Artists Steven Thomas Davies (pictured) and Tania Willard are holding a discussion at the Nanaimo River estuary on Sept. 1. (Photo courtesy Jeanette Kotowich)

Artists showing at Nanaimo Art Gallery giving talk at Nanaimo River estuary

Steven Thomas Davies and Tania Willard have joint piece in gallery’s current show

A pair of artists with a collaborative piece on display at the Nanaimo Art Gallery are returning to discuss their work near the body of water that inspired it all.

Snuneymuxw artist Steven Thomas Davies and Tania Willard, who hails from the Secwepemc Nation in the Interior, came together to create Feasting/Fasting, an underwater video projected onto salmon skins, for the NAG’s Estuary exhibition, which wraps up on Sept. 1.

The show features a collection of art works that reflect on the significance and symbolism of the estuary ecosystem. On the last day of the exhibition, Davies and Willard will be presenting a talk about their practices at the Nanaimo River estuary.

Davies also invited Snuneymuxw elder Geraldine Manson to discuss the history of the estuary system.

“She has a really good grasp of the true history of that area,” Davies said. “I’m hoping to speak, too, to the fragility of the area, given the title of the piece kind of indicates just how precious these areas are, too, not only for human beings, but for all species.”

Willard said the talk will be open-ended and “responsive” between the artists, attendees and the site itself.

“The idea is to not have that much of a predetermined plan so that we get a chance to respond to that place and that environment and think through it by looking at the artwork,” she said.

Through its sculptural and video components, created by Willard and Davies respectively, Feasting/Fasting reflects on how the destruction of maritime ecosystems by pollution and industry affects the survival and habits of aquatic flora and fauna, including eelgrass, salmon and geese.

When Estuary co-curators Jesse Birch and Christian Vistan approached Willard to contribute a piece to the exhibition, she invited Davies, a past collaborator, to take part as well. She said it suited the exhibition’s concept of the estuary as a place of exchange.

“Steven Davies had visited me in a project I called Bush Gallery up here on my reserve and so it was a nice way to exchange, when I had an opportunity to show in his territory, for him to do this piece,” she said.

Davies filmed his video while snorkelling Degnen Bay, where his family has had a presence for thousands of years. He said the eelgrass is doing well in the area, but he noticed an increase in construction in the area and he’s concerned about the effects further development might have.

“A lot of my work speaks to responsibilities to community, so I felt very humbled by that experience to go back there and see and get a chance to look under the water which has sustained our people forever. For millennia,” he said. “Right now there’s a crisis with salmon. I just couldn’t imagine life without salmon. It’s such an important part of indigenous cultures, but also, again, sustenance of family.”

WHAT’S ON … Estuary Talk with Tania Willard and Steven Thomas Davies at the Nanaimo River Estuary (west side) on Sunday, Sept. 1 at 10 a.m. Free, register online or at 250-754-1750.



arts@nanaimobulletin.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Festival parade ‘jazzes’ up downtown Nanaimo

Nanaimo International Jazz Festival closes with Laila Biali Trio Sunday

Fire official deems morning fire at Nanaimo school suspicious

Nanaimo Fire Rescue extinguishes fire at portable at École Océane

Nanaimo hotel tax set to go up

Hospitality association lays out five-year plan for tourism in Nanaimo

Tour de Rock ready to start making its way down Vancouver Island

Tour de Rock takes place Sept. 21 to Oct. 4

Public meeting will explore ideas to battle addiction and crime in Nanaimo

Organizers call for treatment centres, accountability for crimes, citizens’ task force

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Cari McGillivray posted the head-turning video, shot near Stewart, B.C., to social media

Beefs & Bouquets, Sept. 19

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail bulletinboard@nanaimobulletin.com

Nanaimo athletes earn gold, silver, bronze at 55-Plus B.C. Games

Huge contingent of local participants competed in largest-ever 55-Plus B.C. Games in Kelowna

Nanaimo beekeepers take down nest of giant hornets

One nest eradicated at Robins Park, but there are still Asian giant hornets around

Handgun crackdown, health spending and transit plans latest campaign promises

Friday was the end of a busy week on the campaign trail

B.C. woman photographs massive ant swarm on Abbotsford driveway

She asked what the ants were doing? The answer: war

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

Most Read