn Canyon Park in North Vancouver in the 1970s. Anderson continued to build models and other interactive displays at the Ecology Centre until 2008. In 1972, Anderson started Rain Forest Music, a folk music project with Brent Titcomb, and travelled and performed extensively as a singer-songwriter and playing the twelve-string guitar.

While living in Roberts Creek, B.C. in the early 1980s, Anderson started a series of sea/sky landscape paintings, The Edge of the World, before producing more exploratory and experimental paintings and collages when he returned to his Vancouver studio. Also in the 1980s, Anderson received a Fred & Betty Amess Endowment Fund Grant (1986) and was awarded a prize by Alvin Balkind, Curator of the UBC Fine Arts Gallery" in VIEW 3, a juried show at the Sunshine Coast Arts Centre (1981). Throughout the 1990s and into the 2000s, Anderson produced more of his photo-based works on canvas. In the 1990s, Anderson wrote of his art: “Collage and photo-montage have been a large preoccupation over the decades; recombining and juxtaposing photographs, combined with areas of acrylic paint and sand to engage the viewer and … generally messing with images to come up with eye candy that has verbal and visual snap.”

Anderson formed Blue Pony Art Videos in 1996. Between 1996 and the late 2000s, he produced video art documentaries about the Vancouver and British Columbia arts community and experimental art videos. These were often screened at The Blinding Light!! Cinema in Vancouver (operating 1998-2003) and other galleries and theatres throughout B.C. Many of these videos are now available on Anderson’s extensive YouTube channel, King Anderson Art Videos.

Anderson curated and was featured in the 35 Years Later group show that was held at the Helen Pitt Gallery in Vancouver, B.C. in 1999; this show included Anderson’s friends and fellow Vancouver School of Art alumni, and specifically former painting students of Jack Shadbolt and Roy Kiyooka. Anderson’s work was also featured in the Artropolis 2001 exhibition, and Anderson served on the Exhibition Steering Committee and Board of Directors for the Artropolis 2001 and 2003 exhibitions (1999-2004).

Anderson and his wife, Cindy Anderson – a musician and an established potter, who married Anderson in 1992 – moved to Hornby Island in 2008. Anderson continued to exhibit his work and started two radio shows, Jazz from the Deep Dark Woods and The Sound Museum, on Hornby’s community radio station, CHFR 96.5 FM. Anderson served on the boards for the Hornby Island Arts Council Board of Directors (2009-2015), and the Hornby Radio Station Board of Directors (2014-2020). Anderson continues to document and participate in the Hornby Island arts community.

Anderson’s work is held in many collections, including: Balaclava Enterprises; Tourland Travel Ltd.; The Brookman Corp.; The Coast Art Trust Collection in the Maltwood Art Museum at the University of Victoria; the Morris & Helen Belkin Art Gallery at the University of British Columbia; and other private collections.