Doug Allen, Michael Belmore, Allan Sekula and Noël Burch, Heather Cameron, Stan Douglas, Elisa Ferrari, E.J. Hughes, Emily Luce and Klehwetua Rod Sayers, Max Maynard, Marina Roy and Graham Meisner, Charles H. Scott, Jack Shadbolt, Tommy Ting, Hajra Waheed.
Nanaimo Art Gallery is located one block away from the city’s working harbour, a site that is distinctly local, but through oceanic networks of distribution, is connected to harbours around the world. Landfall and Departure: Prologue is an exhibition that responds to the harbour as a place where goods, labour, and stories are exchanged. Contemporary artworks are shown alongside historical images borrowed from the Nanaimo Museum, audio recordings and documents from the Nanaimo Archives, and works from Nanaimo Art Gallery’s permanent collection.
Ports and docks facilitate both thinking and being elsewhere: a place of departures and arrivals where shipping news and salty stories are shared. Set in Nanaimo, artworks in Landfall and Departure: Prologue also look to the traffic in resources, stories, luxuries, and the lives of workers in harbours around the world. The sculptures, photographs, paintings, drawings, videos, and textiles in the exhibition respond to sites in Canada, China, The United States, the Netherlands, the Persian Gulf, Japan, and harbours of the imagination.
Harbours have their own particular features and histories, but they can also articulate shared characteristics as places of both refuge and dislocation. Nanaimo markets itself as “The Harbour City”, but this moniker, common to many seaside communities, belies a tumultuous past and present. Throughout its existence the Nanaimo harbour has seen the displacement of the Snuneymuxw people who had utilised the harbour’s resources for thousands of years, the arrival of precarious mine workers from China, UK, and Scandinavia, and the World War II internment of Japanese Canadians who ran successful herring salteries and boat-building companies there. The harbour has also been transformed, displaced, filled in, and rebuilt. These physical transformations not only had profound impacts on the local environment, but also make imagining the history of this site as difficult as visualizing harbours located far across the sea.
Landfall and Departure is the third in a series of three exhibition projects that look to the resource industries that formed and fragmented communities on Vancouver Island while having implications globally. The first project: Black Diamond Dust (2014) responded to coal mining; the second project: Silva (2015/2016), responded to forestry. Landfall and Departure (2017/2018) is a two-part exhibition, which considers resources both distributed on, and extracted from, the sea.
Image credit: Marina Roy and Graham Meisner, Mal de mer, Video, 2016
Events and public programing
As a part of Nanaimo Art Gallery's celebration of 40 years, we ask the question What does it mean to live on an Island? through a widely distributed contemporary art project called Broadcast Archipelago. Through radio, and other broadcasting media, we will consult multiple voices, and share them with audiences across Nanaimo and beyond.
Throughout the year, a radio transmitter will be stationed in the gallery as a second space to exhibit audio based programming and recordings. Projects will also be broadcast and distributed through local and regional independent radio stations, and globally, through a gallery podcast. As a slow, yet widely accessible medium, radio has historically encouraged communal gathering and sustained listening. It has long been an important means of communication to and from remote locations, and it remains crucial to many regional islands and communities to disseminate information and sustain culture. By opening up a new space to encounter art, Broadcast Archipelago activates alternative modes of engagement beyond the visually dominant sphere of art.
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