Arlene Deptuck, indigenous education coordinator, centre, and Yvonne Vanderkooi, art education coordinator, gives a tour of Marianne Nicolson’s exhibition Awi’nagwiskasu: Real Land to elementary school students. Chris Kuderle Photo

Marianne Nicolson’s exhibit Awi’nagwiskasu: Real Land runs until July 2 at the Nanaimo Art Gallery

Public art launch of Nicolson’s work is Sunday (June 25)

Marianne Nicolson’s artwork first gained prominence when she scaled a cliff and painted a pictographic crest depicting the origin of her people.

The cliff was at Kingcome Inlet, B.C., near her ancestral village Gwa’yi. Nicolson is of Scottish and Dzawada’enuxw First Nations descent. She is a linguist, anthropologist and visual artist. Her work often incorporates both the Kwak’wala language and English in its titles.

Her exhibit Awi’nagwiskasu: Real Lands is on display at the Nanaimo Art Gallery, located at 150 Commercial St., until July 2. The exhibit showcases a wide selection of Nicolson’s work.

“Her work is often based on pictographic forms that are part of the community’s traditional means of expression, but then she brings them into a contemporary context,” said Jesse Birch, Nanaimo Art Gallery curator, adding that her work is rooted in her community.

Birch said the pictograph she painted on the cliff stands as a marker of vitality for her community.

“Her community went through a lot of challenges throughout the 20th century with missionary priests and the residential school system and environmental degradation and the appropriation of their land, so part of what she does is she wants to show the revitalization of her community,” said Birch.

According to the Nanaimo Art Gallery’s press release the “public artwork is being launched on the 150th anniversary of confederation, at a time when communities and institutions, including the Nanaimo Art Gallery, are participating in conversations about the process of reconciliation.” Nicolson’s artwork celebrates the “re-emergence of indigenous people’s voices, while articulating that there can be no true reconciliation between indigenous and settler societies without an acknowledgment of indigenous peoples’ displacement from their lands.”

Nicolson is also creating a public art piece that will hang on the rear of the Nanaimo Art Gallery.

The gallery is hosting a launch on Sunday (June 25) at 60 Wharf St. Nicolson will be in attendance and the public is invited to attend.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Cruise ships, one with COVID-19 on board, carry Canadians covertly through Panama Canal

Zaandam, Rotterdam pass through canal under cover of darkness in face of local protests

Beefs & Bouquets page helps restore Nanaimo woman’s pet memorial

Nora Crosby has painted rock returned, receives support from Nanaimo Rocks Facebook group

UPDATE: Nanaimo RCMP say missing 16-year-old girl has been found

RCMP had asked for help locating Trisha Harry

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

Firefighters put out structure fire on Dockside Way in Nanaimo

Incident happened just after 5 p.m. in detached building close to house

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Nanaimo doctors asking for donations of masks and gloves during COVID-19 fight

Nanaimo Division of Family Practice co-ordinating efforts to collect supplies

’The energy sector is destroyed beyond repair’: expert on COVID-19’s impact on economy

‘That’s never been heard of before; no one sells oil for $4 a barrel.’ – Dan McTeague

LifeLabs reducing public hours as it assists with COVID-19 testing

Coronavirus tests not done at B.C. patient centres, referrals only

24,000 Canadian Forces members ready for COVID-19 response: Defence Minister

No direct requests made by premiers yet, national defence minister says

IN DEPTH: How B.C. emptied its hospitals to prepare for COVID-19

Thousands of beds have been freed up, but patients and seniors have had to sacrifice

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Most Read