The Movement

Haro Group
Ian Clark
Silver Fern
John Van Driesum
McAvoy Rule
Les Oberg
Kids OK

Diane Allan
Diane and Melody
New Renaissance Learning Foundation




David Allan Phoenix Associates

The Phoenix

The University Of Victoria campus and I go back a long way. Sixty four years ago(1948), like the Chinese market gardeners of the time, my stepfather and I sold produce off the back of an old truck to the families of returning veterans who were housed at the Gordon Head Army Camp on Finnerty Road. Later I was a student at the Provincial Normal School, Victoria College and UVic. I studied Art at the Lansdowne Campus and in 1963 found myself out in the old huts in the Army Camp continuing my education in the Visual Arts while pursuing my career as a teacher and school administrator.

UVic was very different then, a fledgling bird in a farmer's field. One of the other enterprises, housed in the old huts was an emerging theatre program, the Phoenix Theatre. Involved in this program were Roger Bishop, Carl Hare, Peter Mannering, Wolfgang Baba, and Bill West. Bill, who was also the Art teacher at Oak Bay High School, was assigned, in the summer of 1966, to supervise my senior project in sculpture. He and I determined it would be a metal sculpture of the Phoenix.

My sculpture traded to Don Jarvis

As the bird took shape, I was informed that it would stand permanently outside the Phoenix Theatre. The whole thing was cut assembled and welded out of old car parts given to me by Tony's Auto Body and transported to the site in a friend's pickup. My friend, Roger Emery, also an art student and teacher, lent me his welding equipment. The rising of the bird from automotive ashes was viewed by both Jack Shadbolt and Don Jarvis, from the Vancouver School of Art. These substantive figures in the British Columbia Art World were friends of Bill West. Don and I struck up a very brief friendship in which he traded one of his serigraphs for one of my smaller metal sculptures.

In August, the Phoenix was mounted on a concrete plinth outside the theatre entrance. The forms for the plinth were constructed with the assistance of Bill and Wolfgang Baba. As we poured the concrete, Bill arrived with countless wire coat hangers to throw in the form, thus making the plinth impregnable. Bill appeared to have a healthy mistrust for those in positions of power.

The next spring, I went to the fourth convocation of the University Of Victoria held in the Drill Hall of the Army Camp. Nothing was said of the "Bird". In fact, it has gone without mention by the University to this day. The sculpture, which made the cover of the "Victoria Shopper" in February 1969, stood in quiet vigil next to the original Phoenix Theatre for many years. Then it disappeared.

I have always thought the disappearance was somewhat ironic and poetic. The unwanted, unwashed and unnoticed simply vanish, such a tidy end.

The old Phoenix Theatre huts were razed in 1982. The present theatre now has such a long history that what was accomplished in those old huts has mostly faded into obscurity and oblivion like the mythical metal bird of 1966.

© Copyright 2012 David Allan/Phoenix Associates Incorporated