kiskistotawâtânik aniki kîkâ kâkî-pîkîwîcik | Let us remember those that did not come home

by Caleb Ellison-Dysart

BACHELOR OF FINE ARTS, 3D ANIMATION MAJOR

THIRD YEAR | GRADUATION YEAR: 2023

This piece is dedicated to all of the Indigenous children & youth who have been impacted by the residential & day school system, and all of the other systemic injustices that settler-colonial states design, enact and perpetuate.

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Let Us Rem

 
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ABOUT THE ARTIST

Caleb Ellison-Dysart is a Nîhithaw multidisciplinary artist specializing in 3D Animation & Modelling. He creates an aesthetic that is raw and authentic, celebrating his Nîhithaw culture and an innate, ancestral connection to the land.

Leaving Paradise

by Jaiden George

BACHELOR OF FINE ARTS, PHOTOGRAPHY MAJOR

THIRD YEAR | GRADUATION YEAR: 2022

Presented with the opportunity to make anew, and standing at the cusp of substantial change and upheaval, I prompt us to reflect on the constructed landscape: who defines paradise, and what is subsequently obscured by that definition?

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ABOUT THE ARTIST

Jaiden George is a Vancouver-based photographer primarily interested in exploring the blind spots, inconsistencies and overlaps that arise as a result of the complex entanglement of people, land and culture.

Stop

by Haley Bassett

BACHELOR OF FINE ARTS, VISUAL ARTS MAJOR

ALUMNI | GRADUATION YEAR: 2020

“Stop” is comprised of steel wire and Himalayan blackberry, which I chose for its aggressive qualities. Each cane is bent nearly to its breaking point and bound by wire. The piece contains a massive store of energy, representing a latent threat.

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ABOUT THE ARTIST

My work explores how time, place and trauma converge as formational aspects of the self. I use natural materials to create these coded narratives using floriography, my personal associations with plants, as well as their cultural significance.

ECU Student on Frontlines of Fairy Creek Protests | News

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By Perrin Grauer

Posted on June 10, 2021 | Updated June 28, 2021, 9:17AM

The fight to save Vancouver Island’s ancient trees reveals an existential conflict that must be resolved to foster hope for a better future, says the Two Spirit artist.

Participating in protests against logging old-growth trees on Vancouver Island is about more than protecting forests, Naas tells me. For Naas (a camp alias being used by request), standing with protesters at Fairy Creek is about defending a vision of a sustainable, equitable future, where social and political norms prioritize people and place, instead of profit.

“Ultimately the way to achieve that future is recognizing and respecting Indigenous law and land sovereignty,” Naas says, “The First Nations are the original caretakers of this land and if there is to be hope of recovery, we must allow Indigenous land stewardship to resume.”

Naas, a Two Spirit artist and ECU student currently between his first and second year, is from the Hesquiaht First Nation. As of May, he has been serving as a camp cook on the frontlines of a fight to preserve one of the last stands of ancient trees in British Columbia.

For nearly nine months, protesters at what is broadly known as the Fairy Creek Blockade have been blocking logging company Teal-Jones from accessing a number of stands of old-growth forest in a remote region of southwestern Vancouver Island. Occupying strategic locations in camps along logging roads and on bridges near Port Renfrew, the groups have prevented fallers from accessing the Caycuse watershed to harvest the trees, many of which are hundreds or even thousands of years old — trees that protesters say represent less than three percent of remaining old growth in the province.

And by some accounts, the pressure may be working. On June 9, the BC government announced it is deferring the harvesting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek and the Central Walbran Valley for two years. The move came following a request from the Huu-ay-aht, Ditidaht and Pacheedaht First Nations to defer old-growth logging while they prepare stewardship plans. But the deferral represents only a start to the work Naas hopes the blockade might accomplish.

“These protests really represent a huge push for recognizing toxic systems, and recognizing we need change, even if it seems impossible at this point in time,” he says. “Because if we don’t change — if we don’t confront extractive resource practices and this idea of working-to-live — there’s not going to be anything left.”

Full article by Perrin Grauer: https://www.ecuad.ca/news/2021/ecu-student-on-frontlines-of-fairy-creek-protests-says-blockades-are-a-battleground-for-a-sustainable-future

Preston Buffalo is Taking the Power Back

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By Perrin Grauer

Posted on June 03, 2021 | Updated June 28, 2021, 10:42AM

On the occasion of his first solo exhibition, the iconoclastic artist reflects on his deep, defiant art practice and his journey to becoming a student at ECU.

Speaking with artist Preston Buffalo, it quickly becomes clear his life and work are fiercely resistant to definition. And that’s just the way he likes it.

“If somebody can’t put a label on you, it’s really uncomfortable for them,” he tells me by phone from his 200 square-foot live-work space in Vancouver’s Railtown neighbourhood. “They don’t know what to do with you. I feel like that’s where I fit in.”

When it comes to art, he’s not interested in shock value, he says. Although he does believe it’s “important to leave somebody a little bit unsettled; leave them wondering what they just looked at.”

Preston’s ease with exploring edge-case questions — often raised by his own, self-professed outsider status — is evident in his first solo exhibition, Digitizing Indigeneity, currently showing at Never Apart, in Montreal, through June 27. The sprawling virtual exhibition showcases his fluency across media, including sculpture, printmaking, photography, soundscape and digital media.

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As with the rest of his practice, Preston’s instinct toward iconoclasm is front and centre throughout Digitizing Indigeneity. Describing himself as an “urban, queer Indigenous artist,” Preston is a Cree man, raised on the West Coast among Coast Salish elders and artists, who paints Formline poodles — a “clan symbol” for “those of us out there who are disenfranchised.” He explores feelings of displacement from the community of his birth and from his family’s ancestral lands in Alberta in a series of exquisite black-and-white photographs recording the decay of fence posts and abandoned automobiles under epic prairie skies.

Full article by Perrin Grauer: https://www.ecuad.ca/news/2021/preston-buffalo-is-taking-the-power-back

Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill Sees a Wide-Open World, Freed from the Impossible

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By Perrin Grauer

Posted on June 01, 2021 | Updated June 01, 2021, 9:02AM

The artist and ECU faculty member on materiality, storytelling, and how decentering dominant histories can foster a better future.

Oftentimes, visions of the everyday can pass us by without making us blink.

For Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill, multidisciplinary artist, writer and assistant professor in Emily Carr University’s Audain Faculty of Art, the everyday is a space that has only just begun to reveal its secrets. In the commonplace, she sees a rich material vocabulary, brimming with potential. In the concept of “ordinary,” she sees a “hierarchy of knowledges” overdue for dismantling.

To engage artistically with such concepts, Gabrielle fittingly starts with what is closest at hand.

“I often work with materials that are sourced from plants, or dollar stores, or things I find in the street; things I already see around myself in my life,” she says. “I think materials definitely speak a language. I hope mine talk about everyday experiences, the charge and the possibility in those common things.”

Some days, says Gabrielle, a wander around a neighbourhood can be enough to both renew a connection to the here-and-now, and to locate herself within the broader movement of history.

“Sometimes I just like walking down the street and picking thistles and dandelions and appreciating these tough little plants,” she says. “But sometimes I learn about the stories of people who have left whatever object behind, and sometimes I can connect into larger sweeping narratives of change and history when I learn about the materials I work with.”

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This keen sense of how materials can both speak to connections and unearth the elemental in the everyday is clearly on display in the works that make up Gabrielle’s current solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), in New York City. Titled Projects: Gabrielle L’Hirondelle Hill, the show runs through Aug. 15, as part of MoMA’s Elaine Dannheisser Projects Series.

Full article by Perrin Grauer: https://www.ecuad.ca/news/2021/gabrielle-lhirondelle-hill-sees-a-wide-open-world-freed-from-the-impossible

Eve Tuck Helps Students “Become More Like Themselves”

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By Madeline Barber

Posted on May 25, 2021

Meet the recipient of our 2021 Honorary Doctorate.

Despite the impressive list of honours and achievements under Eve Tuck’s belt, the first words she uses to describe being awarded Emily Carr University’s 2021 honorary doctorate are “surprised” and “humbled.”

Tuck, who is Unangax̂ and an enrolled member of the Aleut Community of St. Paul Island, Alaska, is currently the Associate Professor of Critical Race and Indigenous studies at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) of the University of Toronto. She is also the Canada Research Chair of Indigenous Methodologies with Youth and Communities, a recent William T. Grant Scholar (2015-2020), and a Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow (2011-2012).

“It feels like a very unexpected recognition,” Tuck says, adding that it’s meaningful because Emily Carr University’s discipline and practices are seemingly disparate from her own. As a writer, teacher, and researcher, her work centres Indigenous social thought, and the ways it can be “engaged to create more fair and just social policy, more meaningful social movements, and robust approaches to decolonization.”

For those who have had the pleasure of even a short interaction with Eve, “humble” feels like an appropriate description of her character. She’s quick to credit the work of others, and notes that it’s her collaborations that are most important to her.

It’s these collaborations that she says the honorary doctorate reflects, including those with creators who consider the role of research within their art and design practice. “It’s almost like its tapping into a secret wish I had for myself to be able to work with artists or make work that is conversant with artists and people who are thinking about design and visuality and recording and installation as other ways of making meaning.”

Full article by Perrin Grauer: https://www.ecuad.ca/news/2021/eve-tuck-helps-students-become-more-like-themselves

Film Documenting Megan Jensen’s Monumental Snow Artwork Weaves Together Myriad Influences

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By Perrin Grauer

Posted on May 24, 2021

The film, titled How Raven brought light to the world, touches on themes both intimate and omnipresent, says the artist and recent ECU grad.

A spectacular film featuring multidisciplinary Tlingit artist, cultural lead, community engagement specialist, language speaker and regalia creator Megan Jensen (BFA 2020) creating a monumental artwork in the snow is all the more spectacular for the many threads it draws together off-screen, Megan says.

Produced along with a team of artists for Travel Yukon, Megan says she was still feeling awed by the experience more than two months after filming had wrapped.

“Starting out, I had no idea it was going to turn into something so beautiful and meaningful, with so many different layers,” she tells me from her home Whitehorse, where she moved after graduation and now works as an art media specialist with the Yukon First Nation Education Directorate. “This video made me really believe in how things happen for a reason.”

The film, titled How Raven brought light to the world, features Megan telling a creation story about Raven. By transforming himself, the Raven tricks a great Chief into giving him three coveted boxes, containing the sun, moon and stars. Once opened, the celestial bodies are released spinning into the sky, bringing light to a dark world.

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Megan’s telling of the story is spoken in Lingít (Tlingit). Megan is of Dakhká Tlingit and Tagish Khwáan Ancestry from the Dahk’laweidi Clan (killer whale) which falls under the wolf/eagle moiety. And while Megan is the focus of the film, she stresses the project was a team effort, with each member’s contribution a vital part of the epic work.

Full article by Perrin Grauer: https://www.ecuad.ca/news/2021/film-snow-artwork-myriad-influences-megan-jensen

‘Beyond Now’ Honours the Resilience of Indigenous Community

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By Perrin Grauer

Posted on May 11, 2021

The 2021 exhibition catalogue showcases the works of Indigenous artists at Emily Carr University.

A new book spotlighting the 2021 exhibition by Indigenous students, staff, faculty and alumni at Emily Carr University takes stock of the extraordinary diversity of the group’s art practices, conjuring images of a brighter future through art.

Titled Beyond Now, the catalogue documents the exhibition of the same name, which took place at Emily Carr University in March, 2021. Like the show, the book celebrates connectedness despite an unprecedented isolation, write Angela Marston, artist, designer and program coordinator at the Aboriginal Gathering Place (AGP), and Sydney Pickering, artist, activist, family archivist, community advocate and Aboriginal lead with the AGP.

“As we navigate through a time of uncertainty, we are able to find connection, community and culture through this collection of artworks by Emily Carr University’s Indigenous students, alumni, faculty, and staff,” the pair, who curated Beyond Now, write in their exhibition statement. “This exhibition explores living towards the future. Our ancestors thought beyond the present with future generations in mind. As we live in a time of uncertainty, what do you see beyond now? What do you hope for beyond now?”

Elegantly laid out by Sydney, the full-colour catalogue features profiles of the artists who participated in the Beyond Now exhibition. Biographies, artist statements and photos of artworks are included for artists Randall Barnetson, Diane Blunt, Preston Buffalo, Destanie Clayton, Brenda Crabtree, Nicole Johnston, Zoë Laycock, Angela Marston, Levi Nelson, Daniel Pickering, Sydney Pickering, Jessey Tustin, Connie Watts and Meghan Weeks.

“It has been an honour to work with pieces that truly show our Indigenous community’s creativity and talent,” Sydney writes in her acknowledgments. “Although we are all experiencing our own challenges during this difficult time, it was refreshing to be able to create a space to honour our community’s strength and resilience through art.”

Visit the AGP’s website at aboriginal.ecuad.ca to download the digital catalogue, and learn about past exhibitions by Aboriginal students at Emily Carr.