Deryk Houston "Seeking Peace"
Deryk Houston "Seeking Peace" Installation of mixed media
Much of Deryk Houston’s work over the past fifteen or so years has been in support of children's rights and peace.
His installation “Seeking Peace” is inspired by a life altering event. Houston elaborates, “It started with a journey to Iraq and a tour of the Ameriyha bomb shelter in Baghdad, where several hundred men, women and children died in a blinding flash of agony. The simple, concrete and reinforced steel, box like structure, with four foot thick walls and ceiling, was considered to be a safe place to find shelter from the constant air attacks during the first Gulf war. I was accompanied by an elderly woman who had lost her entire family in the blast. Since her loss, she has spent her time taking people through the shelter, explaining how the two massive, guided missiles burst through the roof and found her family inside. She had just left the shelter, thinking that everything was safe for a while between attacks to go back to her nearby home and hang up her laundry. (Life had to go on despite the daily bombing runs and so it was normal to come and go from the shelter.) The first missile sliced a hole in the roof and exploded inside where her family and several hundred people huddled. A second missile entered the same hole in the roof and burst through the main floor to the next level below the first, where it exploded and created even more horrific carnage and incinerating heat. Anyone who has entered through the large, five ton doors of that shelter and witnessed the remains inside, leaves in shock.”
Houston asks “But what does one do about it? How does one find any hope? I found it in the Iraqi people themselves. They demonstrated to me a deep eternal hope that always survives despite the darkness and it altered my ways of thinking in a profound manner over the years. Their strength helped me retain my sanity when world events might test us to our limits.”
Houston has chosen in his installation to not focus on the grim physical tragedy of this event but to rather turn the focus on life over the destruction of war because it is the only way forward. In Seeking Peace Houston would like visitors to contemplate the crisp white sheets that are a part of it as fresh ideas, including new beginnings, surrender, nationalism, as well as an international signal of peace to strangers entering foreign lands.
Houston’s wish is that the viewer “will find some kind of hope after viewing this installation.”
For more information please call the gallery at 250-740-6350. Gallery hours are Monday to Friday 10:00am to 5:00pm, Saturday 12:00-4:00pm.
Free docent led tours of the exhibition will take place on Saturday, March 24th and Saturday April 14th from 2:00-3:00pm.