The concept of “place” is typically shaped by cultural attitudes, values and perceptions towards a site, location or landscape. We might be cautious of a place because it is perceived of as foreboding and unfamiliar, or we might love a place because it appears beautiful or majestic.

This exhibition takes the site of Nootka, in the traditional territories of the  Nuu-chah-nulth peoples on the Pacific coast of Vancouver Island, as a case study to consider how artists have contributed to shaping the idea of place on the West Coast. Nootka was the site of first contact between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, and as such has been a subject in art since the 18th Century. Juxtaposing works by Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists, this exhibition features works by artists including Patrick Amos, Emily Carr, Stan Douglas, Jock McDonald, Tim Paul, Takao Tanabe, Art Thompson, John Webber and Hjalmer Wenstob. It considers how the idea of place is culturally produced and exists as part of the social imaginary.   

Image credit: Stan Douglas, nu.tka (1996) (detail), colour video projection with sound; 6.50mins, Courtesy of the artist, David Zwirner, New York/London and Victoria Miro, London. ©Stan Douglas.