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On Place and the West Coast Imaginary

October 28, 2017 - April 1, 2018 Curated By Haema Sivanesan Founders and Drury Galleries

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 Macdonald, 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 credits (left to right): Stan Douglas, nu.tka, 1996, colour video projection with sound; 6.50mins, Image courtesy of the artist, David Zwirner, New York/London and Victoria Miro, London ©Stan Douglas | John Webber (1751-1793), The Inside of a House in Nootka Sound (detail), 1784, copper engraving on paper, Gift of George and Lola Kidd | Jock MacDonald (1897-1960) | Nootka Lighthouse (detail), Nootka B.C. | 1936 | watercolour on paper | Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver Art Gallery Acquisition Fund with the financial support of the Department of Canadian Heritage under the terms of the Cultural Property Export and Import Act, VAG 98.8.
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