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New Ground

A Memoir of Art in the Kootenays

Ann Kujundzic

In the late fifties, Ann Kujundzic, her husband and artist Zeljko, and three children—with a fourth on the way—packed up their lives in post-war Edinburgh and emigrated to the Kootenays in BC, seeking adventure and opportunity. In Nelson, Ann was involved in establishing the Kootenay School of Art in 1960, a remarkable institution whose history has yet to be documented in the way it merits—until now.

New Ground: A Memoir of Art in the Kootenays is the extraordinary memoir of a feminist, artist and activist who fought for change no matter her circumstance. The Kootenay School of Art was the first of its kind in the region, but it only marked the beginning of what would become Kujundzic’s life-long journey to strengthen the artistic and political environment of BC. She and Zeljko established the Kelowna Art Centre, collaborated with George and Norma Ryga, joined the Voice of Women, lived and worked on a co-op farm, fought for women’s reproductive rights and social justice, and joined the Raging Grannies to fight against the military’s recruitment of the youth, all while juggling the roles inherent of motherhood. She travelled the world—often alone, with nothing but a phrase book to aid her—to places like Nunavut, Yugoslavia, Bethlehem and Hong Kong to keep her politics globally sound.

Honest, intelligent and brave, New Ground shares the life of a remarkable woman whose efforts in the political and artistic communities of BC are still being felt today.