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New Art Honours First Nations Culture

by NationTalk on September 27, 2009586 Views

NEWS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
2009ARR0004-000401
September 25, 2009

Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
First Peoples’ Heritage, Language and Culture Council
Government House

VICTORIA – Four pieces of original First Nations art commissioned to honour the contribution of Aboriginal peoples in British Columbia and enhance the collection at Government House, were first shown at Government House today.“It is with deep respect that I accept these artworks into the Government House permanent collection,” said the Honourable Steven Point, Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia. “These art pieces will serve as a visible reminder to all visitors of the continuing power and beauty of First Nations culture here in British Columbia.”

The art pieces were commissioned in 2008 by the First Peoples’ Heritage, Language and Culture Council through BC150 with $100,000 from the Province. In response to an open call, 29 artists submitted proposals that were reviewed by a panel of respected Aboriginal artists who selected the four original artworks. These works speak to the notions of reconciliation, collaboration and understanding.

“B.C. is known around the world for its exceptional First Nations artists,” said George Abbott, Minister of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation. “Installing these four works at Government House supports and honours Aboriginal artistic expression in our province.”

The following original artworks will become part of the permanent collection at Government House:

· Woven blanket, Debra Sparrow, Coast Salish.

· Steam bent canoe box (carved and painted), Bruce Alfred, Kwakwaka’wakw.

· Sea otter work (acrylic and mixed media on wood), Marianne Nicolson, Kwakwaka’wakw.

· Healing pole (4.27 metres or 14 feet), Luke Marston, Coast Salish.

“It has been our great honour to facilitate this opportunity for these four talented artists,” said Tracey Herbert, Executive Director of the First Peoples’ Heritage, Language and Culture Council. “Commissioning these First Nations artists to create culturally significant works for Government House is an important act of reconciliation.”

The Province supports the work of the First Peoples’ Heritage, Language and Culture Council. The Council assists B.C. First Nations in their efforts to revitalize their languages, arts and cultures through the delivery of programs and services. Since 2001, the Province has provided over $10 million to the Council for language, arts and culture revitalization.

For more information about the First Peoples’ Heritage, Language and Culture Council visit www.fphlcc.ca.

To learn more about the programs and services provided through the Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation visit www.gov.bc.ca/arr.

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Contact:

Maria Wilkie
Communications Director
Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
250 953-3211
250 361-7720 (cell)

Megan Lappi
Communications Manager
First Peoples’ Heritage, Language and Culture Council
250 652-5952


BACKGROUNDER

September 25, 2009

Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation

First Peoples’ Heritage, Language and Culture Council

Government House

NEW ART HONOURS FIRST NATIONS CULTURE

VICTORIA – The Province provided $100,000 to the First Peoples’ Heritage, Language and Culture Council to commission original art pieces from B.C. Aboriginal artists to celebrate the contribution of First Nations in British Columbia. The art pieces will become part of the permanent collection at Government House.

Debra Sparrow, Woven Blanket

Debra Sparrow was born and raised on the Musqueam Indian Reserve and is self-taught in Salish design and jewellery-making. Her work can be seen in various museums and institutions including the University of British Columbia, Vancouver International Airport, Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, the Royal B.C. Museum in Victoria and the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in Seattle, WA. Debra designed the logo for the Canadian Men’s Hockey Team for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver, B.C. She also continues to work on pieces close to her heart at her home in Musqueam. It is Debra’s hope to educate others about the beauty and integrity of her people’s history through her art.

Bruce Alfred, Steam Bent Box

Bruce Alfred was born in 1950 in Alert Bay, a remote island village on the northern coast of Vancouver Island. He apprenticed with renowned artists Richard Hunt and Doug Crammer. In 1980, he was chosen as one of the contemporary artists to be included in the exhibition, “Legacy—Tradition and Innovation in Northwest Coast Indian Art” curated by Peter Macnair for the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria. Bruce has been involved in the development and growth of the U’Mista Cultural Centre in Alert Bay. In 1996, he was hired as one of four carvers to create a Northwest Coast village installation (which included several totem poles of greater than 7.6 metres (25 feet) and three house fronts) for the Dolfinerium Theme Park in Harderwik, Holland.

Marianne Nicolson, Sea Otter Work (acrylic on wood)

Marianne Nicolson is a member of the Dzawada’enuxw Tribe of the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations who reside on the coastal mainland of British Columbia. She holds a BFA from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design and a MFA in Visual Art from the University of Victoria. As an artist, her work has been shown both nationally and internationally at venues such as the National Indian Art Centre, the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, the Jordan National Gallery, the Vancouver Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Canada. Most recently, she opened a solo exhibition at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria in Victoria B.C. in November 2007. Her artworks are contemporary expressions of traditional Kwakwaka’wakw concepts. Currently she is conducting PhD research involving the conceptualization of space and time in Kwakwaka’wakw language and art and the importance of indigenous language to indigenous worldview.

Luke Marston, Healing Pole

Coast Salish artist Luke Marston grew up in a family of artists. His parents, Jane and David Marston, are experienced carvers who provided Luke with his introduction to the art and skill of carving. When first carving, Luke sought guidance from Haida/Nisga’a artist Wayne Young. Luke continued his education with Coast Salish Elder Simon Charlie, from whom he learned about his people’s history and traditional stories. In 1999 Luke assisted Charlie with the carving of four house posts for a public school in Seattle, WA. Recently he worked with Johnathan Henderson and Sean Whonnock on a totem pole for the Royal British Columbia Museum’s (RBCM) Thunderbird Park in Victoria, BC. Luke spends his summers demonstrating carving at the RBCM with Kwakwaka’wakw carver, Shawn Karpes. Much of the artist’s time is spent studying the museum’s archives and historical collections. Through his work, Luke wants to preserve his culture and share it with the public.

For more information about the works of art visit http://www.fphlcc.ca/media-room/newsletters.

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Contact:

Maria Wilkie
Communications Director
Ministry of Aboriginal Relations and Reconciliation
250 953-3211
250 361-7720 (cell)

Megan Lappi
Communications Manager
First Peoples Heritage, Language and Culture Council
250 652-5952

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