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Holding Ground

Founders and Drury Galleries

July 17, 2021 - October 17, 2021

Holding Ground: to hold space, to hold up, to care for, to support, to refuse to let go.

This exhibition was the culmination of many conversations held through hosting of the Indigenous Intergenerational Exchange led by artists Marianne Nicolson, Marika Swan and educator/media maker Nikki Sanchez, in collaboration with 12 invited participants: Gerry Ambers, Aya Clappis, Ace Harry, Lisa Kenoras, Laura Manson, Jessica Mayhew, Feather Nault, Ross Neasloss Jr, Stephanie Papik, Coral Shaughnessy-Moon, Nabidu Taylor, and France Trepanier.

This amazing group of individuals are all contributors to social justice and frontline activism in their respective communities. They held virtual gatherings bi-weekly from February 25 – May 20, 2021 to share cultural teachings, critical understanding, and creative processes within a healing space. Through Holding Ground, they have set the powerful intention to host an open floor for the group to participate in an active interplay of creative sharing. This exhibition will generously share a glimpse into the continuum of Indigenous resistance, across generations:

“Our children are sacred and their desire to continue to advocate for our worldviews is a sacred undertaking. As such, the gallery space and the time occupied by the exhibit is reserved and recognized for them.” – Marianne Nicolson

At the center of this exhibition is a curtain collaboratively made by members of the group. Traditionally these curtains hang in the Big House for ceremony such as Potlatch and act as a transitional space between the physical and spiritual realms:

“We will be creating a curtain to transform our space at the AGGV. This anchor will allow us to create our own microcosm of the universe. Within this we can re-enact the nature of our inter- relationships with each other and to the land. In community, each generational role is necessary. Isolated we are vulnerable. But in formation we have great strength in the diversity of our offerings.” – Marika Swan

On July 17, 2021 the floor was opened with the curtain in place to hold space for the participants to share throughout the run of the exhibition. Visitors were encouraged to revisit as the space evolved throughout the run of the exhibition and witness the evolution of the shifting space.

We extend our gratitude and appreciation to all of the participants involved in this project for their unique contributions, their time and generosity.

“We hold the space so that what is happening in the now will have a presence.” – Marianne Nicolson

Image: Installation view of the collaborative curtain designed by Marianne Nicolson for Holding Ground, 2021.
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