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I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather lately and I am currently fighting off some sinus pains. But I will use this weekend to regenerate.
This week I assisted in the marketing of Beat Nation. The exhibition catalogue and a letter of explanation is being sent to various locations in hopes that it will be added many libraries and generate some national interest. Also, the Altered exhibition catalogue in now available for purchase in the galleries online store.
Next week is ECUAD’s reading week, so I will be exploring the archive all week and posting things of interest that I stumble across.
This is a review I wrote for the Salish Seas
The Salish Seas exhibition is curated by Tania Willard of the Secwepemc Nation and is presented at the Gallery Gachet. Furthermore, the exhibition works in conjunction with the project Salish Seas a Anthology of Text + Image, and if offers perspectives of established and emerging urban Aboriginal artists living on Coast Salish lands. Particularly, the exhibition featured writers and multidisciplinary artists form The Aboriginal Writers Collective West Coast including artists Sonny Assu, Janice Toulouse, Kevin McKenzie, Duncan Murdoch, Dionne Paul, joAnne Noble, Cease Wyss, Kelly Roulette, Kamala Tood and Michelle Sylliboy. Gachet is located in Vancouver’s downtown east-side, and offers their space to create a dialogue with outsider artists in order to remove the public’s misconceptions regarding mental health issues. Although this exhibition does not concentrate on mental health, it does create a dialogue concerning urban Aboriginal identity which is often relevant to social issues in Vancouver.
On a display made of thrift store chairs and a blanket, there are three pairs of moccasins placed for consideration. The moccasins are made of a combination of waste materials and traditional materials, and paper acts as the hide while an old beer box is delicately beaded to embellish the moccasin. Anishinabe artist Charlene Vicker’s installation Survival of Culture is reminiscent of the Aboriginal art work sold on the street-corners of the Downtown Eastside. The piece also discusses the commodification of Aboriginal cultural arts, and resulting effect’s it has had on Aboriginal artists work.
Furthermore, the materials carry social and cultural significance. Although alcoholism is referenced, there is a sense of a struggle to continue traditional practices despite social challenges.
There is a strong response to environmental issues within the exhibition. Specifically, issues of delegation and degradation of the land and water. Aboriginal artist Merritt Johnson’s installation Oiled Bird conjures up memories of recent oil spills which had devastating affects on wildlife. A corpse of a bird is drenched in a mess of gold and only slightly elevated off the ground. Gold stands in for oil, and the bird is present as a casualty of this valued resource. In essence the viewer is faced with the direct relationship between urbanization and environmental degradation.
The exhibition honors the Coast Salish territory and examines environmental issues, origin, identity, and home. Text appears within the exhibition in the form of quotes on the walls by Aboriginal writers; the quotes are often questions of identity and home. Moreover, the exhibition reveals the dialogue that has been developed amongst urban Aboriginal peoples. Offering pride in identity and challenging contemporary social issues from history.
(Me and Tania Willard at the Salish Seas opening)
Thank you for reading,