Sydney Frances Pascal Solo Exhibition Opens at Polygon Gallery

The show includes seven animal hides tanned by the artist as well as her mentor, master tanner Mara Cur. (Photo courtesy Sydney Frances Pascal)

By Perrin Grauer. Originally posted on ECU News.

The artist and ECU staff member + alum brings her distinct voice and material language to her first solo outing at a major public gallery.

New work by artist and Emily Carr University of Art + Design (ECU) staff member Sydney Frances Pascal (MFA 2023) is featured in a solo exhibition at The Polygon Gallery in North Vancouver.

Titled Sydney Frances Pascal: We raised ourselves together and alone, the show includes seven animal hides in a meditation on the anxious and hopeful act of looking to the past and future at a moment of great change.

“I wanted to think seven generations back and to imagine whether there will be seven generations going forward given the uncertainty with the world, with life in general,” says Sydney, a member of the Líl̓wat Nation and Aboriginal program coordinator at the Aboriginal Gathering Place.

The seven hides are anchored to the gallery’s walls and ceiling by yellow construction rope. Some are adorned with photo transfers featuring historical figures, while others bear a “personal symbology” rendered in red ochre. The hides include buckskin, rawhide and smoked rawhide — all different stages of the traditional hide-tanning process.

Dramatic shadows cascade from the suspended hides down the walls of The Polygon Gallery. (Photo by Dennis Ha / courtesy The Polygon Gallery)

The hides themselves point to Líl̓wat traditions that continue to connect families and communities. Meanwhile, the construction rope references colonial forces that aim to pull those communities apart. This relationship parallels how Indigenous people must “learn to adapt, learn to live in this space — it’s just part of the tension of life now,” she says.

We raised ourselves together and alone embodies the paradox of this tension, from despair to promise. For Sydney, that promise is most clearly reflected in the practice of acknowledging and honouring tradition, history, family and community — values she believes offer hope for humanity’s most entrenched problems.

An image of Sydney’s great-great-grandfather, Líl̓wat Chief William Pascal, taken at Spence’s Bridge during the signing of the Líl̓wat Declaration of Independence, is featured in the work, while the use of red ochre gestures toward stories Sydney heard about ancestors painting their faces with red ochre to protect themselves from powerful energies. Ochre was also used by Lil̓wat7ul to paint pictographs, some of which remain visible today.

Some of the hides are adorned with photo transfers featuring historical figures, while others bear a “personal symbology” rendered in red ochre. (Photo by Dennis Ha / courtesy The Polygon Gallery)

Sydney had her brother mark the back of each hide with a “fingerprint of ochre with bear grease as a form of protection,” she says.

“I’ve been thinking a lot about pictographs and how I can create my own symbology to tell a new story using old forms. So, by integrating an old symbology and old forms of storytelling into the present time, I can create my own symbology that makes sense for this time. It’s like bringing them into the room to witness what’s happening.”

The title of the work is drawn from a poem titled Who Am I?, written by her grandmother when she first reconnected with Sydney’s mother. The pair were forcibly separated decades earlier by child welfare authorities during the Sixties Scoop.

One of the hides in the show was tanned by Sydney’s hide-tanning mentor, master tanner Mara Cur. And Sydney’s brother Daniel, who now works with The Polygon, assisted her with the installation of the work.

“Hide-tanning — and just art in general — are community-based. It’s not just me. There are so many people involved in helping me,” she says, adding that seeing these works in a major public gallery suggests the tradition may remain durable even in an uncertain future. “Having hide-tanning in institutional spaces and seeing more artists view hides in their own way as a form of expression or storytelling makes me feel like the practice is coming back.”

“By integrating an old symbology and old forms of storytelling into the present time, I can create my own symbology that makes sense for this time.” (Photo by Dennis Ha / courtesy The Polygon Gallery)

Sydney Frances Pascal: We raised ourselves together and alone runs through Sept. 22 at the Polygon Gallery. As part of the exhibition, a screening of film works by Sydney and artist Aerial Sunday-Cardinal (Nehiyaw, Plains Cree) will take place on Thursday, June 20, at the Polygon. The screening will be followed by a conversation between Sydney and Aerial, moderated by exhibition curator Joelle Johnston. Admission is free and open to the public.

Listen to Sydney and Joelle, who also works as Indigenous liaison and community outreach at Polygon, speak about the show with reporter Jeremy Ratt on CBC’s North by Northwest.

Visit Sydney’s website and follow her on Instagram to learn more about her work.

Lindsay McIntyre Named Sundance Institute and Forge Project Fellow

A photo from 1904 depicting Lindsay McIntyre’s great-great grandparents in Qatiktalik, NU. (Photo from Library and Archives Canada)

By Perrin Grauer. Originally posted on ECU News.

The filmmaker and ECU faculty member brings a pair of personal projects to the renowned fellowship programs in New Mexico and New York.

Artist, filmmaker and Emily Carr University of Art + Design (ECU) faculty member Lindsay McIntyre has been awarded a pair of prestigious fellowships from the Sundance Institute and Forge Project.

Having returned from the initial in-person intensive at the Sundance Institute’s Native Lab, held this year in New Mexico, Lindsay spoke in glowing terms about the experience.

“It’s an incredible group of people,” she says of her peers and the mentorship team at Sundance. “They’re brilliant and very supportive and it’s made a world of difference to have people care so deeply and invest in thinking about what I’m doing, what it could be and how it could happen. It was fantastic being in Santa Fe.”

Lindsay’s focus at Sundance is the script for her upcoming feature film, The Words We Can’t Speak. She’s been working with the story in various forms since 2004, but writing the dramatic feature has been a focus for the past five years.

The narrative is based on the lived experience of Lindsay’s Inuk grandmother in the late 1930s. A version of the story animates Lindsay’s recent, award-winning short, NIGIQTUQ ᓂᒋᖅᑐᖅ (The South Wind), which Lindsay views as a kind of preview of the broader story she hopes to tell.

The Words We Can’t Speak represents Lindsay’s entry into feature-length drama. She notes the time she’s taken with development is a function of the care and integrity with which she insists on treating the story and its telling at every stage.

“To assume you can entertain somebody for two hours or that your story is important enough to tell at that length is not something I’ve ever felt before,” she says. “But this particular story is based on a true story, and in making it, I aim to honour my grandmother, the Inuit community connected to the story and the story itself. It will only be told once and it has to be done right. It’s a story I want everyone to feel in their bones.”

Lindsay used a hand-processed caribou hide as part of an artwork displayed at the Rovaniemi Art Museum in Finland through the spring. (Photo by Tatu Kantomaa, Rovaniemi Art Museum / courtesy Lindsay McIntyre)

Lindsay adds that community consultation and reciprocity have figured into every part of the film’s development and will continue to do so. For instance, shooting on location in Nunavut is a “non-negotiable,” she says. Likewise, it will be important to create mentorship opportunities for Inuit youth throughout pre-production and production and limit hierarchical filming structures.

This model for film production is unusual, Lindsay continues. However, filmmakers such as Zacharias Kunuk, Rhayne Vermette and Sarah Polley are already demonstrating how great films can be made while overturning longstanding paradigms.

“I think it’s important to hold fast to your vision for a project,” she says. “That’s how we make work that is unique, different and important, and that tells important stories.”

Read the full story on ECU News.

Indigenous Summer Market

We are excited to be hosting our 2nd Indigenous Summer Market at ECU as part of Indigenous History Month. This year we will host over 20 Indigenous vendors in the Michael O’Brian Exhibition Commons (right outside the AGP on the second floor). Please join us!

Indigenous Summer Market
Emily Carr University of Art + Design
520 E 1 Ave, Vancouver, BC

June 14: 1pm to 7pm
June 15: 11am to 4pm

Your Old Way Kind of Vision

We are excited to announce an upcoming exhibition at the Libby Leshgold Gallery, Your Old Way Kind of Vision, curated by Daina Warren.

Opening Reception
May 31, 2024, 6pm-9pm

Exhibition Dates
June 1 – 30, 2024

Your Old Way Kind of Vision brings together the works of four artists  – Siku Allooloo, Catherine Blackburn, Wally Dion, and Charlene Vickers – who explore their Indigenous backgrounds through distinct artistic practices. Using Allooloo’s poem as a jumping off point, the exhibition uplifts ways of seeing, living, and making that evoke a sense of possibility, return, and expansion in relation to contemporary Indigenous identities. Through a diversity of approach each artist builds nuance through materials and ideas that speak equally of traditional material cultures and contemporary vision. Far from a dichotomy of past and present, Your Old Way Kind of Vision expresses a deeply layered and sensory engagement, highlighting an expansive re-imagining of traditional concepts – and the practices that are shaping Indigenous contemporary art into the future.

Artist/Photo Credit: Wally Dion
bison quilt, 2023. 127.25H x 106.25W, fabric, copper pipe

Libby Leshgold Gallery
Emily Carr University of Art + Design
520 E 1 Ave, Vancouver, BC
Open daily, 12pm-5pm

Eliot White-Hill, Kwulasultun Shows at American Museum of Natural History

Eliot White-Hill, Kwulasultun, at the American Museum of Natural History. (Photo by Alvaro Keding / courtesy AMNH)

By Perrin Grauer. Originally posted on ECU News.

The artist and recent MFA grad is among five artists selected for the museum’s new exhibition celebrating contemporary Northwest Coast Indigenous art.

Artist Eliot White-Hill, Kwulasultun (MFA 2023) is one of five Northwest Coast artists participating in a new exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York City, NY.

Eliot, who is Coast Salish from Snuneymuxw First Nation and also traces his roots to Spune’luxutth and Hupač̓asatḥ First Nations, calls the feeling of showing in the storied museum’s Northwest Coast Hall “surreal.”

“It’s such an honour to have my art on display here, to be asked to be here, to be representing myself and my family and my community in this way,” he says via phone from New York. “It’s also a complicated feeling because the objects in the Northwest Coast Hall, for the most part, did not arrive in New York City in a good way. They should be back home where they belong.”

Titled Grounded by Our Roots, the show also features works by Hawilkwalał Rebecca Baker-Grenier (Kwakiuł, Musgamagw Dzawada’enuxw, Skwxwú7mesh), Alison Bremner Naxhshagheit (Tlingit), SGidGang.Xaal Shoshannah Greene (Haida) and Nash’mene’ta’naht Atheana Picha (Kwantlen First Nation).

Eliot says he feels honoured to show alongside this group of brilliant artists, some of whom he already knows personally. Shoshannah, for instance, is a close friend with whom Eliot often spends time drawing or watching films in Vancouver. He notes one of his works in the AMNH show was created during his final year in the Emily Carr MFA program.

4c Through the Spindle Other Whorlds AK 240329 6958
Eliot White-Hill, Kwulasultun, Through the Spindle / Other Whorlds (2021): a serigraph that explores the concept of the sulsultun (spindle whorl), a sacred source of knowledge within the Coast Salish world. (Photo by Alvaro Keding/ courtesy AMNH)

Over a few days in New York, Eliot spoke with journalists and attended an opening ceremony with museum board members, staff and other museum associates. He was also able to spend time in the archives, which he says contain one of the world’s most significant collections of Northwest Coast art.

Many of the items in the archive are no longer on public display. New regulations, passed earlier this year under the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, require federally funded institutions to obtain permission from Indigenous Nations to display remains and cultural objects. This spurred the AMNH to close two halls dedicated to Indigenous cultures of North America and cover cases containing Indigenous artifacts.

In the archives, Eliot was able to hold a small carving that had been taken from his home community more than a century ago, which he says was both profound and painful. Meanwhile, his work in the Northwest Coast Hall shares space with a pair of potlatch screens that were made by his ancestors on Vancouver Island.

“It’s a complex feeling because they should be in Port Alberni with my family,” he says. “But I hope that my art being there can offer healing to those potlatch screens that have been in New York for over a hundred years now.”

Read the full story on ECU News.

4b We Fell From the Sky AK 240329 6978
Eliot White-Hill, Kwulasultun, We Fell From the Sky / Together and Apart (2022): mixed media on birch panel that tells one of the creation stories of the Snuneymuxw First Nation, whose ancestors fell from the sky onto Te’tuxwtun. (Photo by Alvaro Keding/ courtesy AMNH)

 

Nadia Myre to receive 2024 Emily Award

[Excerpted from ECU News]

Emily Carr University of Art + Design is pleased to present this year’s Emily Award to celebrated contemporary visual artist Nadia Myre, who graduated from ECU in 1997.

The annual Emily Award Program recognizes the outstanding achievements of alum community members whose creative pursuits in the arts, media and design have brought recognition to the university.

Nadia Myre (born 1974) is a contemporary visual artist from Montreal, Quebec and an Algonquin member of the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation who lives and works in Montreal. For over a decade, her multi-disciplinary practice has been inspired by participant involvement as well as recurring themes of identity, language, and longing and loss.

Canadian Art Magazine writes of the artist, “Nadia Myre’s work weaves together complex histories of Aboriginal identity, nationhood, memory and handicraft, using beadwork techniques to craft exquisite and laborious works.” Through her body of work, Myre is interested in having conversations about collective identity, resilience and the politics of belonging. She graduated from Camosun College (1995) and Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver (1997) and holds a master’s degree in visual arts from Concordia University (2002). Myre has an extensive exhibition history, with over 115 shows—25 of which have been solos—just in the last ten years. Her work can be found in the National Gallery of Canada, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, National Museum of Fine Arts of Quebec, the Canadian Museum of History and the Canadian Embassies of New York, London, Paris and Greece.

Myre is a recipient of numerous awards, notably Compagne des arts et des lettres du Québec (2019), Banff Centre for Arts Walter Phillips Gallery Indigenous Commission Award (2016), Sobey Art Award (2014), Pratt & Whitney Canada’s ‘Les Elles de l’art’ for the Conseil des arts de Montréal (2011), Quebec Arts Council’s Prix à la création artistique pour la region des Laurentides (2009), and a Fellowship from the Eiteljorg Museum (2003). In 2023 she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

You can see her work at nadiamyre.net

Films by Sydney Frances Pascal Show in ‘Whitney Biennial 2024: Even Better Than the Real Thing’

 

Sydney Frances Pascal in April, 2024, with a handmade, animal-hide drum. (Photo by Perrin Grauer)

By Perrin Grauer (Originally posted on ECU News

A pair of films by the artist, ECU staff member, and alum will screen during the renowned exhibition at one of the international art-world’s premier institutions.

A pair of short films by artist and ECU staff member Sydney Frances Pascal (MFA 2023) have been selected to show at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City, NY.

Titled distance and n̓áskan nwálhen ninskúz7a (i am going to meet my daughter), the films trace the intergenerational struggle to reconnect undertaken by Sydney’s family.

Having attended an opening for the artists and curators, Sydney says it felt “wild” to meet renowned Indigenous artists as well as art-world luminaries like curator Meg Onli and Whitney director Scott Rothkopf.

“They were all super friendly and sweet,” she says. “They said, ‘You’re Whitney family, we want you to come back. We’re so excited you’re here with us.’ I was just kind of in awe. All I could think of were artists I studied who’ve shown at the Whitney — the Rebecca Belmores of the world. It was a little surreal and kind of strange to think that I was there, too.”

Both films, which were created during Sydney’s studies in the MFA program at Emily Carr, air on May 3 as part of Whitney Biennial 2024: Even Better Than the Real Thing. They are included among works by by Samí, Mongolian, Mapuche, Inuk and Native American artists in a film program titled The Land Wants You, organized by guest curator asinnajaq. Sydney will also participate in a conversation following the screening along with asinnajaq, Samí photographer and director Carl-Johan Utsi, and fellow biennial artists Kite and Lada Suomenrinne.

Still frames from Sydney Frances Pascal’s 2022 film, distance. (Images courtesy Sydney Frances Pascal)

Sydney’s family was one of many shattered by the Sixties Scoop. Her mother was separated from her extended family for most of her life. Sydney, a member of the Lil’wat Nation, was born on Vancouver Island and grew up in Alberta. It was only as an adult that she reconnected with her Lil ̓wat7úl community and came to understand her family’s story of displacement.

distance, made in 2022, imagines a search conducted by Sydney’s grandmother whose daughter — Sydney’s mother — was taken without her consent by child welfare authorities in the 1960s. Filmed on Wreck Beach on Musqueam territory, the camera peers quietly into fog-shrouded forests and then out to sea. Sydney, fully clothed, eventually enters the water to swim and then float, a tiny speck on a vast grey ocean.

n̓áskan nwálhen ninskúz7a (i am going to meet my daughter), made in 2023, draws on archival audio from a 1990s BCTV news feature capturing the reunion between Sydney’s grandmother and her adult daughter. The archival audio is complemented by a voiceover from Sydney, recorded at Lillooet Lake, on Lil’wat territory, as well as a Lil’wat song that plays at the end.

“I was thinking through her perspective about what it’s like to be able to go home, and what it means to be able to have that connection to home because of her,” Sydney says.

One of the voice clips is drawn from the naming ceremony that took place on the first day Sydney’s mother and grandmother met in person.

“My grandma says, ‘I still want to hang onto the ties of our history, and I know it may stop at Maria, but it was important I gave her a name.’” But it didn’t stop with my mother, and now me and my brothers are here and we’re doing well. I’m trying to learn the language and other traditions, and I hope she’s happy.”

Still frames from Sydney Frances Pascal’s 2023 film, n̓áskan nwálhen ninskúz7a (i am going to meet my daughter). (Images courtesy Sydney Frances Pascal)

Her grandmother, a longtime land defender and Indigenous rights advocate, is now deceased. Her story is emblematic of the colonial history that continues to shape lives across the country. And Sydney notes this is still living history. She herself is part of the first generation in her family to have not been taken from their parents — a fact she calls “inconceivable,” for all its real and lasting impacts.

Threading the needle between her characteristic humility and resoluteness, Sydney notes that taking on the work of speaking for an entire nation’s history is no longer her — or her family’s — burden to bear.

“Art is for everyone to look at or consume, but I only really make it for my family’s approval and for my community,” she says. “I’m doing it for me and my mom, my family, to feel better and to move through something we didn’t really know how to get past. As long as they’re happy, I feel like I’m doing it in a good way. I really don’t care what anyone else thinks.”

Though she adds that “to have my grandmother’s voice travel to different parts of the world, echoing out there is amazing.”

Look for distance and n̓áskan nwálhen ninskúz7a (i am going to meet my daughter) in the 2024 virtual edition of The Show graduating student exhibition.

Visit Sydney’s website and follow her on Instagram to learn more about her work.

Frybread as Fok

The Aboriginal Gathering Place’s Annual Exhibition will be on view from February 1-15 in the Michael O’Brian Exhibition Commons on the second floor of ECU. This year’s exhibition, titled Frybread as Fok, has been co-curated by students Zoë Laycock, Aaron Rice, Vance Wright, Taylor Baptiste, and Rylee Taje and features work by ECU Indigenous students, staff, faculty, and alumni.

Curator’s Statement

Frybread, that coveted deep-fried comfort food, found across turtle island beckons us to gather once again. A deep-fried dough, made of water, salt, flour, and lard. It represents survival and resilience. It is resistance. It is love. It is tragic and problematic, but we love it anyway.

Honey-brown, with a light crunchy surface and a fluffy core. It can be found at powwows, potlatch, lacrosse games, the Bingo Hall, wrapped in napkins and stuffed in purses, pockets, and picnic baskets.

Dads make ‘em, aunties, and moms make ‘em, rez dogs maybe not. Frybread is best served hot and fresh. It can be topped with chili and cheese, dipped in cinnamon sugar, or slathered in home-made jam. Frybread is great with butter and wild meat stews. Frybread feeds our hungry tongues, comforts our hearts and bridges the time away from one another. We gather, we welcome one another, and we move into the future.

Frybread is everything.  

FRYBREAD AS FOK is a show that embodies the experiences of growing up unapologetically Indigenous. Over 30 artists of Indigenous heritage present their individual perspectives through painting, sculpture, film, printmaking, textile work and play. Spanning ECU students, faculty, staff, and alumni, this exhibition celebrates kin, makes space for the ancestors and for Indigenous voices. Frybread as Fok is a declaration of autonomy.

Rolande Souliere Hosts Student Workshops at Aboriginal Gathering Place

Artist Rolande Souliere holds out a caribou tuft in-progress during a workshop at the Aboriginal Gathering Place at ECU. (Photo by Perrin Grauer)

By Perrin Grauer
[Originally posted on ECU News.]

The celebrated artist aims to help Indigenous students connect more closely with their practices and one another ahead of the upcoming Indigenous art exhibition, which opens on Feb. 1 at Emily Carr.

Ahead of the upcoming Indigenous artists’ exhibition at Emily Carr University, artist Rolande Souliere is leading a series of workshops at the Aboriginal Gathering Place (AGP).

A Toronto-born member of the Michipicoten First Nation, Rolande will give students support and guidance aimed at producing artwork for the upcoming Indigenous exhibition and increasing visual analysis within their practices.

“It’s good for emerging Indigenous artists to meet each other and develop friendships and networks,” Rolande remarks from her studio in North Vancouver where she is currently an artist-in-residence at Griffin Art Projects.

“It’s important to connect and share stories. The AGP has a lot of interesting materials that are also very traditional. It’ll be good to abstract those materials with students and see what they come up with.”

Artist and ECU student Nevada Lynn displays a drum which will be completed by fellow artist and ECU student Georgina “G” McBride for inclusion in the Frybread as Fok exhibition. (Photo by Perrin Grauer)
Artist and Manager of Aboriginal Programs at ECU Kajola Morewood works on her “Inuit yoyo” ahead of the show. (Photo by Perrin Grauer)

While Rolande has earned an international reputation for her experimental, multi-disciplinary practice, she came to art later in life. Having worked as a computer programmer in Canada, she moved to Sydney, Australia in the late 1990s. As a mother to two young children, she began looking for another career path.

“My mother said, ‘Why don’t you do an art degree?’” Rolande remembers. “I had never painted anything in my life. I did traditional regalia, but very badly. My mother said, ‘You’re always talking about art. You’re looking at art. Just give it a go.’”

Rolande began painting and assembling a portfolio, earning her admission to the BFA program at the Sydney College of the Arts. With tuition and childcare assistance from her First Nation, Rolande threw herself into her practice.

She entered the art school as a painter with a particular love for abstraction. Soon after, instructor and artist Mikala Dwyer introduced Rolande to installation art.

“I’ve never looked back,” she says. Working with industrial materials led to public artworks, and eventually to what she calls ‘socially engaged’ or ‘community art’.

Rolande has since earned a Master of Visual Arts degree, a PhD and a presence in galleries in Canada, Australia and beyond. She notes her cross-continental career was built on hard work in the community as much as in the studio.

Read the full article on ECU News.

Islands of Decolonial Love: A Reception and Readings

Islands of Decolonial Love: A Reception and Readings.
January 12, 2024 at 6pm (readings at 6:30pm)
Aboriginal Gathering Place at Emily Carr University of Art + Design

In celebration of Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s groundbreaking short story collection, writer & filmmaker Justin Ducharme explores key excerpts that are points of influence and research for his upcoming directorial feature film debut SEVENTEEN. Featuring live monologues by Shane Sable, Madelaine McCallum, Monday Blues and Tarene Thomas, selected and directed by Ducharme.

Presented by the Libby Leshgold Gallery + Aboriginal Gathering Place in conjunction with Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s sold out Hopper Lecture Theories of Water – Using Michi Saagiig Nishnaabe Consciousness to Dismantle the Present Moment.

Reception is free and open to the public; no registration required.