Emerging Valley Artist Martha Ponting Featured at Zocalo Café and Gallery

Beginning January 16, Zocalo Café and Gallery features emerging Comox artist Martha
Ponting with a diverse collection of over twenty paintings. 

Works on display range from realist to abstract to whimsical.  Most reflect the artist’s deep spiritual
connection with nature and her sensitivity to small wonders and subtleties in

Raised on a farm on the outskirts of London, Ontario, Martha Ponting came to the Valley
and to art later in life. Largely self-taught, she is an eager learner and

Her eclectic work is inspired by Emily Carr (e.g., Misty Forest) and others. 
Viewers will recognize also the inspiration provided by real life scenes
on Vancouver Island, such as in her works Intuition,
Garry Oak, Summer Skies, and Windswept.   Her medium of choice is acrylic on canvas.

Also represented in the exhibition are pieces from the artist’s Anam Cara (meaning “souls connected”) mixed media series which focuses on the majesty and mystique of the Island’s cedars.

The Ponting exhibition will be on display at Zocalo Café and Gallery until February 19.  Zocalo is located at the corner of Fifth Street and Cliff Avenue and is open daily.

For further information, contact:

Martha J. Ponting 

For photos of specimen pieces contact:

Rick Ponting    250-890-0479    or capture from website at   http://marthaponting.shawwebspace.ca

Recommended images from this exhibition:  any of the following

 Garry Oak -- Comox Estuary, Windswept, New Springtime, Intuition

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 The deadline for the government to match funds raised for famine relief is September 16th, “our brother and sister’s keepers.” A photographic exhibition at Zocalo’s by Colin Mallard.

 A fund raiser for famine relief in Africa will be held at Zocalo’s on Saturday September 10th at 7 pm where local author and photographer Colin Mallard is showing his photographs in an exhibition entitled, “our brother and sister’s keepers.” The exhibition is comprised of local scenes, which those of us living in the Comox Valley will recognize, as well as images from New York and India.

Local singer/songwriter David Somers will be playing and Mallard will read selections from his written work and recount some of the stories surrounding the images on display. For example, one photograph taken in North India shows a one legged milkman peddling a tricycle and making deliveries with his two children perched on the back.

 Those who make a contribution this Saturday evening to famine relief will be eligible for a door prize, one mid sized framed print, which will be drawn at the end of the evening. One large framed print will be raffled with the draw held on September 15th in order to benefit from the matching funds provided by the Government of Canada.

 Unframed 13”x19” prints of any of the images on display will be sold at $50 each and the proceeds from these sales will also be donated to famine relief. (orders will be taken) The framed photographs for the raffle, the door prize and 13”x19” prints are donated by Mallard.

 The exhibition will continue through the end of the month.

 Join us on Saturday the 10th of September and enjoy the art, the music and stories, and   make your contribution to famine relief in Africa. If we were in Africa or any other country in the world in similar conditions would we not welcome the generosity of those who have the means to help? Are we not, in this situation, “our brother and sister’s keepers?”





This summer we are featuring art by Corinne Parker,  Laurie Bartlett, Christina Nienaber-Roberts and Rochelle Nehring.  Come by and see what is "hanging up" at The Zocalo

July Show- Laurie Bartlett-Artist

Laurie studied art in Campbell River North Island College for three years focusing on life drawing.  She worked under Sybil Andrews for 10 years.   

Laurie moved to Courtenay in 2000, attended another year at College.   Last spring Laurie and Jeff Heartbower curated the art show "Through the Looking Glass", an art exhibit by people who suffer from some form of mental illness.  The show was a great success with 38 artists and over 100 pieces, it was held at the Comox Valley Art Gallery.

Since 2003 Laurie has had four solo shows, three of them were sold out.  She says "It's great to have the support" as it moves her forward.

Lauries pictures are a representation of her struggles, thoughts and dreams using symbolism and metaphor.


July Show--Christina Nienaber-Roberts-Artist

For the month of July, Zocalo Café and Gallery on the corner of Cliff and 5th Streets in Courtenay will be hosting an exhibition of photographic Images of Light by Comox Valley photographers Christina Nienaber-Roberts and Keith Roberts.  The couple aim, with their work, to share their deep love of and communion with the natural world, as well as their passion for travel and photography.  Both have the uncanny ability to capture light in nature in a way that comes alive on canvas to provoke a deep resonance within the viewer.  Their photographic images and artwork have been included in exhibitions in South Africa, the Sultanate of Oman where they both worked as geologists in the 1990’s, as well as in the UK where Keith hails from - and in Victoria and Vancouver, BC.  They have also and a number of their images published internationally and received commissions for their pen and ink drawings for books and calendars. 
   Most of the images in this exhibition were taken in Seal Bay Park, although a few are not local.  One, Angel in the Lane, taken in the botanical gardens in Pietermaritzburg – the capitol of Kwa-Zulu Natal, where Christina was born and lived until graduating from the University of Natal in 1975.  This image creates a response for most viewers even before reading the inscription on the canvas, which tells a little of the story behind it:
“Love is All There Is…  (Last words of Miep Nienaber-Luitingh, July 2002).  This photograph was taken by Christina Nienaber-Roberts straight after sprinkling her mother’s ashes.” 
The reader’s eyes are drawn through a natural cathedral of majestic plane trees to what reminds one of a diffuse stained glass window of an angel.   This image also adorns the cover of Christina’s first book, Messages of Love: Stories around a Mother’s Passing, in which she shares more about the amazing events during that final stage of their journey together in this lifetime. 
   The image entitled Snow Angel, on the other hand, was taken in Seal Bay Park on a cold Winter Solstice morning, close to the couple’s home.  Christina had her camera focussed on the path and was just about to call her canine companion, Jabulani, in order to capture her running around the corner in the snow.  Then, unexpectedly, a branch dipped, shedding its load of crystalline powder.  Jabulani did make it into the exhibition though – in the popular image called The Way Home.
   All the images in the exhibition are for sale and can be purchased directly from the artists.  For more information, also on Christina’s current work as Natural Health Practitioner sharing Sacred Movement, Kripalu Yoga, Yoga from Chronic Pain Relief, Energy Work and Doula Services, or about workshops and walking the Labyrinth at The Heart Gate, or to purchase Christina’s books, please call (250) 890-9008 or connect via www.relaxandfeelradiant.com.  At the end of July the exhibition will return to Becky’s Country Bakery on Anderton Road, for the month of August.  Some of the couple’s images may also be viewed at The Heart Gate), Seal Bay area (by appointment) or at Highland Valley Family Clinic on the corner of Anderton and Guthrie.


June  Show--Corinne Parker-Artist

While most three year olds are artists because no one told them they aren't, most abandon artistic expression in the next fifteen years.  I missed that part.  I never lost my personal obsession to explore and create images.

Finding myself in Montreal, I took art at Concordia University, later I studied Batik cloth art in Indonesia.Home on the west coast of Canada, I continue art studies at North Island College.  There is always something new to learn. 

I have been showing and selling my work since I was 11 years old.   During these years, pen and ink and water colour expanded into other mediums,-acrylic on canvas, chalk, pastel, and printmaking; eventually working different media in one piece of work.   My range of subjects stretches from the pastoral though expressionistic to occaisionally obscure.  I am fascinated by light and the balance and tension of form, and expressing those things that words cannot.

To contact Corinne-          http://cparkersart.ca

Past Shows



An important part of the Vancouver Island Mayworks Festivals over the past several years has been the Mail Art component. 
Invitations to participate were sent via both post and e-mail to artists around the world who had participated in other Mail Art projects. The theme was different each year but always centered on work and art. We were fascinated by the art that we got in for the show which we always managed to exhibit in a public gallery. That gallery, then, became the physical focus of the Mayworks celebration.
The first two years, we traded the art that came in with other artists who had submitted work so that each artist got back something from another artist. After that, we kept the art so that we could assemble an archive of work which could then be crafted into further displays.
We also created catalogues each year which listed the artists and their postal addresses to facilitate further communication. A catalogue was sent to each participant. The catalogue also contained the whole Mayworks calendar of events and various essays. 
This exhibition at Zocalos contains new work from the 2011 Mayworks Festival Mail Art Project. Thanx to Bill Freisen and Marci Katz who initiated the Vancouver Island Mayworks Festival and shepherded it over the last 7 years. If you have any questions or comments about the Mail Art component of Mayworks, please contact Ed Varney at


Keeping It Living Art Auction and Competition March 1st to April 2nd

Once again artists from around the Comox Valley and beyond are supporting the protection and restoration of the Courtenay River Estuary with estuary inspired art. They are part of Keeping It Living which will bring about the return of abundance to this beautiful and productive natural feature which truly is the jewel in the crown of the Comox Valley. Renowned artists Ken Kirkby, Bev Byerley, Richard Mravik, Sofie Skapski, Brian Buckrell and more have submitted artworks in a variety of styes and mediums. The pieces, beautiful and alluring,  are up at www.keepingitliving.ca and will be on display at Zocalo's from March 1st to 31st. Opening night for the auction and competition will be held from 7pm to 9pm March 4th at Zocalo's on 5th and Cliffe, featuring an up and coming local band Fiftieth Parallel. You will be able to bid and vote through out March both at Zocalo and bid online. The votes are to select this year's People's Choice winner. As you value art, estuaries and community bid on a piece for your home or as a gift - remember these pieces are not only amazing art but also symbols of the quality of life you are protecting.

The Grande Finale of the auction and competition will be the Day of the Estuary event held at K'omoks Band Hall on April 2nd. All art as well as interactive multimedia displays will be showcased and open to the public 1pm to 5:30pm. There will also be an evening session featuring presentations by Nancy Greene on Estuary Archeology aka Sticks in the Mud and Ken Kirkby on Restoration Success. This will be the last chance for bids or votes and will be an event to remember. For more information visit www.keepingitliving.ca.  

To contact the artists who have or have had work at The Zocalo follow these links: