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Water Work Space

September 16, 2017 - January 7, 2018 Curated by Nicole Stanbridge | Graham Gallery

We invite you to join us on our journey to explore issues related to the vast and mighty topic that is WATER. Water as a resource. Water as a conduit of trade, exchange and colonization. Water and climate change. The AGGV’s new Water Work Space functions much like a Research + Development Department, part workshop / part exhibition space. Water Work Space is a site for the exchange of ideas to fuel our project Wa’witłala: The Pervasiveness of Water/Cannot Go Against the Tide. This is an enquiry based collaboration with Dzawada’enuxw* artist and activist Marianne Nicolson and AGGV curators Nicole Stanbridge and Michelle Jacques.

Nicolson’s work addressing the Fraser and Columbia Rivers was the impetus for this concept, and guides the project. With Wa’witłala, we aim to explore issues related to water from an Indigenous worldview and create space for discussions across cultures and disciplines. Water Work Space will allow us to collect and share the work that is happening by water protectors, artists, ecologists, and activists around the world. In this way we can collectively start to understand where we need to go and how we might get there?

Works featured in Water Work Space include: a selection of photographs from Victoria-based artist Tara Nicholson’s series Artic Claims which looks at sites of climate change research in Greenland, Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk. Poetry and installation of A River of Migration by Vancouver based artists Gu Xiong whose states, “Migration flows like a salmon run; there is a tie between migrants who carry the strength of the river, not of fresh water but of culture and change.” Marianne Nicolson’s recent work The Sun is Setting on the British Empire which reworks elements of the British Colombia flag and incorporates her own iconography as a way to symbolically alter the economic and political relationships it signifies. Works from the AGGV collection include Gwenda Morgan, Mark Henderson, Walter J. Phillips, and more…

Marianne Nicolson (‘Tayagila’ogwa), is an artist of Scottish and Dzawada’enuxw* First Nation descent. Nicole Stanbridge, is curator of engagement at the AGGV and is of British, Scottish and Norwegian descent, born on the traditional and unceded territory of the Kanien’keha:ka (Mohawk). Michelle Jacques is chief curator at the AGGV. She is of African-Caribbean descent, born and raised as an uninvited guest on the traditional territory of the Haudenosaunee, most recently the territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit. We extend our gratitude for being uninvited guests on this the traditional territory of the Lekwungen speaking peoples.
*The Dzawada’enuxw People are member nations of the Kwakwaka’wakw Peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast.

Image credits (left to right): Marianne Nicolson, The Sun is Setting On The British Empire, 2017, vinyl, dimensions variable, image courtesy of the artist | Tara Nicholson, Arctic Claims series, Icebergs, (detail) Disko Bay, 2015, limited edition archival pigment print, image courtesy of the artist. | Walter Joseph Phillips (1884-1963), The Waterfront, Alert Bay, British Columbia (detail), 1928, woodcut and colour on paper, Gift of the Artist.
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