Working together at Kingcome Inlet in the summer of 2018, a 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’am: 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’am: To Be Here Always positions the gallery as an active location for this performance, creating generative exchange. Hexsa’am: To Be Here Always is a further iteration of the original exhibition at the UBC Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery from January 11 to April 7, 2019 as part of Mirrored In Stone, a project commissioned with Cineworks in partnership with the Dzawada’enuxw First Nation. The project was made possible with the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts New Chapter fund, the British Columbia Arts Council Youth Engagement Program, the City of Vancouver and the Vancouver Foundation.
Working with local Secwépemc artist and curator Tania Willard, artists in the exhibition will attend the UBCO summer Indigenous art intensive, with visits to BUSH Gallery, a land-based gallery in Secwépemculecw. There will also be a focus on Syilx territory (Kelowna, BC) and collaboration with the Wild Salmon Caravan. This examination of intra-territoriality and art practice will compliment the exhibition’s concerns, connecting local issues and Indigenous lands through community networks and respectful relations.
From Hexsa'am: To Be Here Always, 2018
Photo: Marianne Nicolson
Comet MMXVIII was created for the Gallery’s Luminocity 2018 exhibition (luminocity.ca) and served as a beacon of light at Riverside Park during this evening festival of video projections and new media projects. Installed on top of the newly renovated TNRD entrance, this light sculpture will act as a beacon for this public building, marking it as a significant civic and cultural space in the city. It holds visual interest in the daytime and at night, celebrating this building as a key public space in downtown Kamloops and highlighting an exceptional example of local talent. The sculpture also serves as an opportunity to showcase a new work acquired for the Kamloops Art Gallery’s collection and visibly marks the excellence embodied in one of Kamloops’ principle cultural institutions. The sculpture is representative of the Gallery’s rigorous exhibition program and commitment to community engagement.
Donald Lawrence is a professor in the Visual Arts Program at Thompson Rivers University. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Victoria, Victoria, BC and a Masters of Fine Arts from York University, Toronto, ON and exhibits his artwork nationally and internationally. Lawrence was the 2017 recipient of the Kamloops Mayor’s Award for the Arts Artist of the Year award and was the first Chair of the City of Kamloops’ Arts Commission.
Research for this sculpture draws upon Lawrence’s duel interest in solar phenomenon and optical devices. He referenced numerous books in this research and made sketches based on medieval imagery he sourced. These ephemeral resources will also be displayed in the entrance to the TNRD building to further inform visitors about the sculpture and Lawrence’s art practice, and to mirror the Library’s fundamental interest in books, their importance and history.
Donald Lawrence Comet MMXVIII, 2018 salvaged galvanized items and fluorescent light tubes, LED lights, Bubble Wrap, rope and tackle 444.5 x 279.4 x 88.9 cm Photo: Krystyna Halliwell
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