Ladies Sasquatch, by Toronto artist Allyson Mitchell, is part of the exhibition In The Shadow of the Millennium, shown during its installation on Wednesday August 31, 2016 at the Judith and Norman Alix Art Gallery in Sarnia, Ont. The exhibition opens Friday and runs through Jan. 1

In The Shadow of the Millennium, an exhibition opening Friday at the Judith and Norman Alix Art Gallery in Sarnia, explores ancient knowledge, myth, magic and ritual.

Darryn Doull, curator of the exhibition that runs through Jan. 1 at the downtown art gallery, said it includes approximately 34 works by 17 artists from across Canada.

Doull worked previously at the gallery for six years and said the exhibition is his final project there before returning to school in Toronto to earn a master’s degree.

He was born in Sarnia, and began volunteering at the public art gallery while attending St. Patrick’s High School.“One thing I wanted to find an opportunity to do was to curate a contemporary art exhibition in Sarnia,” he said.

Approximately two years ago, he spoke to Lisa Daniels, the curator­supervisor at the gallery, about that and “she gave me the opportunity.”

Over the last two years, Doull has been researching the exhibition and early last year he went on a six­week curatorial residency on Fogo Island, off the northeast coast of Newfoundland, to research magic, myth and superstition.

“I wanted to go there because, being a small island in the Atlantic Ocean, a lot of those traditions remained intact and are still very much a genuine part of life there,” Doull said.

That compares to places, he said, where, “we’ve lost track of a lot of that ancient knowledge, and don’t use it too much anymore.”

Spending time on Fogo Island “to be immersed in that, was a really good opportunity to help research the exhibition,” he said.

The exhibition has “basically, every material that you could imagine,” Doull said.

That includes paintings, drawings, silkscreens, 12­foot tall textile Sasquatches around a fire, audio installations, porcelain sculpture and more.

The opening is set for 6 to 9 p.m. Friday. More than half of the artists in the show are expected to attend, and there will be a performance piece, Mme. Zsa Zsa, the $2 Psychic, by Andrew Harwood.

“I think collectively, it really provokes a viewer, or anybody engaging in the exhibition, to reconsider ancient knowledge, and the role that it could play in 2016,” Doull said.

Daniels said that because the exhibition is “incredibly diverse” in both form and subject matter, it can speak to all ages and backgrounds.

“The fantastical creatures will delight children while adults will be able to engage emotionally with the artwork,” she said.

Daniels added the gallery is looking forward to upcoming programming that will be associated with the exhibition.

“Personally, it’s hugely rewarding and I’m incredibly excited to see everything come together,” Doull said.

He added that being able to work with the artists, and bring a selection of the best work being produced around the country to Sarnia, “has been the most exciting part, the most rewarding part for me.”

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