Natsamat (togetherness) on National Aboriginal Day 

June 21 | 4 - 8pm
Maffeo Sutton Park
Join us for National Aboriginal Day Celebrations hosted by the Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre, Mid Island Metis Nation and the Boys and Girls Club of Central Vancouver Island. Participate in a fun activity and add playful colour as we dream, discover and explore the question what does it mean to live on an island through an Indigenous lens and create a collaborative large scale mural of Vancouver Island. Hul'q'umi'num and language maps of BC will inspire our collective vision, as we imagine a new narrative for Canada 150 and beyond.   

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Marianne Nicolson Public Artwork Launch

June 25, 12 pm
60 Wharf St (at the rear of the Gallery)
Please join us on Sunday, June 25 at noon to celebrate the launch of a new public artwork on the exterior of Nanaimo Art Gallery by Marianne Nicolson, an artist of Scottish and Dzawada̱'enux̱w First Nations descent. Commissioned by the Gallery, Nicolson’s artwork responds to this site, while expanding on themes in her solo exhibition Awi’nagwiskasu: Real Land, on at the Gallery until July 2.
Many works in the exhibition Awi’nagwiskasu: Real Land,  refer directly to the ocean and the rivers of Nicolson’s traditional territory in Kingcome Inlet BC, where marine life serves as a gauge for the health of the place and the community. These concerns are also highly relevant in Nanaimo, a Harbour City that relies on the resources of the Salish Sea, and is located on the traditional territory of the Snuneymuxw Nation.
Nicolson has created many powerful site-specific public artworks in British Columbia, including The Rivers Monument (2015), a massive glass and light sculpture installed at the Vancouver International Airport and The House of the Ghosts (2008) a light projection and banner work that was installed on the front of the Vancouver Art Gallery.  She chose Nanaimo Art Gallery's rear façade at 60 Wharf Street as the site of her new work: a large colorful billboard made in response to this location. 
The Gallery’s lot backed onto a tidal inlet until 1964, when it was filled in for industrial and commercial uses. Nicolson understands the reconfiguration of Nanaimo’s waterfront as part of a long history of the exploitation of environments and resources for the sake for profit. In her artwork she utilises early twentieth century pictographs from her community in Kingcome Inlet that show the influx of settlement and resource extraction on Dzawada̱'enux̱w traditional territory.  By paralleling these two sites and histories, Nicolson links early twentieth century state appropriation of Indigenous lands to the ongoing and widespread exploitation of land and water resources. 
This public artwork is being launched on the 150th anniversary of confederation, at a time when communities and institutions, including Nanaimo Art Gallery, are participating in conversations about the process of reconciliation. Nicolson’s work 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 acknowledgement of Indigenous peoples’ displacement from their lands.
This artwork is also presented as a part of Nanaimo Art Gallery's celebration of our 40th anniversary in 2017. All year, through exhibitions, special projects, education programs and events, we explore the question What does it mean to live on an Island? 
Join us at  60 Wharf Street on Sunday, June 25 at noon to celebrate the launch of this exciting new artwork. Nicolson will be in attendance to talk about the artwork and we will share snacks and refreshments.  
This public artwork is made possible by the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, a collaboration between Nanaimo Foundation, the Government of Canada, and extraordinary leaders from coast to coast to coast.


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