Em̓út | Being Home
Primrose Adams, Sonny Assu, Dempsey Bob, David A. Boxley, Corey Bulpitt, Brenda Crabtree, Ben Davidson, Robert Davidson, Aggie Davis, Shawn Hunt, Lena Jumbo, Isabel Rorick, Evelyn Vanderhoop, Xwalacktun. Curated by Ray Hartley and Sheila Hall
A new exhibition at the Libby Leshgold Gallery — Em̓út | Being Home — showcases contemporary artwork from some of British Columbia’s most accomplished contemporary Indigenous artists. The exhibition is a collaboration between the Libby Leshgold Gallery, the BC Achievement Foundation, and guest curators Ray Hartley and Sheila Hall from the Aboriginal Gathering Collective. The exhibition highlights new work from established and mid-career artists and the intergenerational work of members of the same family. The artwork is combined in the gallery with a series of intimate films from the BC Achievement Foundation about the artists and their practice.
The art has a rich and vibrant history, existing as an integral part of Indigenous cultures who have lived for thousands of years on the Northwest Coast. This dynamic art form, rich in tradition and continually innovating in response to cultural circumstances, is recognized worldwide for its distinctive character and artistic excellence.
Contemporary Northwest Coast Indigenous artists are keenly aware of their relationship to their own history. They retain a deep respect for the ancient visual language of their ancestors, and a pre-contact understanding of the art and its importance in their cultures. At the same time they push the boundaries of the art form, referencing and combining traditional and non-traditional ideas with innovative use of materials and motifs. They create art that reinterprets traditional practices, highlights current issues, and addresses historic wrongs.
The exhibition includes artwork in a variety of mediums including painting, printmaking, wood carving, textiles, basket weaving, and sculpture. It showcases the artists' unique interpretations, technical excellence, and mastery of materials, and explores both traditional art and the social, cultural, and political activism of contemporary Northwest Coast art and design.
Indigenous peoples live in all areas of the Northwest Coast, from small villages to large urban centers. They have survived the devastating impact of colonization and residential schools and are now in the process of a new resurgence, thriving in the places in which they live. This exhibition is part of a process of rewriting the historic narratives of governments and institutions and expressing an Indigenous perspective and an Indigenous truth. It is also an expression of Northwest Coast Indigenous artists understanding of Em̓út — of being home.
The BC Achievement Foundation celebrates the spirit of excellence in British Columbia by recognizing the accomplishments of our province’s artists, community leaders, youth, and volunteers. The Fulmer Award in First Nations Art honours excellence in Indigenous art and is presented each year by the BC Achievement Foundation to established, mid-career, and emerging First Nations artists. The films, which are produced in conjunction with the Award, give intimate portraits of the artists at work in their homes and studios.
This exhibition is dedicated to the memory of Ben Davidson — Tlanang nang kingaas (the one who is known far away) — who passed suddenly last August at the age of 44. Ben was a husband, father of five children, son, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin, and friend. He was also an exceptionally talented artist transforming wood, metal, paint, and paper into exquisite creations that were traditional, whimsical, and full of life – just like him. He believed in the importance of sharing Haida culture whether it was dancing at a potlatch – he was a member of the Rainbow Creek Dance Group — or creating extraordinary artwork to reflect traditional beliefs and stories. He always had a good story to tell and was incredibly generous, contributing to his community by donating art, sharing his time, or providing mentorship to others. Ben participated in two previous international exhibitions in Hawaii with the Aboriginal Gathering Collective and several of his artworks are in this exhibition.
For more information on this exhibition please visit the Libby Leshgold Gallery website.
Image: Ben Davidson, Almost There. Silkscreen serigraph on rag paper