Movie night raising funds to maintain late artist Vernon’s paintings


An event at the Vernon Towne Theater will raise funds to support a project that has brought the works of Sveva Caetani back to Vernon.

Wanda Fisher hosted an evening of entertainment in support of the Bring Sveva Home project, which in 2021 transported artwork by Sveva Caetani from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts to the Caetani Center in Vernon, the former home of the late Vernon artist, which is now a museum and artist-in-residence space.

“What they need funds for is to protect the art, to show the art…and they need special conditions to be stored and special spaces to hang them,” said Fisher, who has been passionate about Caetani property for 30 years.

On Wednesday, November 16, people can come to the Towne Theater for a screening of the documentary Sveva Imprisoned. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., with live music on stage from Neil Fraser, Gus Hansen and Tanya Lipscomb beginning at 6 p.m. and the film beginning at 7 p.m.

Italian cuisine also participates by offering a 10% discount to people who can show proof of purchase of their cinema ticket.

In the theater lobby, patrons will find an art exhibition and sale. Seventeen local artists are exhibiting their works and part of the proceeds from purchased works will support the Bring Sveva Home project. The works will be exhibited throughout the month of November.

Written, filmed and produced by local filmmaker Jim Elderton, Sveva Imprisoned follows the story of Sveva Caetani’s emergence as a teacher, mentor and respected artist despite the hardships she endured following the death of her father in 1935.

Brought from Italy to Vernon by her parents at the age of three, Sveva eventually withdrew from society due to her mother’s grief and mental illness. Isolated from the world, she was not allowed to leave her home in Vernon unaccompanied for 25 years.

When her mother died in 1960, Sveva was 43 and had to find a way to reintegrate into society. Not having finished high school, she had few prospects and also little money. However, she was able to get a job as a teacher and also started painting again, which her mother had discouraged her from doing during their isolation.

Sveva Imprisoned premiered in 2005, setting an attendance record at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Center. It was then accepted into the Miami International Women’s Film Festival. Several versions of the film have since been released, featuring interviews with community members who knew Sveva and the addition of Caetani family film footage shot in Vernon in the 1930s.

Sveva Caetani’s Recapitulation series consists of 47 separate works comprised of 60 unique watercolors which she took 11 years to complete in the late 1970s and 1980s. The paintings depict the inspiring and challenging life story by the late Vernon artist and are loosely based on Dante Alighieri’s narrative poem The Divine Comedy. Only part of the series is currently on display in the Center Caetani gallery.

Tickets to The Power of Music, Art and Film are $30 and can be purchased at the Towne Theater or on line. Customers can also bring cash to purchase tickets for a chance to win door prizes.

Brendan Shykora


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