Starting next weekend the Nanaimo Art Gallery is welcoming people to the banks of the Millstone River to take in artistic, cultural and scientific presentations and activities.
On July 17 and 18 the NAG launches its new event series, huli u’tu staluẃ/Riverbed. For the next four months artists, performers, scientists and language advocates will be leading workshops and giving presentations at sites along the river. Huli u’tu staluẃ is a Hul’q’umi’num phrase meaning “life by the river.”
NAG executive director Carolyn Holmes said the Millstone River was chosen as the location for the series as part of the gallery’s ongoing effort to reflect on the territory it occupies. Other outdoor sites the NAG has presented its programming at include the Nanaimo River estuary and Wildwood Ecoforest.
“We’re very committed to working with Snuneymuxw and to exploring what it means to be a public art gallery on Snuneymuxw territory and we do that in a number of ways through our exhibitions and bringing in elders for our openings and events and hosting the Hul’q’umi’num classes,” Holmes said. “But we were trying to do more than just acknowledge the territory in words and really think how we can connect with the land more.”
The first weekend will feature Snuneymuxw artist Eliot White-Hill, Kwulasultun, along with Victoria-based environmental scientist Danielle Stevenson and artist Alexis Hogan and her mobile project space, Lichen. All three presenters recently had work on display as part of the NAG’s Rain Shadow exhibition.
“Because of our inquiry, ‘What is progress?’ we’re thinking about that in all different ways,” Holmes said. “So even progressing along the river is one way but another way is instead of bringing in new artists that we haven’t worked with before, [curator] Jesse [Birch] was keen on building on these relationships with artists or writers that have worked with the gallery in the past.”
Over the weekend, White-Hill will tell stories, Stevenson will discuss soil contamination and restoration and Hogan will open her gallery space. There will also be a print-making workshop.
WHAT’S ON … Huli u’tu staluẃ/Riverbed takes place along the Millstone River at 71 Caledonia Ave. on July 17 from 12:30 to 7 p.m. and July 18. from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Free to attend. For more information visit http://nanaimoartgallery.ca.