Truth to Material

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Truth to Material


September 20 to November 10, 2019
Join us for the opening reception on Thursday, September 19, 7 pm
Krista Belle Stewart is an artist and a member of the Upper Nicola Band of the Syilx/Okanagan Nation, currently based in Berlin. Her work with video, land, performance, photography, textiles, and sound unfolds over long periods of time, drawing out personal and political narratives.

In 2006, she traveled to the Karl May Museum in Radebeul, Germany, where she met with 'The Band of Broken Arrows' one of many groups of German citizens who call themselves 'Indianer' inspired by the fictional novels of author Karl May. Indianer dress up in costume and perform what they imagine to be a North American Indigenous lifestyle. Stewart documented her experience during this trip, but waited to further develop the project.

It has now been thirteen years since Stewart's initial meeting with this community. After returning to Germany as an artist-in-residence at the Künstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin, she reconnected with the group of Indianer she met during her first visit. The number of people in the community has significantly dropped, almost by half. However, the culture of appropriation continues on. This summer, she was invited to participate in a large gathering of nearly 1000 Indianer from all over Europe. Enacting a kind of inverted anthropology, Stewart developed a new body of work revolving around these encounters for her solo exhibition at Nanaimo Art Gallery. While Indianer communities may seem at a distance, this exhibition can also be a point of reflection on the legacies of cultural inequality in British Columbia.

Considering what happens when cultural appropriation becomes tradition, Krista Belle Stewart's project is the third exhibition in a year in which Nanaimo Art Gallery asks the question: what are generations?

The exhibition is accompanied by an essay by Berlin based Canadian writer Mitch Speed.

Image courtesy of Krista Belle Stewart

September   October   November 2019 Mailer - Google Docs

Seraphine, Seraphine Screening and Artist Talk

Saturday, September 21, 2 pm
Vancouver Island Conference Centre, 101 Gordon St., Nanaimo, Dodd Narrows Room A
Free | Everyone welcome
Register required, online or call 250.754.1750

Join artist Krista Belle Stewart for a screening of her video work Seraphine, Seraphine (2014), in which Stewart interweaves a 1967 CBC docu-drama about the first Aboriginal public health nurse in B.C. with excerpts from a personal testimony from the 2013 Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Both parts of this video feature the same person: the artist's mother, Seraphine Stewart. Contrasting the narrative constructed by our national broadcaster nearly 50 years ago with Seraphine's recent testimony as a residential school survivor, Krista Belle Stewart activates the dual role of the artist as both voice and witness. After the screening, Stewart will discuss Seraphine, Seraphine, and other projects.

Image: Krista Belle Stewart, Seraphine, Seraphine, Two-channel video installation, 2014


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Charlotte Zhang, Tania Willard and Steven Thomas Davies, Cecily Nicholson, Tau Lewis, Julia Feyrer, Elisa Ferrari and John Brennan 
July 19–September 1
Join us for the Opening Reception and a reading by Cecily Nicholson, on Thursday, July 18 at 7 pm
Public Tour: August 1, 5:30 pm
Curated by Christian Vistan and Jesse Birch
In an estuary, where freshwater and saltwater meet, materials accumulate faster than they can be carried away. The Nanaimo River Estuary supports life through biodiversity and nutrient cycles, serving as a resource and sanctuary for its inhabitants. Legacies of industrial and colonial land practices also significantly impact this environment. In this contested site, food, economy, waste, history, and memory settle together like sediment, only to be stirred back into suspension, creating opportunities for new understanding. 
The exhibition Estuary takes up the work of its namesake–materials and histories converge on the Gallery’s floors and walls. This repository of sculpture, textile, sound, poetry, and video shares personal stories and communal geographies. Estuary features hand-sewn tapestries rooted in recuperative labour, filmic tracings of Nanaimo’s disappeared Chinatowns, aural explorations of the estuarine environment, and other artworks that see an estuary as a place of flux and process. 
Considering the estuary and what generates and regenerates there, Estuary is the second exhibition in a year in which Nanaimo Art Gallery ask the question: what are generations?
Image: Tau Lewis, look how long I've been crying to get to you! (detail), Found furs, leathers, fabrics, 2018


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Estuary Walk with Nancy Turner and Geraldine Manson

Meeting Place: Nanaimo River Estuary Conservation Area, 1000 Raines Rd.
$20 non-members | $15 members Registration required, online or call 250.754.1750
pay online button
Ethnobotanist Nancy Turner and elder Geraldine Manson (Snuneymuxw Nation) share the breadth of their extensive knowledge of native and invasive plants as they lead a walk on the Nanaimo River Estuary. Spend the morning with them, getting to know this special place, and the things that are sustained by it. 

Estuary Talk with Tania Willard and Steven Thomas Davies

Meeting Place: Parking lot at 6 Maki Rd., before the entrance to Living Forest Campground.
Free | Registration required
register online button
or call 250.754.1750
This site has limited accessibility for those with mobility devices or strollers. Call the Gallery for details 
Artist and curator, Tania Willard (Secwepemc Nation) and, artist and filmmaker, Steven Thomas Davies
(Snuneymuxw Nation) collaborated on an installation that explores the submerged perspectives of eelgrass
beds in estuarine ecosystems. On the last day of Estuary, join them for a special dialogue on site, where they will speak about their respective practices, and their collaboration for the exhibition.
Image: Curatorial Research Image, April 5, 2019

Across the Table

The treaty is in the body Omaskeko Creeweb

Across the Table

April 26 to June 30, 2019
Join us for the opening reception on April 25, 7 pm
Guy Ben-Ner, Justine A. Chambers, Joel Good and William Good, Tanya Lukin Linklater
The title for this exhibition was inspired by the working methods of father and son Snuneymuxw artists Joel Good and William Good, who carve together across from each other at the kitchen table almost every day. However, this practice of shared learning through direct connections across generations is central to all of the artworks in the exhibition. In addition to collaborative carvings by the Goods, Across the Table features a father and daughter who reenact Moby Dick in their kitchen, and families who dance across generations while sharing stories, music, and gestures.
Sharing artistic collaborations between mothers and sons and daughters and fathers and grandmothers, Across the Table is the first exhibition in a year in which Nanaimo Art Gallery asks the question: What are generations?
Image: Tanya Lukin Linklater, The treaty is in the body, Digital video, 2017, Photograph by Liz Lott



Dance workshops with Justine A. Chambers
May 15, 16, 17 and 18
3 to 4 pm in the Gallery

Free and open to all ages and abilities.
Drop-in to one or more workshops
Wear sneakers and comfortable clothing.
Presented in collaboration with Crimson Coast Dance Society

The anchors of Justine A. Chambers movement based practice are found in collaborative creation, close observation, and the idea of choreography as living archive. As part of Across the Table, she will lead a series of dance workshops in the Gallery. These workshops are based on conversations Justine had with her 90 year-old grandmother, Delores Hutchinson, in which Delores described the dances she frequented during her teens at The Parkway Ballroom on the south side of Chicago. In these free public workshops, Justine will collaborate with participants of all ages and abilities to translate Delores' stories back into dance.

Image: Justine A. Chambers, Justine & Delores Aug 7/1983 Edmonton, Image courtesy of the artist 



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