Previously located in AH 101 (Administration Humanities atrium)
8 printed nylon banners, brass weights
360″ x 30″ ea.
University of Regina President’s Art Collection; pc.1973.2
Takao Tanabe CM OBC RCA (b. 1926) was commissioned to create Untitled (Banners) (1973) for the new Administration Humanities building, part of a major campus expansion and a period of intense contemporary art collecting intended to enrich the University’s environment. He installed the banners in early 1974 (rather perilously hanging from scaffolding five stories high). At the time, Tanabe was the newly-instated Chair of the Visual Arts Department at the Banff School of Fine Arts, and also produced similar banner designs for the University of Alberta, Confederation Centre, Charlottetown, the Winnipeg Centennial Concert Hall and the Canadian Embassy in Mexico City. At the University of Regina, golden and purple hues dominated the banners, with concentric, geometric shapes forming abstract patterns. Overall, they gave the effect of stained glass windows, with the translucent fabric gently floating along air currents above visitors to the Ad Hum pit area. To our knowledge, the University’s banners were the last remaining on display in Canada when they were removed in August 2022 due to poor condition.
Tanabe has earned a reputation for being one of Canada’s most beloved senior artists, and is best-known for abstract and landscape paintings (including a prairie series entitled The Land (1972-76)). Born in Seal Cove, B.C, his happy childhood was cut short when his family were forcibly relocated to an internment camp for Japanese-Canadians during WWII. He sought work as an indentured labourer in Winnipeg, the city in which he would begin extensive studies in art, beginning in 1946 at the Winnipeg School of Art. He went on to travel and train under accomplished artists in Vancouver, New York, Banff, London and Tokyo, becoming an instructor himself in 1961. Eventually, he returned to B.C., where he currently lives. His work can be found in collections around the world, including the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, Art Gallery of Ontario, Canada Council Art Bank, Glenbow Museum, Calgary; McMaster Museum of Art, Hamilton; National Gallery of Canada, Tate Museum, U.K.; Vancouver Art Gallery; Four Seasons Hotels; Scotiabank and UBS Canada Inc. Tanabe was the recipient of the Order of British Columbia (1993), Order of Canada (Member, 1999), the Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts (2003) and Audain Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts (2013).