Hexsa’a̠m: To Be Here Always
Thursday, January 10, 6–9 pm
Exhibition dates: January 11–April 7, 2019
Photo: Scott Benesiinaabandan.
Discounted parking at Rose Garden Parkade for the opening reception on Thursday, January 10. At a pay station metre in Rose Garden Parkade, select “Coupon” option, enter BG19 when prompted, pay $2 (coins or credit) to park.
All welcome. Admission is free.
Including work by artists Marianne Nicolson and Althea Thauberger with Siku Allooloo, Scott Benesiinaabandan, Darryl Dawson, Jaymyn La Vallee, Diane Roberts, Sara Siestreem, Juliana Speier, Nabidu Taylor, Kamala Todd, William Wasden Jr., Tania Willard and Lindsey Willie.
In 1914, delegates of the McKenna-McBride Royal Commission met with Johnny Scow (Kwikwasuti’nuxw), Copper Johnson (Ha’xwa’mis), Dick Webber and Dick Hawkins (Dzawada̱’enux̱w), and Alec Morgan (Gwawa’enuxw), as well as all the Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw Chiefs, to establish the land base of the Kwakwa̱ka̱’wakw group of nations. A century later, in May 2018, the Dzawada̱’enux̱w First Nation launched the first-ever BC Supreme Court case to extend Aboriginal title to the ocean, claiming that the Province does not have the authority to grant tenures to salmon farms in the Broughton Archipelago. As two moments in a tangled timeline of resistance, these legal encounters bring forward the ways that cultural practices can bring new realities into being for a community experiencing ongoing social, cultural and ecological effects of colonization and globalizing economics.
Working together at Kingcome Inlet in Summer 2018, this group of artists used film, video, social media, weaving, animation, drawing, language and song to address the urgent threats to the land and water. A manifestation of the relationships formed between the participants over this past year, this exhibition is based on sharing knowledges and respectful collaboration. Simultaneously research, material, media, testimony and ceremony, Hexsa’a̱m: To Be Here Always challenges the western concept that the power of art and culture are limited to the symbolic or metaphoric, and that the practices of First Peoples are simply part of a past heritage. As Marianne Nicolson states, “We must not seek to erase the influence of globalizing Western culture, but master its forces selectively, as part of a wider Canadian and global community, for the health of the land and the cultures it supports. The embodied practice of ceremonial knowledge relates to artistic experience – not in the aesthetic sense, but in the performative: through gestures that consolidate and enhance knowledge for positive change.” Hexsa’a̱m: To Be Here Always positions the gallery as an active location for this performance, drawing together many faculties and disciplines of the university in generative exchange.
Hexsa’a̱m: To Be Here Always takes place as part of Mirrored In Stone, a project commissioned by Cineworks and the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery at the University of British Columbia in partnership with the Dzawada̱’enux̱w First Nation. Cineworks gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts New Chapter fund, British Columbia Arts Council Youth Engagement Program and the annual assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts, British Columbia Arts Council, City of Vancouver and Province of British Columbia. The Belkin Gallery gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Vancouver Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts, British Columbia Arts Council, our Belkin Curator’s Forum members and the Department of Canadian Heritage Young Canada Works Program.
Mirrored In Stone is one of the 200 exceptional projects funded through the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter program. With this $35M investment, the Council supports the creation and sharing of the arts in communities across Canada.
Cineworks and the Belkin Gallery pay special respect to the xʷməθkʷəy̍əm (Musqueam), Sk̠wx̠wú7mesh (Squamish) and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations on whose unceded traditional territories much of the work facilitating this project has been undertaken.