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The Breathing Wall: Connie Michele Morey & Taryn Walker

Location: The Roundhouse at Bayview Place, 253 Esquimalt Road | August 21 – 30, 12-5pm

The Breathing Wall by Connie Michele Morey and Taryn Walker is an exhibition, video project, website, and publication that focuses on the concept of a wall as a membrane of historical connectivity between the individual, community, and land.

Walls are frequently referenced as built structures that function to protect and divide, however, most walls in our ecosystems function both to protect and connect, like the tissue of the skin, the ozone, the earth’s crust, or even the walls of a building. The buildings that house us and form part of our communities are themselves porous, impacted by time, history, environmental factors, and weather.

Human beings, built structures, and the earth are interdependent and permeable. A community is connected through place and that place begins with the land.

The site of the exhibition, the historic Roundhouse at Bayview Place itself shows evidence of the passing of time and the building’s porous relationship to history. As a key historic building in the region, the Roundhouse at Bayview Place speaks to the fluidity of past and present and how we are formed by our histories. It has played a significant role in the recent history of Vancouver Island and continues to act as a conduit to the past through its presence.

“As the world-changing events of the past year unfolded, the thinking behind Morey and Walker’s metaphoric exploration of breath, walls, the individual, community, the land, history, and connectivity took on a new focus. They had always thought of The Breathing Wall as a connective layer, intended to join beings across history and geography; what became markedly evident under the circumstances of the global pandemic and civil rights uprising was how much work there is to do to ensure that we navigate ourselves back to a place where the wall connects rather than divides, and that we are all entitled to the freedom to breathe.” Michelle Jacques, AGGV Curator.

Taryn Walker describes what is at stake: “Breath as thriving Black and Indigenous lives and culture, breath as decolonization, breath as healing and rejuvenating Earth, breath as trees, breath as you, breath as me. Restriction of breath as death, restriction of breath as oppression, restriction of breath as deforestation, restriction of breath as colonization, restriction of breath as censorship, restriction of breath as laws preventing voices calling for change.”

Join us at The Roundhouse at Bayview Place on Thursday, August 20 from 6-9pm for the preview, and on Sunday, August 23 from 2-3:30pm for the artist talk! 

These free events will have a capacity of 50 as per the Provincial Health Officer guidelines, but a line up will be in place. No beverages will be served so please bring your own water. Sanitizer will be provided and masks are encouraged.

This exhibition is part of our OFFSITE | INSIGHT program at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.

The space is at ground level, however, the route from the road to the site is very uneven. Access is not easy unless you are driven directly to the door of the Roundhouse. One accessible parking spot next to the entrance will be provided. An accessible portalet will be available on site beside the Roundhouse.

Image credits (L-R): Collaboration in process with Taryn in the E&N Roundhouse, E&N Roundhouse, March 2020, photo, courtesy of Connie Michele Morey; Researching railroads as conduits to the environment and history, Shawnigan Lake, BC, 2020, photo courtesy of Connie Michele Morey; Railway tracks in Alberta, 2020, photo courtesy of Taryn Walker.