Jul 152017

New Canadian & Indigenous Galleries
National Gallery of Canada
Photo: Ann Cameron

The National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa has replaced its former historical Canadian art galleries with a newly created space and a new presentation of the history of art in Canada. Works by Indigenous peoples are a part of the dialogue. The most stunning moment is the juxtaposition of the abstract and minimalist painters of the 1960’s with strong and abstracted sculptures of the Inuit artists who first came to an eager southern market at that time.

Canadian and Indigenous Art: From Time Immemorial to 1967 is in a more open space: gallery walls were removed and some re-situated, ceilings were opened, floors changed. The Garden Court has also been renewed with a design by the original landscape architect Cornelia Hahn Oberlander, who worked jointly with Vancouver landscape architects Enns Gauthier.

Many of the historical works by indigenous peoples, chosen in consultation with an Indigenous advisory committee, were borrowed from other collections. Light-sensitive pieces will be replaced by others over time. The Gallery has changed its collection policy to include both contemporary and traditional indigenous work.

For a critic’s take on the project, see

Curator Christine Lalonde and Michael Dangeli
at the NGC in Ottawa
Photo: Ann Cameron

Jul 152017

Meghann O’Brien at the Bill Reid Gallery
Photo: Meghann O’Brien

The Bill Reid Gallery in Vancouver is “renewing material in the exhibition of O’Brien’s weaving at the Gallery. O’Brien’s most recent and innovative work is included in the display.

The main show at the BRG, besides the excellent presentation of Bill Reid’s work, is Xi Xanya Dzam – Those who are amazing at making things, which runs from April 5 to September 4, 2017. It presents some of British Columbia’s most celebrated First Nations artists.

Jul 152017

Delores Churchill, Ravens Tail Tunic
Schack Art Center, Everett WA

Extraordinary Basketry, Textiles and Sculptures from N.W. Collections is an exhibition of traditional and contemporary work collected by two prominent Northwest coast art families, as well as new work by Haida weaver Lisa Telford. It is being displayed at the Schack Art Center in Everett Washington, just over two hour’s drive south of Vancouver. The show continues until July 29, 2017.

A related exhibition Interwoven Dialogues: The Architecture of Basketry, photographs by Susan Gans of indigenous basketry from the Everett Museum of History Collection will run At the Schack Center until August 27, 2017.

For more, see

Jul 152017

Apprentices Working in Massett
Photo: From Haida Laas, Council of the Haida Nation

A magnificent 51-foot pole was raised in Hiellen HG on June 21, 2017. See The Beat (April 2017).

“We are recreating a pole from the 1820’s, that stood on Haida Gwaii for 100 years and then stood in Prince Rupert for 50 years before returning back home on Haida Gwaii to be stored with 7idansuu Jim Hart,” said Kilthguulans, artist Christian White, who headed a team of apprentices and journeymen. For more on the ceremony, see

Also on the Haida Gwaii, the Fourth Annual Art Auction & Dance Fundraiser will be held in Skidegate on Saturday, September 30. Tickets can be purchased at the Haida Gwaii Museum.

Jul 152017

Tarah Hogue
Photo: Amanda Strong

The Vancouver Art Gallery has appointed former grunt gallery curator Tarah Hogue as its first senior curatorial fellow focussing on Indigenous Art. She will start work in September.

Hogue was born in Red Deer AB and holds a bachelor of art history degree from Queen’s University as well as a master of art history degree in critical curatorial studies from UBC. She’s been curator at the grunt since 2014 and was Tarah Hogue was the 2016 Audain Aboriginal Curatorial Fellow at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.

Jul 152017

Heiltsuk Artist, Articulated Owl Mask, c.1830-50
Promised Gift, Audain Collection

The Audain Art Museum in Whistler has invited Curator Emeritus (MOA) Bill McLennan to meet with gallery visitors for an afternoon discussion of the Audain’s historical First Nations Collection, on July 22, 2017 at 2 pm.

Jun 092017

Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson, Grizzly Bear Woman
Photo courtesy of Raven Calling Productions, Farah Nosh Photography

Out of Concealment, a very creative and unusual cultural exhibition opens the evening of June 16, 2017, at the Haida Gwaii Museum at the Heritage Centre in Skidegate HG.

Artist Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson is a prominent Haida activist lawyer, and plays a strong role in contemporary and traditional Haida culture.

Recently she undertook a photography project in which she herself appears as some of the female supernatural beings and crest images of Haida legend: Volcano Woman, Cedar Sister, Landslide, and others.

“The process of undergoing the transformation into Supernatural Beings and Crest Figures is a familiar process for indigenous dancers, but undergoing a transformation whereby one retains part of our human nature is a different process. It is a journey paralleling that of Indigenous People today; one of stepping into and revealing our inherent power and connections with the earth and ocean,” states the artist.

For more about the museum, see

The exhibition is accompanied by a book, Out of Concealment: Female Supernatural Beings of Haida Gwaii, available from July 18, 2017. This publication features over thirty full-colour photo collages on this theme. The collages also integrate traditional Haida form-line art by Robert Davidson. Each image is accompanied by thoughtful text describing the supernatural beings’ place in Haida mythology. Out of Concealment encourages readers to see the feminine aspect of the powerful land and seascapes of Haida Gwaii, through a worldview where the environment is worthy of respect, not to be dominated or exploited.

Jun 092017

In 1998 Marianne Nicolson astonished everyone by painting an 11.5-m. crest symbol on a high sheer cliff near her ancestral village Gwa’yi (Kingcome Inlet). Documentation relating to this brave, high-risk act, a statement of possession of the land is the anchor of a new exhibition of her work at the Nanaimo Art Gallery, Awi’nagwiskasu: Real Land: Marianne Nicolson. Many of the paintings, light-installations and videos in the Nanaimo show also relate to the artist’s sense of the urgency concerning global warming’s effect on communities on the seacoasts of our earth. The exhibition runs until July 2, 2017. Nicolson is creating a new public artwork on the back exterior of the Nanaimo Art Gallery, a large colourful bill board that will be revealed on June 25.

To highlight Nicolson’s interrelated practices as a linguist, anthropologist, and a visual artist, a new “risograph” print edition that compiles titles of Nicolson’s works from 1998-2016 in both English and Kwak’wala will be produced in connection with the exhibition.


Jun 092017

Marianne Nicolson, The Sun is Setting on the British Empire, 2016

SBC Gallery of Contemporary Art is a non-profit exhibition centre in Montreal, dedicated to providing artists and art workers a forum for projects that deal with current issues in art, culture and society. For a year it is hosting the Woodland School project, an experiment with what it means for settler-colonial infrastructures to work in service of Indigenous imperatives. Drawing a Line from January to December/ Kahatènhston tsi na’tetiátere ne Iotohrkó:wa tánon Iotohrha involves a number of artists, including Duane Linklater, Gabrielle L’Hirondelle, Marianne Nicolson, Brian Jungen, and others. The project is structured as a single exhibition unfolding over the course of a year, where the tenets of treaty—mutual accountability, reciprocity, relation across difference and stewardship of resources—can be enacted. See

Jun 092017

Tlingit Heixwaa (amulet) with bear and human-like imagery, c. 1850
Museum of Anthropology, Promised Gift

On June 22, 2017, the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver opens its new Gallery of Northwest Coast Masterworks with an exhibition, In a Different Light: Reflecting on Northwest Coast Art. The gallery opens on the evening of June 22, 2017. (The project of building a new space for a recently donated collection is described in The Beat November/December 2016.)

The architect of this project is Noel Best of Stantec. The relocation of the Ames Theatre at MOA is a Phase II project.


Jun 092017

Coastal Peoples new location in Vancouver

The Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery in Vancouver’s Gastown neighbourhood has moved to a new location at 332 Water Street, Unit 200.

A celebration is planned for June. The Gallery carries work by many prominent Northwest coast artists, sculpture and jewellery, as well as art of the Inuit, Maori and Plains peoples.

Jun 092017


Canada 150

It has been 150 years since Canada became a distinct nation, with an elected government. Many of the commemorative events mentioned in The Beat recently have been partially or completely financed by the government of Canada’s 150 Fund.Given the history of our country, the Indigenous peoples’ view of the events connected to this anniversary date is very diverse. We respect all of the widely differing sentiments on this issue. In fact, all government-sponsored events on Indigenous and national identity raise important questions.

Jun 092017

The Athens venue for Beau Dick’s work
Photo: LaTiesha Fazakas

Dick’s works in Kassel, Germany
Photo: LaTiesha Fazakas

The late artist Beau Dick’s work is currently exhibited at Documenta14 in Athens to July 16, 2017 and in Kassel, Germany until September 17, 2017.The artists were asked to develop work for each venue.

May 092017

Linnea Dick delivers a tribute to her late father, Beau Dick, at MOA
Photo: Ann Cameron

A very large gathering of the many family, friends, colleagues and admirers of the late artist Beau Dick took place at the University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology on April 30, 2017.

In the above photograph, Cole Speck and Alan Hunt are standing with the artist’s daughter, Linnea.

LaTiesha Fazakas of the Fazakas Gallery has created a documentary on the artist, soon to be released: Beau Dick: Maker of Monsters.

May 092017

Triquet Island in the territory of the Heiltsuk Nation

An excavation at Triquet Island in the Heiltsuk territory of the British Columbia coast has confirmed a tradition of the Heiltsuk origins. It has provided evidence that the Heiltsuk nation has lived in the area and on the island for over 14,000 years.

Several extremely rare artifacts, some decorated, including a wooden atlatl, fish hooks and a hand drill have been found on the site.

The University of Victoria’s Anthropology Department has partnered with the Heiltsuk Nation in the project.

Although sites of habitation in North America that may have been earlier have been studied, this one is very special. It will support Heiltsuk land claims based on longstanding habitation, and its findings also suggest that early migration from Siberia was likely by skilled navigators.

May 092017

LessLIE Sam, Serpents
Stonington Gallery, Seattle

The Stonington Gallery in Seattle has an exhibition Salish Sound Waves: A Group Exhibit of Cutting-Edge Indigenous Visual Artists, until May 28, 2017, running concurrently with the Upstream Music Festival in nearby Pioneer Square. Artists include Marika Swan, LessLIE, Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, Maynard Johnny Jr. and others.

May 092017

The Burnaby Art Gallery
Photo: Ann Cameron

The Salish Weave Collection at the Burnaby Art Gallery
Photo: Ann Cameron

The third largest art gallery collection in British Columbia, the Burnaby Art Gallery has a varied exhibition program, and a collection policy favouring works on paper.

Appropriately, it is currently a good place to see original prints by First Nations artists. The recent donation of a group of prints from the Salish Weave Collection is on view until May 31, 2017. The Salish Weave Collection is a private collection of contemporary Coast Salish art that “weaves together the distinctive forms and designs of established and emerging artists.” Among artists collected by the donors are Andy Everson, Maynard Johnny Jr., lessLIE, Luke and John Marston, Chris Paul, Susan Point and Dylan Thomas.

May 092017

Rande Cooke,
Boy in the Sky, 2017
Fazakas Gallery, Vancouver

Artists Rande Cook and Carollyne Yardley have collaborated again on a themed exhibition, Shapeshifting, at the Fazakas Gallery until May 27, 2017.

The artists drew inspiration from traditional Kwakwaka’wakw First Nation origin stories and cosmology in their ongoing investigation into the animation of the human existence.

In a version of the story of the Sun, artist Doug Cranmer used to tell Cooke about The Boy in the Sky, “a little guy who gets up every morning, puts his abalone earrings on and walks across the sky. His earrings are the things that get the light.”

Other works are a hybrid between western and indigenous traditions and experiences. For more about the show, see

May 092017

The New Burke Museum, Seattle

Work is progressing on the new Burke Museum building on the Seattle campus of the University of Washington. Walls are up, and a roof frame appears to be covering the construction. The single-pitch shed style roof is inspired by the traditional structures of the Coast Salish people of Puget Sound. The opening is set for 2019.

The old Museum, with its impressive collection of Northwest Coast art, continues to be open to the public. The Burke’s annual Native Art Market will be held on Saturday, May 13, 2017 at the museum.

May 092017

The 2016 Scholarship and Grants Reception at YVR
Photo: Ann Cameron

The Vancouver Airport Art Foundation supports BC and Yukon First Nations’ art and artists in several ways. It awards scholarships to young artists, and, in a separate program, to mid-career artists. Travel grants, “Masterpiece Study”, are awarded to artists who plan to study the visual history of their culture in the collections of various museums. A new program for high school age young people supports the recipients’ self-directed work in the visual arts.

In late May, the YVR Airport hosts an event which gathers the recipients, their mentors and families, and donors to the programs, to celebrate the achievements of the recipients. For the names of the 2017 recipients, see

May 092017

Charles Joseph, The Residential School Pole, 2014-16
Collection: Jim Balsillie

On May 3, a 21-m. totem pole by Kwakwaka’wakw artist Charles Joseph was raised just outside the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Attending the ceremony were Mayor Denis Coderre and elders from nearby Mohawk communities.

At six, Joseph was taken from his family to attend residential school in Alert Bay. He described the making of the Residential School Pole as an opportunity to heal, to let go of the pain of that experience. At the bottom of the pole is the figure of a First Nations mother welcoming her children home.

The pole will be in Montreal for the next six months, part of the city’s open-air museum, A Walk of Peace, which celebrates Montreal’s 375th and Canada’s 150th anniversaries. Afterwards the pole will travel to a site near Toronto.

Dr. Michael Lickers, master of the raising ceremony, wisely stated: “Reconciliation is not just about saying, ‘I understand’. It means putting into action what we say we’re going to do.”

For photographs and more information on the symbolism of the pole, see

May 092017

Spirit Wrestler Gallery

Vancouver’s Spirit Wrestler Gallery will hold its annual exhibition, Northern Exposure, of work by staff and students of the Freda Diesing School of Northwest Coast Art in Terrace BC. This year is the 10th Anniversary exhibition, and past students have also been invited to submit recent pieces.

A preview of the show is at the Gallery at 1669 West 3rd Avenue in Vancouver on May 25th and 26th. An opening reception with the artists is on Saturday May 27, 2017, at 1 pm.

Apr 112017

James Hart, Reconciliation Pole, UBC
Photo: Ann Cameron

The Reconciliation Pole now stands in a prominent position at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

A detailed explanation of the symbolism of the figures on the pole is in an article by Amanda Siebert at


Apr 112017

Beau Dick 1955 -2017

Already in poor health, Kwakwaka’wakw artist Beau Dick died on March 27, 2017, in Vancouver, at the age of 61.

His work is admired internationally, and is included in Documenta 14 opening in April in Greece, then later in Kassel Germany.

His deep and wonderful character and culture, his generosity and imagination, are widely praised and remembered with sadness.

A collection of tributes is at

Documenta14 has been a renowned international exhibition project since 1955. The office creates a definitive listing of names of influential avant garde artists for exhibition, and has in the last few years included indigenous artists such as Canada’s Brian Jungen in 2012, and this year Rebecca Belmore and, for example, the Sami Artist Group of Northern European indigenous artists. Indigenous curator Candice Hopkins was appointed as a curatorial advisor in 2015.

It opened in Athens on April 8, 2017.


Apr 112017

Joe David, Drum
Photo: Kenji Nagai

The Bill Reid Gallery in Vancouver is exhibiting 11 of the artist recipients of the BC Lifetime Creative Achievement Awards for First Nations Art. The award program has, since 2007, honoured a range of outstanding First Nations artists from 11 different nations within the province.

The artists work in diverse media: traditional masks, carvings, baskets and moosehide, as well as prints, sculptures and jewelry.

Co-curators Lou-Ann Neel and Beth Carter offer a public tour of the show on Saturday, April 8 at 2 pm. An artist’s talk by Morgan Asoyuf is on Saturday, April 29, 2017, at 2pm.

The exhibition title, Xi Xanya Dzam (pronounced hee hun ya zam) is a Kwak’wala phrase describing exceptionally talented people. The BRG exhibition continues until September 4, 2017.

The 2016 Lifetime Award recipient was Susan Point, whose solo show continues at the Vancouver Art Gallery until May 28, 2017. DO NOT MISS!

Apr 112017

Marianne Nicolson,
La’am’lawisuxw yaxuxsans ‘nalax, – Then the deluge of our world came…”
Photo: Permission of the Artist

Artists Sonny Assu, LessLIE and Marianne Nicolson have new work in Awakening Memory, a show running until April 29, 2017 at Open Space Gallery. Open Space is an artist-run centre, founded in 1972, located on the second floor of 510 Fort Street in Victoria.

Awakening Memory focuses on both customary and contemporary stories to explore the history, agency and value of an art object from Indigenous perspectives.” Art critic Robert Amos comments: “Nicolson has prepared her panels with a sparkling slate colour to look something like rock. Then with red paint, she painted a rollicking scene of animals with a treasure box in a canoe.” The full article is at:

Apr 112017

Marianne Nicolson, There’s Blood in the Rocks video, 2016
Legacy Gallery, Victoria

As part of the Legacy Art Galleries Canada’s 150 Years anniversary, a series of Origin Stories respectfully acknowledges a much longer history by presenting First Nations narratives that move beyond limited settler versions of history. Kwakwaka’wakw artist Marianne Nicolson uses pictographic imagery and song in a powerful video installation that tells the history of the 1862 small pox epidemic in Victoria which utterly devastated thousands of West Coast First Nations people. At Legacy Downtown until September 16, 2017.

Apr 112017

More than a history of relations between the indigenous nations and the European settlers, and eventually rulers, of North America, Blood and Land examines the “the paradoxes, diversity and successes of Native North Americans. Their astonishing ingenuity and supple intelligence enabled, after centuries of suffering both violence and dispossession, a striking level of recovery, optimism and autonomy in the twenty-first century.”

It is one of the few books which clarifies the differences in the ways that Canadian First Nations were treated and reacted to oppression, as opposed to American strategies and laws.

Jonathan King, in his nearly forty years as curator at the British Museum and now as the Von Hugel Fellow at the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology at Cambridge University, travelled and worked with many North American native peoples, and had a particular interest in the Haida nation. The book is available abroad in hard cover and paperback, and in Canada in ebook format through Amazon.

Apr 112017

Carving Shed in Haida Gwaii

In December 2016 Kilthguulans (Christian White) announced Totem in the Forest, a new project in the Haida Gwaii, the creation of a pole, based on a design by Sqiltcange, great-uncle to Charles Edenshaw. The pole includes a raven and eagle story and some watchmen. Featured subjects are a female grizzly bear and her two cubs, and beneath, a male grizzly who is, in fact, a doorway to enter House for a Large Crowd of People. The house and pole were still standing in Haida Gwaii when Emily Carr painted it many years later.

Seven young carvers enrolled at Northwest Community College have been working under the direction of Christian White and his son Vernon, preparing for the raising of the 52’ pole at Taaw (Tow) Hill on Haida Gwaii, on June 21, 2017.

Mar 132017

Susan Point at the Vancouver Art Gallery
Photo: Ann Cameron

The Vancouver Art Gallery has opened a large and exceptional exhibition of the work of Musqueam artist Susan Point. The show focuses on the theme of the drop spindle whorl, one of the traditional implements in preparing wool for Salish weaving, and offers the visitor a wide and deep look at the creativity of a prolific and brilliant artist. The range of media and brilliant creativity of her vision are extraordinary. The exhibition closes on May 28, 2017.

A fully illustrated 160-page catalogue, co-published by Black Dog Publishing and the Vancouver Art Gallery, accompanies the exhibition.

An interesting teachers’ guide is online at

Mar 132017

Marianne Nicolson, The Sun is Setting on the British Empire, 2016
at the Belkin Gallery, UBC, Vancouver
Photo: Ann Cameron

A powerful new work by Marianne Nicolson has appeared on the east-facing wall of UBC’s Morris and Helen Belkin Gallery in connection with the exhibition To refuse/To wait/To sleep. Nicolson states that the piece “reworks the elements of the British Columbia flag, restoring the original position of the sun above the Union Jack, thereby symbolically altering the economic and political relationships it signifies.”

On March 25 at 1 pm, Nicolson will be at the Belkin for an artist talk. She will discuss her art practice as it engages with Indigenous histories and politics, and relating oral traditions to methodologies of archival research.

Two Nicolson works, Tunics of the Changing Tide, 2007, are hanging in the Walter C. Koerner Library on the UBC Main Mall.

The exhibition is at UBC until April 9, 2017.

Mar 132017

James Hart, Reconciliation Pole

At 1 pm on April 1, 2017, also at the University of British Columbia, the raising of the magnificent Reconciliation Pole by Haida Master James Hart will take place in the Main Mall. (See The Beat October 2016.)

The public is invited to the raising (expected to take up to 1 ½ hours), the ceremony and the Salmon Barbeque afterwards.

Mar 132017

Brian Jungen, Shapeshifter, 2000
National Gallery of Canada

The National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa is re-installing its galleries of the history of Canadian art to provide a better and more inclusive look at our nation’s culture. The new galleries will open on June 15th 2017, for the 150th anniversary of Confederation.

In the meantime there is a special display in the Upper Contemporary Gallery of the NGC where Brian Jungen’s Shapeshifter of 2000 and Vienna of 2003 are currently on view together. Although both works are part of the permanent national collection, their size, 6.6 metres and 8.5 metres respectively has meant that they are rarely displayed side by side.

For more, see

Mar 132017

Emily Carr University of Art + Design has an active Aboriginal Program. Its Annual Aboriginal Student Exhibition, Re-Forming will open on Friday March 24, 2017, with a reception from 4:30 to 6:30 pm in the Concourse Gallery. The curators state: “We want to highlight how Indigenous people are engaging with the reformation of culture, languages, politics and creative aesthetic.

For more see

A recent publication by Richard William Hill, Emily Carr’s Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Studies, in Canadian Art magazine has eight important texts that “put things in perspective” for contemporary First Nations art. You can find it at

Mar 132017

Robert Davidson, Xyaalang (Dancing), 2013

The Art Gallery of Hamilton has opened an exhibition circulated by the McCord Museum in Montreal, placing the contemporary work of the well-known Haida artist Robert Davidson in the context of the great Haida tradition. The McCord Museum worked with Davidson to guide the selection of historic artworks and discuss their significance. All the historical objects in this exhibition are from the collection of the McCord Museum, with Davidson’s insights woven into the exhibition commentary.

The show, Expanding the Circle: Robert Davidson and the Ancient Language of Haida Art, closes on May 28, 2017.


Mar 132017

Patrick Amos,
Bird Rattle, 1980’s
Trustees of the British Museum

A new exhibition will open in March at the British Museum in London, England. Where the Thunderbird Lives: Cultural Resistance on the Northwest Coast of North America. It is the British Museum’s first exhibition focusing on the Pacific Northwest Coast. The exhibition commemorates the tradition of the Thunderbird. One side of the exhibition will display themes of strength showcasing 2,500 year old stone tools and early historic weapons. The other side will feature contemporary art and regalia from the Northwest Coast collections as testament to the innovative practices and economic adaptation of these thriving communities following the arrival of Europeans in the 18th Century. The exhibition continues until August 27, 2017.

Mar 132017

Jody Broomfield, Welcome Pole, 2016
Photo: Simon Fraser University Student Central

Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, in Greater Vancouver, plans to continue its program of Reconciliation and installing First Nations cultural objects on its campus. Most recently, on the Burnaby campus, a 25-foot pole was raised of a Coast Salish welcoming figure in traditional regalia above an eagle. Squamish artist Jody Broomfield directed the carving team.

In September SFU plans to unveil a pole created by a Musqueam artist at its downtown campus. A project for the Surrey campus is underway.

Mar 132017

The Bill Reid Gallery, Raven’s Feast 2016
Photo: Ann Cameron

Vancouver’s Bill Reid Gallery’s annual fundraising event, Raven’s Feast, will be held on Tuesday, May 2, 2017, at the Gallery. The evening includes a fine dinner, and an auction of a select collection of contemporary indigenous art.

For tickets, see

Or telephone the Gallery at 604.682.3455.

Mar 132017

Ellen Neel in the 1950’s

Until April 1, 2017, an exhibition at the Legacy Gallery Downtown in Victoria honours a pioneer female First Nations artist with Ellen Neel: The First Woman Totem Pole Carver. Neel (1916-1966), learned to carve from her grandfather Charlie James, and both created poles for Stanley Park, a very early acknowledgement of First Nations culture by the City of Vancouver. The exhibition includes work by contemporary members of Ellen Neel’s family.

The exhibitions of Susan Point and Ellen Neel are reviewed at:

Feb 132017

Darlene Gait, BC Ferries’ The Salish Orca

Esquimalt artist Darlene Gait, commissioned by the BC Ferries to design the hull of a new ferry, has now had a chance to see the completed project. The three new natural gas and diesel-powered ferries were built in Poland.

The Salish Orca, Ms. Gait’s project, is in Tswassen for training sessions. The Salish Eagle designed by John Marston of the Stz’uminus First Nation is expected in BC in March, and Salish Raven, by Musqueam Thomas Cannell, will arrive in May 2017.

The figurative work was applied to the hull on a massive decal, and a time-lapse video of the process is on the BC Ferries website at

Feb 132017

The Vancouver Art Gallery has organized a major new exhibition, Susan Point: Spindle Whorl. On view from February 18 to May 28, 2017 at the Gallery, this exhibition covers the artist’s impressive career of three and a half decades, including over a hundred print and sculptural artworks that take the spindle whorl as their starting point. The Coast Salish spindle whorl has been a persistent motif in Point’s work since the beginning of her career. Traditionally, the whorl was used by Coast Salish women to ritually prepare wool that would be woven into robes. Point has often drawn upon the spindle whorl and the motifs carved into it to provide a formal structure for her art. She uses a uniquely Salish vocabulary of circles, crescents and curved triangles, elements that distinguish the art of her people from the formline-based art of northern First Nations peoples.

The exhibition is accompanied by a 160-page book of essays on Point’s work.

Feb 132017

Two major events in Indigenous performing arts on the BC coast are coming up. The Talking Stick Festival from February 16 to 26, 2017. It includes a wide range of cultural expression. This year a visual arts exhibition has been organized for the Roundhouse in Vancouver’s Yaletown. On event of special interest is an Arts Funding Information Session on February 16 at 1:30 pm. The Canada Council for the Arts, First Peoples’ Cultural Council and BC Arts Council will outline their programs. The Canada Council will offer valuable information about their new funding model, including details for Indigenous artists looking to register in the Council’s online portal.

Feb 132017

The Art Exhibition at an earlier Talking Stick Festival

Featuring a collection of artworks from 11 multidisciplinary artists of Indigenous ancestry, the exhibition Kwèykw`áystway: Speaking With One Another attempts to create generative spaces for contemplation and conversation using the variety of expression found in Indigenous art today.

The exhibition is at 181 Roundhouse Mews in Yaletown from its opening on Wednesday, February 15 at 7 pm to February 25, 2017.

For more see

Feb 132017

An intensive look at Kwantlen First Nation history and culture is showing now in Fort Langley at the Langley Centennial Museum, until March 26 2017.

“Important artifacts are not just made of stone and bone- they are also the living legacies of language and art, ceremony and personal ritual. The exhibit celebrates living connections with the past in large black-and-white portraits, in stunning photographic landscapes, and in new art”.

Langley is less than an hour from Vancouver by car.

There is a review of the We are Kwantlen show at

Feb 132017

Mark Preston, Untitled (Mask 4), yellow cedar
Fazakas Gallery, Vancouver

Vancouver’s Fazakas Gallery is presenting Great North, an exhibition of work by artists Mark Preston and Couzyn van Heuvelen. Preston and van Heuvelen are both from the North; Preston is of Tlingit ancestry and van Heuvelen is Inuk. Both artists are rooted in their respective histories and traditions, and have developed their own vision. This show aims to examine their voices as artists contributing to the Canadian cultural landscape.

The Gallery is at 688 East Hastings Street; the exhibition continues to February 25, 2017. The Fazakas Gallery has organized an interesting program of events for March on the theme of woman and art. There is breaking news about Beau Dick and his participation in Documents 14 this summer in Europe on

Dec 082016


Phil Gray, Odyssey III: With a Vengeance, 2016
Lattimer Gallery

For the past nine years Vancouver’s Lattimer Gallery has organized an event to help support the Urban Native Youth Association, a Vancouver organization which has been providing 21 prevention-focused programs and services to Native youth since 1988. UNYA’s work includes advocacy, community development, and providing youth with meaningful opportunities to provide input into their programs and services.

Metis/Cree artist James Michels made the small cedar boxes that invited artists used as the basis of a work donated to the event. The entire proceeds of the project went to the Urban Native Youth Association. This December a record $88,301.50 was raised. Congratulations!

The boxes are on the Gallery webpage

Dec 082016


A Rendering of the planned Masterworks Gallery at MOA
Museum of Anthropology, UBC, Vancouver

In November, the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver made a double announcement; an anonymous gift of more than 200 fine pieces of traditional Northwest Coast art. The donor, who lives in Montreal, was first impressed by Northwest First Nations art when she viewed the totem poles in Stanley Park in the 1970’s.

The new Masterworks gallery for the display of the donated works is funded by the Doggone Foundation, and a grant from the Federal Government. The new gallery will be installed where the MOA auditorium is now; a new auditorium will expand the building to the east of the main entrance. Expected completion date is National Aboriginal Day, June 21, 2017.

For more details, look for updates at

Dec 082016

Artist Sonny Assu at the Vancouver Art Gallery
Photo: Ann Cameron

On December 3 2016, the Vancouver Art Gallery opened a new exhibition, We Come to Witness: Sonny Assu in Dialogue with Emily Carr, until April 23, 2017.

”Challenging the colonial gaze, Assu merges Indigenous iconography with a pop art sensibility to intervene into the work of Modernist painter Emily Carr and her representations of the landscape and First Nations people.”

The actual works by Emily Carr from the VAG collection are displayed alongside, and commented upon with insight by Assu.

Many of the interventions come out of Assu’s strong interest in science fiction, especially the TV series Star Trek. He manages these pop images with a certain irony; serious Trekkies can fully appreciate the juxtaposition.


Dec 082016

Recipients of the British Columbia Creative Achievement Awards

In November, the 10th British Columbia Creative Achievement Awards for First Nations Art honoured artists (from left to right): Maxine Matilpi, Corrine Hunt, Luke Parnell , Xwalacktun, and Corey W. Moraes.

The Lifetime Creative Achievement Award was given to Susan A. Point, who has spent decades creating Coast Salish art that has deeply inspired artists in BC and the northwestern United States.

A solo show of Susan Point’s work was at the Art Gallery of Western Washington University until December 3, 2016.

See the excellent videos that the British Columbia Achievement Foundation created about the artists, and posts online, at:

Dec 082016

the-beat-novdec-2016_html_62083525Mayor Iverson with the Box of Reconciliation

Edmonton’s mayor, Don Iveson, has opened an Indigenous Art Park in that city, with installations and sculptures by First Nations artists.

The city has also begun to name parks and buildings after aboriginal leaders, as well as local roads and landmarks.

Recently he has been promoting the idea of a Canadian National Museum of Aboriginal Art in Edmonton, on the site of the old Royal Alberta Museum.

A proposal by the Bill Reid Foundation for a National Museum of Aboriginal Art in Vancouver was made in 2005, but it was eventually dropped when government support was not sufficient.

Dec 082016


Simeon Stilthda/Sdiihdaa, Bear Rattle, 19thc.
Newark Museum

The Newark Museum in New Jersey has re-thought and re-created its gallery of North American native art. The new gallery features more than 700 objects from the museum’s large permanent collection of 2,000 works.

The gallery’s new position at the entrance to the installation of American art underlines the primacy of indigenous peoples. One of several innovations: the curators have attempted artist attributions, where previously works were generally identified only by geographical and cultural origin.

Dec 082016

Laakkuluk Bathory
“Ancestral lines from oceans and rivers and lakes all across this big land”

Vancouver’s Grunt Gallery has presented a project #callresponse involving performance, exhibitions and a strong online presence. The call was to “support the work of Indigenous North American women and artists through local art commissions that incite dialogue and catalyze action between individuals, communities, territories and institutions.”

The response, from artists Christi Belcourt, Maria Hupfield, Ursula Johnson, Tania Willard, Tanya Tagaq and Laakkulak Williamson-Bathory, is “To ground art in responsible action, value lived experience, and demonstrate ongoing commitment to accountability and community building” as well as “re/conciliation as a present day negotiation and the reconstruction of communities.”

#callresponse ends at the Grunt, but will tour to Ottawa in 2017 for the CANADA SCENE festival in partnership with the National Arts Centre and SAW Gallery. An exhibition catalogue will be published in 2017.

Dec 082016


Shawn Hunt, Reclining Figure, 2016
Richmond Art Gallery

The Northwest/Cubist-inspired carvings in Shawn Hunt’s work, displayed at the Richmond Art Gallery until December 31, 2016 are part of a duo show entitled Cultural Conflation. The exhibition aims to “examine colonial histories and migration” in the artists’ respective cultures.

The artist video interviews available in the gallery in a separate media room give real insight into the artists’ intentions and experiences.


Dec 082016


2015 Scholarship Recipient Edwin Neel presents his work at YVR
Photo: Ann Cameron

Every year at this time, the Vancouver Airport Art Foundation calls for applications for its Youth Scholarships. Applicants must be of First Nations ancestry, be between the ages of 16 and 26, and creating art that reflects their BC or Yukon First Nations culture. The deadline is January 27, 2017. Additional requirements, and other YVRAF programs, are at the YVRAF website at

Dec 082016

Mia Hunt, Copper/Owl/Raven Wall Hanging, 2010
Collection of Simon Fraser University, Burnaby

If you have ever wondered about the First Nations presence in the campus art collection at Simon Fraser University, you will be pleased to hear that soon more information will be available.

A new Apple app called imesh: Indigenous Art Walk is a self-guided walking tour that describes the indigenous art pieces on the Burnaby campus and at adjacent Burnaby Mountain Park. The app will also connect Aboriginal students and visitors to the myriad services and initiatives on campus.

A Coast Salish Lands Tour is also in production. This tour gives place names in local Coast Salish languages and describes culturally significant landmarks seen from campus.

The app will be launched in the spring of 2017.

Nov 292016



Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission was established in 2008 with the mandate to travel across Canada to document the experiences of Aboriginal children who attended Indian Residential Schools. The commission, headed by Justice Murray Sinclair concluded in 2015. A report was released identifying 94 “Calls to Action” to “redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation”.

Haida artist Jim Hart was commissioned to carve a Reconcilation Pole. Partially completed in the Haida Gwaii, the pole is now in Vancouver. A temporary carving shed is being raised at the University of British Columbia. The public is welcome to visit the shed and watch the final stages of the project. Hart has invited a carver from other First Nations communities across Canada to each carve one of ten faces from his design of the pole.

The unveiling, originally set for October 2016, has been postponed to 2017.

See a web video with good images at:

Nov 292016


Lyle Wilson, Haislakala: Spoken from the Heart
Masterworks in Jewelry & Mixed Media
Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery, Vancouver

A particularly informative catalogue accompanies a large exhibition of work by Haisla artist Lyle Wilson which opens on November 5, 2016, at the Coastal Peoples Fine Arts Gallery in downtown Vancouver. The 22-page illustrated catalogue includes stories, traditional history and cultural commentary.

The title and theme of the exhibition refer to the artist’s deep involvement with his Haisla culture and language. This passion is manifested in more than 100 remarkable works of carving in wood, bone, as well as exquisitely carved gold and silver jewellery in the gallery. The exhibition runs until November 16, 2016.

Nov 292016


Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, Ovoidism,
Photo: Ann Cameron

A new public art installation in Vancouver was launched in September 2016, at the proposed site of the new Vancouver Art Gallery. The Larwill Park Site, as the block is called, is currently a downtown parking lot. The installation is on view until September 2017.


For the pieces, Lawrence Paul Yuxwelupton uses the Northwest First Nations’ traditional ovoid form in sculptural groups in the lot, as a reminder that we live on the unceded territories of the Coast Salish people.

Nov 292016

Layers of Love Composite

Top: Sho Sho Esquiro, “Moma
yeh estsu yeh Glyets’ edih”
our mothers and grandmothers

Clarissa Rizal:

Photos Courtesy of the Artists

Two artists, Sho Sho Esquiro (Kaska Dene/Cree) and Clarissa Rizal (Tlingit) have joined together to present Layers of Love, a show of couture fashion, clothing and ceremonial/dance regalia at the Bill Reid Gallery in Vancouver, from October 19, 2016 to February 19, 2017.

On Wednesday, October 19 at 7 pm, Sho Sho Esquiro and Clarissa Rizal join guest curator Miranda Belarde-Lewis to discuss their creative process and inspirations with the public.

A weaving workshop is open to all ages on Saturday, October 29, 2016, from 1 to 4 pm. On Thursday, November 3, there will be a discussion of the themes in Indigenous women’s art.

Nov 292016


Artist Clarissa Rizal, Egyptian
Thunderbird Robe
, 2016
Photo: Tom Pich

In the BRG exhibition opening at the same time, What a Wonderful WorldJudy Chartrand shows works in ceramic. These reveal her personal history and provide insights into life in the Downtown East Side, and into relations between indigenous and non-indigenous cultures.


Nov 292016


Diyan Achadi & Shawn Hunt
Richmond Art Gallery
Photo: Ann Cameron

The Richmond Art Gallery opens a two-artist show on October 15, running until December 31, 2016. A common theme of art forms appropriated by other cultures runs through the works in diverse media, by Shawn Hunt and Diyan Achjadi.

Hunt’s sculptural works draw from Western art history and combine with traditional Northwest Coast carved forms. The forms, carved primarily by Hunt, also include ones procured from his father, J. Bradley Hunt, a Heiltsuk carver; they incorporate components such as model totem poles, canoes, masks, panels, feast dishes and tool handles. In these new constructions Hunt reimagines artworks from the canon of Western art, reclaiming a dissected First Nations history.

Nov 292016


Roy Henry Vickers, Tsimshian
Chest Front Design Blackfish (Nalth)
Maynards Fine Art & Antiques


Maynards Auctions in Vancouver is holding a sale on Wednesday, October 19, 2016, of Canadian & Contemporary/Northwest Coast & Inuit Art at 11 am.


Paintings by Yuxweluptun, prints by Tony Hunt, Salish woven baskets and one blanket, silver jewellery: many artists, many media are represented.


See the catalogue at

Nov 292016



A $600 million mega-mall has opened at Tswassen, south of Vancouver. While it was promoted as having traditional Coast Salish carving created by Tsawwassen First Nation artists, and had an impressive art budget of $15 million, you may not see any familiar names. A more accurate report from the CBC’s Rafferty Baker states: “Much of the artwork in the mall plays on Indigenous themes but was created by a non-Indigenous manufacturing process involving design firms, with First Nations consultation.”

You have been warned.

Nov 292016


Performance artist Peter Morin, honoured at ECUAD

Emily Carr University of Art & Design has announced that alumnus Peter Morin has received the 2016 Visual Arts Award for outstanding achievement by a Canadian mid-career artist from the Hnatyshyn Foundation.

Alumna Jeneen Frei Njootli has been awarded one of three William and Meredith Saunderson Prizes for Emerging Canadian Artists. Jeneen Frei Njootli is a Vuntut Gwitchin artist and a founding member of the ReMatriate collective. She will have a solo exhibition at Macaulay & Co Fine Arts in Vancouver, in January 2017.

Nov 292016


Isobel & Robin Rorick, Sea Bear Basket

Stonington Gallery, Seattle

Opening on November 3, 2016, at Seattle’s Stonington Gallery, is Roots That Connect Us All: A Mother & Son Collaboration. Noted Haida weaver Isabel Rorick is joined by her son Robin Rorick in presenting a collection of traditional woven hats and baskets, as well as a carved panel by Robin. The exhibition runs to November 26.


Nov 292016


Gigaemi Gigaemu Kukwits, Untitled, 2016

Macaulay & Co Fine Art

The first show of work by Kwakwaka’wakw artist Gigaemi Gigaemi Kukwits opens on October 15 and runs until November 12, 2016.

Aug 022016

Dr. Bunn-Marcuse with artist Bruce Alfred
Burke Museum

The Burke Museum in Seattle has named Dr. Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse as the new Curator of Northwest Coast Art. Currently the Associate Director of the Bill Holm Center for the Study of Northwest Native Art at the Burke Museum, Dr. Bunn-Marcuse manages the Center’s Native artist grant program and publication series with UW Press.  She curated the 2014 exhibit Here & Now: Native Artists Inspired.

Dr. Bunn-Marcuse’s research focuses on nineteenth-century Northwest Coast jewelry and other body adornment, the indigenization of Euro-American imagery, and the art, dance and song of the Kwakwaka’wakw people of British Columbia. One project currently underway is a new, digital publication of a set of films made in the village of Tsaxis (Fort Rupert) by Franz Boas. The publication will include Boas’ audio and film recordings of crafts, games and dancing made in Fort Rupert, British Columbia, in 1930.

For more about the Bill Holm Center at the Burke Museum, see

Aug 022016

Amanda Strong, set for Four Faces of the Moon
grunt gallery

The grunt gallery in Vancouver presents Four Faces of the Moon, a multi-media installation that provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the elaborate sets, puppets, and props created for a new stop motion animated film by the same name.

The story is told in four chapters, which explore the reclamation of language and Nationhood, and peel back the layers of Canada’s colonial history. This is a personal story told through the eyes of director and writer Amanda Strong, as she connects the oral and written history of her family as well as the history of the Metis, Cree and Anishnaabe People and their cultural link to the buffalo.

The exhibition runs at the grunt gallery until August 20, 2016.

For more, see

Aug 022016

Past and Presence, design for mural on the east wall of the Tsimilano Building, NEC

The grunt is also involved in a mural project for the nearby Native Education College. Lead artists Corey Bulpitt, Sharifah Marsden and Jerry Whitehead recently held a series of workshops with the Urban Native Youth Association’s Young Bears Lodge and other community members to collaborate on these designs.

On the west wall of the NEC Longhouse, the design of Where the People Are Welcome has been created by Marissa Nahanee and Jerry Whitehead. The murals celebrate the NEC’s 30th Anniversary at this location. Community painting dates will be posted on

Aug 022016

Curator Susan Marsden and artist Lyle Wilson at MNBC

The Museum of Northern British Columbia in Prince Rupert is presenting Haisla artist Lyle Wilson’s work in PAINT until late August.

On the opening night, Wilson donated the painted panel he had created during his research at the Museum of Anthropology on the old Tsimshian houseboards, created as facades of traditional buildings.

There will be a solo show of Wilson’s jewellery at the Coastal Peoples Gallery in Vancouver, opening on October 6, 2016.

Aug 022016

North Van District Foyer Art Gallery
Photo: Ann Cameron

North Vancouver Community Arts Council has a program to encourage new and emerging artists. Indian Art from the Edge is a small private company offering support for talented Indigenous artists who have lived on “the edge” of homelessness, social and health challenges. Together they have created a show. Artists exhibiting include Edwin Wadhams, George Matilpi, Stephanie Kewistep and Eric Parnell. The exhibition opens on August 6, with a reception from 2 to 5 pm. at the District Foyer Gallery at 355 West Queens Road, North Vancouver. An artist talk is on Saturday August 13 at 2 pm.

The permanent online gallery of Indian Art from the Edge is at

Aug 022016

Legacy Gallery in Downtown Victoria

The Legacy Gallery has decided to do some creative curating with its latest exhibition from its extensive collection of First Nations prints. The eight artists represented created banners, by printing their images on shimmering semi-transparent fabric. Further projects merging printmaking and installation art are to come. The show runs until October 1, 2016.

On September 24, from 1 to 4 pm, the Gallery is holding a celebration event/artist round table. Victoria’s Legacy Gallery downtown is at 630 Yates Street. See

Aug 022016

YVR Art Foundation Recipients speak about their work
Photo: Ann Cameron

The YVR Art Foundation has put out a call for grant applications for its Masterpiece Study Program, grants which enable First Nations artists living in BC and the Yukon to travel to museums to study works of art created by the masters of their culture. The deadline is September 30, 2016.


May 152016


Canada has finally adopted the United Nations’ Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, without qualifications.

The document, adopted by the UN in 2007, recognizes Indigenous peoples’ basic human rights, as well as rights to self-determination, language, equality and land. It states:

Indigenous peoples have the right to practise and revitalize their

cultural traditions and customs. This includes the right to maintain,

protect and develop the past, present and future manifestations of

their cultures, such as archaeological and historical sites, artefacts,

designs, ceremonies, technologies and visual and performing arts

and literature.

The full text is at:

A specially-formatted version for young people, prepared by Gitksan educator Dr. Cindy Blackstock is at:

May 152016

Nisga’a Museum in the Nass Valley B.C.

The Nisga’a Museum has won prizes for its remarkable displays, fine building and unique location. It is opening for the 2016 season on May 10.

The Nisga’a Museum and its collections are directly related to the historic Nisga’a Treaty. The museum is also known as Hli Goothl Wilp-Adokshl Nisga’a, meaning “The Heart of Nisga’a House Crests,” a name that acknowledges and celebrates the importance of the four tribes that make up the Nisga’a nation. The four tribes or Pdeek are: Ganada (raven), Gisk’aast (killer whale), Laxgiik (eagle), and Laxgibuu (wolf). Each Pdeek has a crest or Ayukws – an animal that symbolically represents each tribe. The museum displays and incorporates all the Nisga’a crests and the people they represent within its permanent exhibition, the Ancestors’ Collection.

This summer the museum if featuring exhibitions about the archaeology of the Nass Valley, and also fisheries and fish management in the Nass Valley.

For more information and how to get there, call 250.633.3050, or visit:

May 152016

hotos: L. Israel Shotridge R. Jennifer Younger

The Burke Museum in Seattle is hosting a high level Native Art Market on Saturday, May 14, 2016, from 10 am until 3 pm. The entire art sale proceeds go directly to the artists. The Off the Rez food truck will provide Indigenous-themed food.

The next day, Sunday May 15, the Tacoma Art Museum will hold its Native Art Market.

May 152016
Photo: Marianne Nicolson

Photo: Marianne Nicolson

An installation by artist Marianne Nicolson opens on May 14, 2016 for a year-long showing at the Simon Fraser University’s downtown Teck Gallery at 515 West Hastings Street.

The theme of Oh, I Long for Home is the city as a conflicted promise for Indigenous people. Based on photographs of her relations taken of the artist’s relatives in the 1940’s and ‘50’s, as well as some by Nicolson herself, the exhibition concludes that the city was a disappointment for them.

“For many, if not most, the shiny image of the city did not deliver and instead offered a trap disconnected from traditional values.”

In its translation to Kwak’wala, Oh, How I Long for Home–‘Wa’lasan xwalsa kan ne’nakwe’ refers to a “return,” as well as to the cycle of the sun rising. The double meaning of title not only points to an idea of home as Indigenous territory, but the longing for home that settlers also seek, complicated by unceded lands.

Closing date is April 29, 2017.

May 152016
Shawn Hunt, Ceremony, 2015 Photo: Paul Hodgson

Shawn Hunt, Ceremony, 2015
Photo: Paul Hodgson

On May 19, 2016, Heiltsuk artist Shawn Hunt opens Line as Language, an exhibition at the Burrard Arts Foundation at 108 East Broadway in Vancouver. Hunt will speak about his work at 6:15, followed by a reception at 7 pm. The exhibition continues until July 2.

Hunt’s work explores new ways of using this structure while still maintaining the fundamental characteristics of the traditional formline. He often refers to this style as “neoformline”. The meandering, unbroken line draws the eye across and around the surface of the work, becoming thicker and thinner, speeding up and slowing down rhythmically. Creatures hide in both the positive and negative spaces created.

The Burrard Arts Foundation site is at

Shawn Hunt is preparing an exhibition with Diyan Achjadi, Cultural Conflation for the Richmond Art Gallery, showing from October 15, 2016 to January 3, 2017.

See the artist’s site at

May 152016
Krista Belle Stewart, Indian Artists at Work, 2016 Photo: Kyle L. Poirier

Krista Belle Stewart, Indian Artists at Work, 2016
Photo: Kyle L. Poirier

The latest in the Kelowna Art Gallery’s series One on One is an exhibition of several works by Krista Belle Stewart, a member of the Upper Nicola Band of the Okanagan nation. The abstract wall installation contrasts but relates to Stewart’s woven version of an old photograph on the left, called Sim – real/very, 2015.

“Stewart’s refined questioning of authenticity and the constructed images of Indigenous peoples are layered, re-imaging the image and fragmenting the narrative implied or imagined within the documentary context.”

The exhibition runs until July 3, 2016.

A web-based catalogue is at

May 152016
Bill Reid Gallery, during a fundraising dinner and auction in May 2016 (top) Reid’s Mythic Messengers, 1984 (centre and bottom right) sculpture and graphic work by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas Photo: Ann Cameron

Bill Reid Gallery, during a fundraising dinner and auction in May 2016
(top) Reid’s Mythic Messengers, 1984
(centre and bottom right) sculpture and graphic work by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas
Photo: Ann Cameron

Vancouver’s Bill Reid Gallery has had a busy April.

The Seriousness of Play: Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas works opened and continues until October 2, 2016. Works by Yahgulanaas include many from his project Red, in his Manga style of drawing, and new sculptures.

A book by Dr. Nicola Levell, with contributions by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas and Jonathon King, accompanies the exhibition. The book launch is June 4, 2016, at the BRG.

A Focus Exhibition, The Art of Small Things: Meghann O’Brien, runs at the BRG until October 2, 2016. Meghann O’Brien takes materials from the natural world and transforms them into remarkable pieces of high-level human expression. Working with traditional materials such as mountain goat wool and cedar bark has given her a deep connection to the supernatural world, a connection to her ancestors. She describes working with cedar bark as “travelling back in time” or “touching the cosmos”.

Raven’s Feast 2016, a gala auction and dinner, successfully raised funds for the Gallery.

May 152016
Dancers of Damelahamid perform Flicker Photo Lisa Wu

Dancers of Damelahamid perform Flicker
Photo Lisa Wu

Flicker is an innovative dance piece by the Dancers of Damelahamid that combines west coast graphic design with a unique sceno-graphic hybrid of projected environments and live-action shadow dance. It is being performed at Vancouver’s Cultch Theatre, on May 25 to 20, 2016.

Vividly rich imagery represents the ‘spirit world’, the mystical realm portrayed through coastal masked dance. Just as light shimmers, Flicker represents the moments through which one can cross space and time, as the masked dancers journey in and out of the ‘spirit world’ of their ancestors.

The Dancers, although based in Vancouver, share the traditions of the Gitksan people, who are renowned for their rich history of masked dance.

May 152016
Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun at Unceded Territories, MOA Photo: Ann Cameron

Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun at Unceded Territories, MOA
Photo: Ann Cameron

The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia has organized the first major solo show of Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun’s work. Unceded Territories will feature over 60 new and existing paintings, drawings, sculptures, and installation works that explore the colonialist suppression of First Nations peoples, and the ongoing struggle for Aboriginal rights to lands, resources, and sovereignty. The opening of the exhibition drew one of the largest crowds in MOA’s history.

The show runs until October 16, 2016, and a full-colour publication featuring essays by local and international writers and illustrated with selected works by Yuxweluptun accompanies the exhibition. Co-curators Karen Duffek and Tania Willard will speak about the show at 1 pm on Sunday, May 15, 2016.

For a video see

MOA’s website

May 152016
Marion Penner Bancroft, VISIT: Site of former Indian Residential School, Birtle, Man. Photo: Ann Cameron

Marion Penner Bancroft, VISIT: Site of former Indian Residential School, Birtle, Man.
Photo: Ann Cameron

Unsettled Sites is a group exhibition of photography and video at Simon Fraser University’s SFU Gallery in Burnaby. It “slips amongst the complex entanglements of belonging and refusal from both settler and Indigenous perspectives.” Works by Tania Willard, Wanda Nanibush and Marian Penner Bancoft speak of ownership and settlement of land, ghosts, Indian burial grounds, and dispossession.

It continues at the Burnaby campus art gallery until July 29, 2016.

Mar 132016
Nike sneakers in form of Crab

Brian Jungen, King Capra, 2016
Catriona Jeffries Gallery, Vancouver
Photo: Ann Cameron

2015 was the 30th anniversary of the Nike company’s Air Jordan shoe line. To celebrate there were extravagant shows in Paris, and a dazzling number of novel athletic shoe designs produced. Tahltan artist Brian Jungen has marked the event by working in a new way with Air Jordan shoes.

Since 1999 Brian Jungen drew international attention with his masks created from cut up Nike shoes. The sculptures eerily resembled ceremonial masks of the Pacific coast of North America.

Jungen’s work was created just after the American media exposed Nike’s use of sub-contractors who exploit the poor workers of Asia. Jungen’s use of the sport shoes was intended to challenge the glamourous star image in the advertising of the Nike products.

In Jungen’s latest show at the Catriona Jeffries Gallery in Vancouver, Jungen takes his Nike shoe sculptures further, with a series that was created not by hand, but using the same tools used in factory production. The creations are more abstract than the earlier sculptures, and still dramatic and ironic.

For more about the show, which closed at the end of February, see

Mar 132016
Bright image projected on wall

Sonny Assu, 1UP

In Surrey, a new work by Kwakwaka’wakw artist Sonny Assu is on display on the west wall of Chuck Bailey Rec Centre until May 8, 2016.

Referencing gaming culture where a ‘1UP’ grants an extra life to a player, Assu’s artwork is a metaphor for how the First People have risen up for their rights.”

Time your visit carefully: the work is projected from 30 minutes after sunset until midnight.


Mar 132016
Front of building with sharply sloped roof

Audain Museum of Art, Whistler, British Columbia
Photo: Ann Cameron

James Hart, The Dance Screen (The Scream Too), 2010-2015
Audain Museum of Art
Photo: Ann Cameron

March 12, 2016, is the opening day for the Audain Art Museum in Whistler BC.

Philanthropist Michael Audain and his wife Yoshiko Karasawa surprised the art world with an announcement in 2012 that they had accepted an offer of land from the Resort Municipality of Whistler, and that they were beginning a process of building a museum to house their extensive collection of the art of British Columbia, and of Mexican modernism. Architects John and Patricia Patkau were hired, and the museum has opened in unusually short order.

A pleasant path through the woods will be built across Fitzsimmons Creek to give easy access the Squamish Lillooet Cultural Centre.

The collection tells the story of visual art of British Columbians, from ancient times to the present. Twelve BC First Nations are represented in the collection. Renowned BC artists, including Emily Carr, B.C. Binning, James Hart, Rodney Graham, Jeff Wall and Dana Claxton are represented.

The donor’s interest in Mexican modernist painting is reflected in the first temporary exhibition

The outstanding masterpiece is the salmon-themed dance screen by James Hart. The Beat has followed the creation of this major work, created by Hart to warn us of the dangers threatening the salmon on the Pacific coast.

The museum will have free admission for young people under the age of 15, and educational programs for families are being organized.

A book about the collection, Masterworks from the Audain Art Museum by Ian Thom, is available in the gift shop and on the museum website.

Mar 132016

Robert Davidson, Raven Finned Killer Whale, 1978
Douglas Reynolds Gallery
Photo: David Koppe

The Douglas Reynolds Gallery in Vancouver is also offering an interesting display of First Nations’ prints, including a large collection of pristine condition serigraphs. Some are from the Northwest Coast Indian Artists Guild, a collective of eleven Aboriginal artists, including Robert Davidson and Roy Henry Vickers. The Guild worked in the late ‘70’s improve the standards and marketing of art prints of Northwest Coast First Nations artists.


Mar 132016

In Victoria, the Legacy Art Gallery Downtown at 630 Yates Street presents Emerging Through the Fog, an exhibition of work by two Nuu-chah-nulth men: “Fog-God” Art Thompson from Ditidaht (1948-2003) and Hjalmer Wenstob from Tla-o-qui-aht, near Tofino.

Tsa-qwa-supp (Thompson) was a teacher and friend to Tlehpik (Wenstob) whose art was deeply inspired by Tsa-qwa-supp.

Mar 132016

University of Victoria’s First Peoples House

At the University of Victoria’s First Peoples House, there is an exhibition of Nuu-chah-nulth serigraph prints from the university’s own collection, mostly from the 1980’s and ‘90’s. Artists include Patrick Amos, Joe David and Tim Paul.

Mar 132016

Janice Toulouse, Chief Shingwauk and Ogema Kwe, 2015
Winsor Gallery
Photo: Ann Cameron

The Winsor Gallery in Vancouver is holding a group exhibition of new work by Wendy Red Star, Tsema Tamara Skubovius, Janice Toulouse, Maria Hupfield, Jeneen Frei Njootli and Olivia Whetung. The show is called Ogema: I am Woman, with a theme of presenting “matriarchal ways of seeing”. The painting by Janice Toulouse above depicts her ancestors, both leaders of the Anishnaabe nation, Ogeme as a full partner in decision-making with her husband Shingwauk.

A wide range of media, wit and insight distinguishes the artists’ views. The show continues to March 29, 2016.