Art in the Osgoode Law Library (1): Roy Kiyooka, Homage to Ben Nicholson, 1967

We thought we’d start the new year with a new series of posts on the artworks that can be seen in the Osgoode Hall Law School Library. We thought we’d start with this piece, the largest in the library, which hangs prominently near library entrance, dominating the stairway between the library’s two floors.

Roy Kiyooka (1926-1994)
Homage to Ben Nicholson, 1967
acrylic on canvas
Collection of York University
Purchased from the artist

Kiyooka: Homage to Ben Nicholson

Kiyooka: Homage to Ben Nicholson (credit: Bernard Sandler, Osgoode PD)

Roy Kiyooka was a second-generation Japanese Canadian artist, poet and photographer, born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, in 1926. He grew up in the Prairies and studied art in Calgary and Regina. He moved to Vancouver 1959, already an accomplished respected painter. Here he challenged a generation of artists to move beyond regional styles and seek inspiration from international art currents. In the late 1960s, he rejected painting and began writing poetry and taking photographs. As a part of the rejection of a modernist aesthetic, he eventually took up performance, film, and music. Kiyooka was one of Canada’s first interdisciplinary artists and was highly influential in Vancouver’s bustling cultural scene. He was awarded the Order of Canada in 1978, not only in recognition of his work as a painter but for his significant contribution as a teacher. Kiyooka died in Vancouver in 1994.

Homage to Ben Nicholson, the painting in the Osgoode Library, was among Roy Kiyooka’s last paintings. While he was painting, Kiyooka worked in the hard-edged modernism of the New York avant-garde of the time, just as the artist referred to in the title, Ben Nicholson, had popularized the spare formalism of Constructivism in Britain before him.

The painting is a triptych of three identical panels, each five square. Across the surface of the painting, slight differences in paint application distinguish the oval forms from the serene blue ground. The subtleties of colour here are typical of Kiyooka, but the punctuating orange framing the painting allows for the levitation of the blue, while reinforcing the fundamental objectivity of the painting by counteracting the use of a conventional frame. While a viewer might infer the wide blue sweep of a Pacific vista, a concern for the painting as closed formal world, rather than a system of representation, was a defining principle of the New York modernism to which Kiyooka responded. His international modernist vision in 1960s Vancouver, a city at the time overwhelmed with regionalist attention to particulars of place and landscape, secured the artist a place in the São Paolo Biennale of 1966.

A film about Kiyooka’s life was produced in 2012. REED: The Life and Works of Roy Kiyooka follows the radical times in which the artist lived, from the Beat Era to the turmoil of the 60s and redress for Japanese Canadians in the 1980s. It is an extraordinary tribute to a great artist, showing a broad spectrum of his work while revealing the personal and social history that inspired him. A trailer for the film can be viewed here.

This painting is appropriate to Osgoode for a number of reasons. The painting’s modernism is contemporary with and a reflection of the spirit that saw Osgoode move from it’s staid quarters in old Osgoode Hall on Queen Street to the new campus of York University. The painting was painted in 1967, the centennial year of Canadian Confederation and also the year the new Osgoode Hall Law School was designed. The law school finally opened at York 1969.

The painting is on permanent loan to Osgoode Hall Law School from the Collection of York University.

Kiyooka in the Library Staircase

Kiyooka in the Library Staircase

New Content on HeinOnline (December 2014 Update)

heinonline_logoHere’s a listing of additions and updates to the contents of HeinOnline in December 2014. Click the links for more detail on each library’s additions and updates.

Festive Footstools and Best Wishes from the Osgoode Library

Library-Footstools

It’s the last week of exams before the New Year holiday break at Osgoode. The students are stressed. We have seen them doing jumping jacks in the group study rooms. So we weren’t so surprised when we discovered this expression of student anxiety while closing the library last night. What can it mean? I put the question to some of my colleagues and John Eaton, Head Librarian of the EK Williams Law Library at the University of Manitoba, offered the following possibility:

You may be aware (or maybe not?) of the 1984 musical Footloose!, wherein a group of exuberant youth, led by the actor Kevin Bacon, break free of the strictures of their sleepy Texas town and express themselves through dance. These are just the props for the exciting new library musical Footstool! in which stressed out law students break free of the monotony of cramming for torts and contracts by devising more inventive uses of standard library furniture.

They also look a bit like a library Yuletide tree. Other interpretations are welcome.

And a quick reminder that the Library closes for the holiday this Friday, December 19, at 5:00 pm. We look forward to seeing everyone when the library reopens on Monday, January 5, at 8:00 am. Until then, have a Happy Holiday and all the best for the New Year 2015.

BC Gazette Part II Now Available Online and Free of Charge

The British Columbia Gazette Part II is now available online and free of charge on the BC Laws website. The electronic version of the Gazette Part II has the complete text of all new, repealed and amended regulations deposited under the Regulations Act, RSBC 1996, c 402, in a fully-searchable format. It includes all issues from October 2001 to present. The Gazette Part II joins these other British Columbia statutory, regulatory and legislative resources on the BC Laws website , all free of charge. It’s a very impressive collection, especially for the historical range of the collections.

BC Laws is published by the Queen’s Printer for British Columbia in partnership with the Ministry of Justice and the Legislative Assembly.

World Treaty Library: Now Available on HeinOnline

Various efforts have been put forth over the past decades to create a universal collection of all the treaties of the world. Now for the first time, through the cooperation of Tufts University, Brill Publishing, the United Nations and various others, you will be able to search across all the major treaties in the world in one database: the new World Treaty Library on HeinOnline. We have a campus-wide licence for this new database and it can be accessed by everyone in the York University community.

This monumental collection brings together works from Rohn, Dumont, Wiktor, and Martens to create the richest collection of world treaties ever available, covering the time period from 1648 to the present. Altogether, more than 160,000 treaty records have been identified. Through in-depth indexing of all the treaties and cross citation linking, Hein has created a powerhouse search tool. Use it to locate treaties using such fields as keyword, country, treaty number, treaty type, party, subject, and many more!

Among the indexes included in this collection are:

  • Hein’s U.S. Treaty Index (1776-present): This comprehensive collection from Kavass covers U.S. Treaties from 1776 to the present, whether ratified or not.
  • United Nations Treaty Series (1948-present): Publication of treaties and international agreements registered or filed with the Secretariat of the United Nations.
  • League of Nations Treaty Series (1920-1946): Contains all treaties registered with the Secretariat between members of the League or between members and non-members, with English and French translations accompanying reprints of the official texts.
  • Rohn’s World Treaty Index (1900-2000): Indexes all of the worldwide treaties from 1900-2000. HeinOnline takes this index and provides linking to the indexed treaties for the first time ever.
  • Historical Treaty Index (1648-1919): Contains all early treaties included in Clive Parry’s Consolidated Treaty Series. The index from the series was used to identify the full text and CTS original cite for each bilateral and multilateral treaty.
  • Wiktor’s Multilateral Treaty Calendar (1648-1995): Lists all multilateral treaties concluded during the 350 year period and provides information on the location of their printed text in various collections (with parallel citations), adds data on duration, depository arrangements, and status, and provides extensive notes on their amendment, modification, extension, termination, and other details (with related references).
  • Martens’ Treaties (1761-1944): For the first time, the metadata for this massive 126 volume set has been indexed to search more than eight different works from Martens, including Recueil des traités.

The collection also includes hundreds of other books about treaties and their importance.
Titles such as Pan American Union Treaty Series, 9 v. (1956-1993), European
Treaties Bearing on the History of the United States and Its Dependencies, 4 v. (1917-
1937), Kavass’s Guide to the United States Treaties in Force (1982-2013), and many
more. A complete listing of included titles is available here:

A useful Quick Reference Guide is available here.

Libraries Celebrate Open Access Week with screening of “The Internet’s Own Boy”

York University Libraries will celebrate International Open Access Week from Oct. 20 to 26. Open Access Week is a global campaign that promotes open access as an ideal for the dissemination of scholarship and research. On Oct. 24, to reflect this year’s theme “Generation Open,” the libraries will host a movie screening and talk by Carys Craig, renowned copyright scholar and associate dean research and institutional relations at Osgoode Hall Law School.

Osgoode Prof Carys Craig

Osgoode Prof Carys Craiig

Professor Craig shares the enthusiasm of the global campaign. “I’m delighted that York University Libraries is celebrating Open Access Week. This is truly one of the most important social movements of the digital age, and one in which universities like ours have a vital role to play.” Open Access Week serves to highlight the successful realization of viable and sustainable business models for open access scholarship, particularly in the science, technology and medicine disciplines, and also provides an opportunity to identify, discuss and address barriers to adoption. The ultimate goal is to ensure that publicly funded research is available to the public, and that all global citizens have equal and barrier-free access to the wealth of the educational commons, regardless of their economic means.

Aaron Swartz

Aaron Swartz

The Internet’s Own Boy is a documentary highlighting the extraordinary life of Aaron Swartz. A key author of the RSS standard at the age of 14, Swartz was also a tireless advocate against censorship, co-founding the Demand Progress organization, which successfully halted SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) legislation from coming into force. In the course of his pursuit of public access to academic research, Swartz was apprehended for a mass downloading attempt of JSTOR holdings. Facing excessive punitive charges from a regime determined to make an example of him, he took his own life.

The screening will be introduced by Prof Craig. “This powerful documentary is not just a tribute to Swartz’s life and legacy, but is also a call to action for all of us.”  As author of Copyright, Communication & Culture: Towards a Relational Theory of Copyright Law (Northampton, MA: Edward Elgar Press, 2011), Craig asks people to broaden their view of copyright beyond its tradition of possessive authorship to allow space for collective communication with the broader community with an eye for the greater public good. In her work, she calls on people to reimagine copyright and to correct the imbalance that Swartz fought to bring to the attention of the public sphere. Her insights will foster a nuanced and deeper appreciation for the causes Swartz so bravely hoped to further, highlighting the tragedy of his loss.

‘Road to Justice’ Exhibit in Osgoode Library Examines Historical Discriminatory Treatment of Immigrants in Canada

Road to Justice, a new exhibit which opens today in the Osgoode Library, documents the historical discriminatory treatment of Chinese Canadians and other immigrants of colour in Canada, the communities’ triumph over racism and the lessons Canadians can learn from history. The exhibit will be on display in the library until Friday, October 3, during regular library hours.

The travelling exhibit and its companion websites, Road to Justice/Chermin vers la Justice, were developed by the Metro Toronto Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic with the support of the federal Department of Immigration & Citizenship’s Community Historical Recognition Program and the Unifor (formerly CAW) Social Justice and Humanity Funds.

This legal history project is in part an investigation of the social values and politics that led to such shameful laws as the Chinese Exclusion Act (Immigration Act, 1923) and the various head taxes on Chinese, which – along with other federal, provincial and municipal statutes – created a body of law that was aimed at restricting the lives and activities of a single race of people.

Selected decisions in key court cases are also summarized. The second part of Road to Justice covers interviews and biographical sketches of some of the first Chinese Canadian lawyers, as well as key activists in the Redress Campaign who lobbied the Government of Canada for an apology for more than 60 years of legislated discrimination against them and their community.

These early laws were clearly discriminatory and they provide a stark contrast to the multiracial, multicultural Canada we share today with others from all parts of the world who have chosen this country as their home.

After the exhibit closes at Osgoode, it will move to Ryerson University in downtown Toronto, opening there on October 13.