Mayworks art exhibit launchedat Zocalo in Courtenay

On Saturday evening from 6 to 8 p.m., Zocalo Café, at the corner of Fifth and Cliffe in Courtenay, hosts the opening of the 2011 Mayworks Festival of Labour and the Arts Mail Art Exhibition.

On Saturday evening from 6 to 8 p.m., Zocalo Café, at the corner of Fifth and Cliffe in Courtenay, hosts the opening of the 2011 Mayworks Festival of Labour and the Arts Mail Art Exhibition.

Mayworks is a month-long celebration of the part that labour plays in our social fabric and has been a Canadian tradition for two decades. Mayworks Vancouver Island is in its seventh year.

A hundred fifty artists from 25 countries mailed artwork to the curator, Ed Varney of Courtenay, on the theme of The Art of Work. This is Varney’s fifth Mayworks Mail Art Exhibition and it features a number of exciting and unusual artworks.

All the works were delivered through the postal system and many of them provide intriguing windows into working life around the world, as well as in Canada and on Vancouver Island.

Artists were specifically invited via the mail to send work and a call was put out over the Internet. There is artwork from both professional artists and amateurs and the works address a wide range of concerns such as working conditions, social identity, the traditional role of workers, and the new roles workers adopt in the information society.

None of the works are for sale; they are part of a large archive of such works that Mayworks has collected and will use for further exhibitions.

A second Mayworks exhibition is featured at Artfitterz, 1925 Bowen Rd. in Nanaimo, during May, and a third exhibition, also co-ordinated by Vancouver Island Mayworks, is currently on display at the Winnipeg Public Library during the months of April and May.

Varney has been exchanging art through the mail with other artists since the early 1970s and has organized a dozen other Mail Art exhibitions, including the very successful Mail Art Olympix, one of the largest Mail Art exhibitions in the world, which has travelled to six venues across B.C. and Canada.

— Ed Varney