5RowennaandI copy

A Generational Retrospective

Sandra Semchuk

February 7 - April 5, 2020
Join us for the Opening on Thursday, February 6, 7 PM
In A Generational Retrospective, Ukrainian-Canadian artist Sandra Semchuk shares stories that look beyond her own perspective and her own lifetime. The exhibition includes work made across almost fifty years of practice including early co-operative photographs made with her father, Martin Semchuk and her daughter, Rowenna Losin, and collaborations with her late husband, Rock Cree actor, orator and artist, James Nicholas, and with singer/composer, Jerry DesVoignes. The exhibition also includes recent video portraits dedicated to future generations that are made in collaboration with Vancouver Island-based Cree, Tsimshian, Gitksan, and Métis artist Skeena Reece. Also featured are photo and video installations that consider generations in relation to the ocean and the forest.
Sandra Semchuk has exhibited widely across Canada and internationally, and her works reside in the collections of the Vancouver Art Gallery, the National Gallery of Canada, and many others. She was a co-founder of the Photographers Gallery in Saskatoon, and was Associate Professor at Emily Carr University in Vancouver from 1987 until her recent retirement. In 2018 she was awarded the Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts.

A Generational Retrospective brings together works from Semchuk's lifelong dialogue across ages and cultures, and is the final show in a year in which Nanaimo Art Gallery asks the question "What are generations?"
Download Sandra Semchuk in conversation Nanaimo Art Gallery Curator Jesse Birch.

Image: Sandra Semchuk
Co-operative self-portrait, hand play, Rowenna and I, RR6, Saskatoon,Saskatchewan
Silver gelatin print


The Stories Were Not Told

Book Launch & Reading
April 4, 1 pm

In addition to her work as an artist, Semchuk has recently published The Stories Were Not Told, a book of writing and photographs that brings to light the experiences of Ukrainian Canadians during the First World War. Join us in the gallery for a special reading and book signing.
From 1914 to 1920, thousands of men who had immigrated to Canada from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Germany, and the Ottoman Empire were unjustly imprisoned as "enemy aliens," some with their families. Many communities in Canada where internees originated do not know these stories of Ukrainians, Germans, Bulgarians, Croatians, Czechs, Hungarians, Italians, Jews, Alevi Kurds, Armenians, Ottoman Turks, Poles, Romanians, Russians, Serbians, Slovaks, and Slovenes, amongst others. While most internees were Ukrainians, almost all were civilians.
The Stories Were Not Told presents this largely unrecognized event through photography, cultural theory, and personal testimony, including stories told at last by internees and their descendants. Semchuk describes how lives and society have been shaped by acts of legislated discrimination and how to move toward greater reconciliation, remembrance, and healing. This is necessary reading for anyone seeking to understand the cross-cultural and inter-generational consequences of Canada's first national internment operations.
The Stories Were Not Told is published by University of Alberta Press and has been made possible by a grant from the Endowment Council of the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund.

BoarderX-MAG install DBH4695x

Boarder X

Jordan Bennett, Micheal Langan/Colonialism Skateboards (in collaboration with Kent Monkman), Bracken Hanuse Corlett, Roger Crait, Steven Davies, Mark Igloliorte, Mason Mashon, Meagan Musseau, Meghann O'Brien, Les Ramsay, and Amanda Strong

April 24 – June 14, 2020
Join us for the Border X Opening and Street Party on Saturday, May 2, 12 - 4 pm (Additional opening events TBD)

Curated by Jamie Issac

Organized and circulated by Winnipeg Art Gallery

Centring contemporary works by Indigenous artists who surf, skate, and snowboard, Boarder X is an affirmation of cultural resilience and an acknowledgment of ongoing respect and reverence for the land. Paintings in the exhibition present narratives and observations of traditions, movement, balance, and entanglements of space, place, and belonging. Mobilizing traditional histories, the artworks conceptually bridge the past and present with reinventions in carving, weaving, and performance. Video and photography capture the energy of boarding with unbridled motivation and physicality.

Skateboarding, snowboarding, and surfing have always embraced intersections. Situated between sport and art, these activities encourage understanding and responding to the landscape in dynamic and expressive ways. It follows that many people who are empowered by these activities are also dedicated visual artists. Nanaimo is also a place of intersections. With three skateparks, and a fourth in development, Nanaimo is an Island destination for skateboarding, set between the world-renowned mountains of the mainland and the surf culture on the Island's west coast. Boarder X is an exciting opportunity to celebrate the rich cultures surrounding these activities, through the perspectives of eleven Indigenous artists.

Image: Bracken Hanuse Corlett
Potlatch or Die
Photo by Don Hall courtesy of McKenzie Art Gallery



Sign up to receive our newsletter.

Contact Us

150 Commercial Street
Nanaimo, British Columbia

+1 (250) 754-1750
Tue - Sat: 10 AM - 5 PM
Sun: 12 PM - 5 PM



You are here: Home Exhibitions Current