Indigenous Peoples Day is celebrated on June 21, the summer solstice. It is the longest day of the year and has great significance for many Indigenous peoples and their communities.
Indigenous Peoples Day is a day for all of Canada to recognize and celebrate the unique heritage, cultures and contributions of First Nations, Metis and Inuit peoples.
The last couple of years have been extremely difficult for many Indigenous communities. First COVID prevented larger gatherings, followed by the discovery of the graves of 215 children at the Kamloops residential school.
While these events provide an opportunity for earnest reflection, let’s remember that this day is about celebrating Indigenous cultures and communities.
“We ourselves are celebrating the things that bring us joy, and usually that’s our heritage.”
-Eden Robinson, Haisla/Heiltsuk, Award winning author of Son of a Trickster
Support our Indigenous Communities
We can all support Indigenous communities by
– being curious, asking questions and listening
– learning and researching
– having conversations and advocating
BC Ferries is partnering with the First Peoples Cultural Council to commission original Coast Salish artwork on the exterior and interior of its newest vessel, Salish Heron. The ship will sail in the Southern Gulf Islands starting in 2022. Its sister ships, Salish Orca, Salish Eagle, and Salish Raven, commenced service in 2017, sailing between Comox and Powell River, as well as the Southern Gulf Islands.
“The artistic designs displayed on the vessels honour rich and diverse Indigenous cultures and art forms in British Columbia. This project is important to our efforts towards reconciliation, and it has pride of place among staff, artists, and travellers alike. I encourage all Coast Salish artists to make a submission,” said Murray Rankin, Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.
Coast Salish artists are invited to submit their portfolios and expressions of interest by May 21, 2021.
The design features the bear to help us follow the right path, the eagle to help us have vision of a bright future, the hummingbird to keep our mind, body and spirit healthy, and the flower to feed the connection of all of these elements.
What is Orange Shirt Day?
Each year, on September 30th, many people across Canada wear orange shirts to honour and remember the sacrifices of residential school survivors and their families. The message behind Orange Shirt Day is that every child matters. It is a movement that originated from the experiences of residential school survivor Phyllis Webstad.
About Residential Schools
Residential schools were in existence from 1831 until 1996. They were government funded, and church run schools established to forcibly assimilate Indigenous children into Euro-Canadian society. The goal of these schools was to break the children’s ties to their language, traditions and families. Many children experienced the worst neglect and abuse imaginable at the hands of their teachers and people responsible for running the schools. Several thousand children died while under the care of the government.
Residential schools had a severe and lasting impact on First Nations in Canada. The schools have contributed to intergenerational trauma and in many cases, family breakdown. In addition, knowledge about many traditional ways of healing, parenting, languages and social relations has been lost.
Today, residential school survivors and their families are reconnecting to their cultural roots, and reviving traditions that were once lost. This marks the beginning of the path to reconciliation.
Each month, the CBC chooses a Canadian artist to reinterpret the CBC Arts logo. For the month of June, which is Pride and Indigenous History Month, the artist selected was Margaret August.
Margaret August is a two spirited, Coast Salish artist residing on Vancouver Island. For this design, she chose to blend the colours of Pride with a traditional Salmon motif. Margaret explains that, “in art, the fish often symbolizes wealth and prosperity”.
Asked what inspired her take on the logo, Margaret says, “I created four salmon faces that surround the centre and added Pride colours to match the timing of Pride. I felt inspired to design the salmons because the CBC logo has a similar Salish symmetry”.
This month Margaret was scheduled to take part in a group exhibition in Los Angeles, called “Transform”, but COVID-19 forced her to change those plans. While this would have provided exposure for her art in the US, designing the CBC Arts logo for the month of June isn’t bad either. Not bad at all.
To read more about this project, please go to the CBC website.
Please note that the following print release and signing has been postponed due to the ongoing uncertainties of the COVID 19 pandemic.
Join us on Saturday, March 28th in Vancouver at Lattimer Gallery (1590 West 2nd Ave) between 1pm-3pm for the signing and release of Tree of Life, KC Hall‘s latest limited edition screen print.
“It created the raven from branches of truth. Positivity traces right back to its roots.
An old soul, grown whole from the axis of love. Gained wisdom from days sitting, laid back in the sun.
It gave the raven a place to ponder its mood. Kids would swing off its branches and climb to the top for the view.
Old flings carved their names in the grain of its bark. So and so plus so and so “forever” in the shape of a heart.
It provides bark for the weavers, homes for the beavers. Bright light for the weakened, sight and truth for the non believers.
It created fish for the oceans and all the birds for the skies.
It has love with in its heart but pain in its eyes. It’s just the raven in disguise.”
Tree Of Life by KC Hall
KC Hall released his first serigraph in 2019, titled Outside Looking In. It is a reference to being on the outside with the non traditional aspects of his art and not belonging to the mainstream. The design shows the strong contrast between the traditional and contemporary elements of KC’s art.
With Tree Of Life, KC once again finds himself outside the mainstream, combining contemporary street art with form line. The colours and forms are reminiscent of traditional Chilkat weaving, while the spray paint splatter and overall arrangement of forms gives it a very urban feel.
The City of Victoria has selected Dylan Thomas (Qwul’thilum) as the newest Indigenous Artist in Residence.
Dylan is taking on this role for a two-year term with the goal to engage the community in dialogue, workshops and events. He is very excited for the opportunity, saying “I hope to use my experience as a Salish artist, my experience as an Indigenous person, and my experience as a lifelong resident of Victoria to create work that meaningfully honours the local Indigenous people – past, present, and future”.
Previously, Dylan has received two public art commissions from the City of Victoria; one was part of the Sacred display at City Hall, and earlier this year he won the summer banners program. The latter featuring his art on banners throughout the downtown core during the summer months.
Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps congratulated Dylan, saying “On behalf of council, I would like to congratulate Dylan Thomas. The Indigenous Artist in Residence program is an important part of the City’s reconciliation and decolonization work as we bring Indigenous ways of thinking and knowing into an established institution like the City. We look forward to the exciting initiatives Dylan will undertake in this role.”
I recently learned of the passing of Haida artist Carol Young. Carol was a very kind and humble person, and an exceptional carver. Her favourite pieces to carve were her unique portrait masks.
In 2012, I had the pleasure of publishing her first serigraphs – Hummingbirds and Butterflies, two editions which have long sold out. Of the hummingbird Carol said: “I too am small in stature, but it has never stopped me from accomplishing what I wanted.”
When asked about becoming an artist, Carol said “If you would have asked me if I would do art for a living, I would have grinned and said no. Now, as a Haida artist I am discovering who I am. This transformation from a full time mother to an artist has very much been a rebirth for me. It has not only given me a new way to see myself, it has also given me a new perspective of others and the world, a more positive view.”
Steinbrueck Gallery in Seattle, who have worked closely with Carol for many years, have scheduled a show in Carol’s and her family’s honour. It has been scheduled for Saturday, November 15th. Everyone is welcome to attend and pay tribute to her accomplishments.
“I live for today, and today I am very grateful for the gifts I have been given.”
· Carol Young
Do you know what it means when the tongues of creatures touch in Northwest coast art? It’s probably not what you think!
This drum design by Alvin Child is called “Sharing Knowledge”, and we are excited to publish this beautiful painting as a limited edition serigraph (screen print) in the very near future.
What looks like an intimate interaction at first glance, actually symbolizes the sharing of knowledge and power, and the ability to communicate with different species. It suggests an interconnectedness between all living things.
If you are in Vancouver August 10th, check out the annual Vancouver Mural Festival with KC Hall and a long list of international artists!
The August 10 street party takes over 14 city blocks on and around Main and Broadway, with live and interactive art, live music, a skate jam, dance battles and workshops, food trucks, four family friendly beer gardens, and a Public Disco Dance Party.
The Vancouver Mural Festival is 10 days of painting and events leading up to the giant street party on August 10th!
Douglas Street in downtown Victoria has recently received a bit of a facelift. The street is now lined with banners depicting new work by Coast Salish artist Dylan Thomas.
Earlier this year, the City of Victoria held a call to artists to submit their ideas for the Summer Banner program. Through the selection process, Dylan’s designs were chosen, and are now on display.
In a statement, Dylan said “As a person with Lekwungen (Songhees) heritage, who was born and raised in Victoria, I feel a profound connection to this area in its modern, historical and pre-historical contexts, all of which I’ve tried to capture in my banner designs. (….) For these banners, I’ve symbolized some of the lesser-known aspects of this territory’s history and mythology.”
Dylan created four new designs for the program:
Born On The Shores honours Dylan’s grandmother as one of the last people born in the Old Songhees Village before the reserve was relocated.
Camossung describes the legend of a girl who was turned into a boulder located at Tillicum Narrows, where fresh and salt water merge with each changing of the tides.
Building The Bastion takes us back to when Victoria was founded. It symbolizes the historical cooperation between the local Lekwungen People and European settlers to build Fort Victoria.
Reef-Nets pays homage to the Salish method of reef net fishing and the sacred salmon cycle.