Lilian Broca

Lilian Broca

Guardian Angel, Lilian Broca, Lithograph, n.d. 41 x 86 cm, 1997.02.01

Gift of the artist

Lilian Broca graduated from Concordia University in Montreal with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1968 and with a Master of Fine Arts Degree from Pratt Institute in New York, in 1971. Ever since then, Broca has been a full time working visual artist. For thirteen years she was a Fine Arts Faculty member at Kwantlen College where she taught studio courses in Painting and Drawing. Her art career spans 27 years during which she had 20 Solo Exhibitions and 27 Group Exhibitions in many parts of Canada and the United States. Her work is included in important private and public collections across North America, such as the Vancouver Art Gallery, Concordia University, Simon Fraser University, Richmond Art Gallery, Vancouver City Hall, Vancouver Public Library, Yukon Territorial Art Collection and many others.

Broca's preoccupation with the legendary figure Lilith goes back to an exhibition of paintings and drawings of Goddesses in 1993. Since then, through extensive research both in Hebrew and English, she put together the different versions of the legend and created artworks seen from a woman's point of view. Throughout her career, Broca's work has been dealing with social issues and the nature of the human condition (particularly women). In 1995, the Women Television Network's (WTN) program The Creators produced a thirteen minute profile on Broca and her art which was aired nationally. The artist introduced the legendary Lilith to the public through her artworks as well as the various stories which represent this dynamic figure. As a guest lecturer at both Simon Fraser University and University of British Columbia, Broca had the opportunity to introduce Lilith to Religious Studies students in a series of lectures on "Eve through the Ages" seen though 1000 years of painting, sculpture and prints. The artist lectured at several other institutions and community centres on the same subject.

Broca's work appears in two feature films, (both about strong women), By Design, 1982, Berryl Fox, producer, and Serving in Silence, 1994, Barbra Streisand and Glenn Close, executive producers. For Serving in Silence she was hired to draw several portraits of Glenn Close as well as fill three pages of sketches for Judy Davis whose character role was a visual artist. Broca worked closely with both actresses during the scenes filmed in her own studio in Vancouver, BC.

I create large scale mosaic glass art works using historical iconography and an ancient medium – smalto glass – to comment on contemporary societal issues. My mythological subjects reflect an internationalism, a worldly awareness attuned to significant concerns. I draw attention to political grievances, acts of exclusion, suppression and violence. Legends and fairy tales are all myths that carry powerful messages. Using their symbolism I pose questions about the relevance of allegorical role models for today’s youth. In previous bodies of work, including paintings and drawings, I have exposed the need for gender equality and the ever-changing roles between sexes. My narrative glass mosaics express ideas about the role of women which also extend to more universal statements about the human condition.
– Lilian Broca