Island to focus on Aboriginal Culture

The Bowen Island Arts Council (BIAC) and the Gallery @ Artisan Square are thrilled to be presenting Authentically Aboriginal on Bowen -- a multi-media event highlighting Indigenous culture through the display and celebration of tradition and contemporary art forms and practises. The arts organization, in collaboration with guest curator Simon Daniel James Jr., is mounting a first-of-its-kind exposition on Bowen to include an exhibit and art sale, a reception featuring traditional dancing, singing, drumming and feasting, a panel on the subject of cultural appropriation, artist talks and demonstrations plus a number of other special events.

James, also known as Winadzi, is from the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation. He explains the choice of title of the exhibit and its rationale: “Authenticity is something we as native artists strive for. Indigenous art and craft are a reflection of the sophistication, diversity and resilience of indigenous culture.

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There is very little that is more important to the well being of our people than the protection of our designs, artworks and artistic traditions.
“This exhibit and performances will reinforce this conviction, as well as provide an opportunity to share with non-natives, to enhance deeper cultural understanding and develop a stronger sense of connection and community.”

The exhibit will present creations and work by 12 artists from all over British Columbia and from a number of different nations and tribal affiliations, including Cree, Haida, Heiltsuk, Kwakwaka’wakw, Coast Salish, Musqueam and Squamish. The work to be showcased includes beading, weaving, textiles (i.e. button blankets, ceremonial regalia, wall hangings, clothing), jewellery, carvings, etc.

Exhibit & Feast
Authentically Aboriginal on Bowen will be on display at the Gallery @ Artisan Square at 589 Artisan Lane, Bowen Island, from May 15 – June 21. The grand opening and reception, to include a community feast featuring a traditional native menu and live performances, will be held on Saturday, May 16. The cultural appropriation panel is set for Sunday, May 17 at Cates Hill Chapel, 661 Carter Road, Bowen Island.

Supporting Families of Sisters in Spirit
A number of participating artists are also donating work, for a silent auction, with proceeds to support Families of Sisters in Spirit. This grassroots, non-profit organization is dedicated to supporting families of missing and murdered Aboriginal women and girls. (Please see attached fact sheet.)

Culture Matters – a panel on Cultural Appropriation
Another component of Authentically Aboriginal on Bowen is the special event:  Culture Matters – a panel on Cultural Appropriation, set for Sunday, May 17, 3 pm. At Cates Hill Chapel.  Hosted by Paul Tennant (Ph.D), Professor Emeritus, we will launch a conversation on this topic, exploring the difference between cultural appropriation and cultural appreciation. We’ll explore the subject in a thoughtful, compassionate and respectful manner with the hope of creating awareness and understanding of the subject.

Other Special Events
Throughout the duration of the show, the exhibit will be open to welcome school groups and others. Artist talks and demonstrations are also being planned. Please stay tuned.

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