The new exhibition at the Libby Leshgold Gallery – “Em̓út | Being Home” – showcases artwork from some of British Columbia’s finest contemporary Indigenous artists and is a rare opportunity for the public to see exceptional northwest coast Indigenous art and design that often goes directly into private collections. The exhibition is a collaboration between the Libby Leshgold Gallery, the BC Achievement Foundation, and curators Ray Hartley and Sheila Hall of the Aboriginal Gathering Collective. It highlights new work from established and mid-career artists and the inter-generational work of members of the same family. Many of the artists in the exhibition are recipients of the Fulmer Award in First Nations Art and the gallery is showing a series of intimate films from the BC Achievement Foundation about the artists and their practice as part of the exhibition. This collaborative exhibition can be viewed at the Libby Leshgold Gallery at Emily Carr University of Art and Design until May 1, 2021 and comes highly recommended.
The exhibition at Libby Leshgold is an extension of the first international exhibition of Northwest Coast Indigenous art in Hawaii that was shown at the Schaefer International Gallery on Maui and the East-West Center Gallery in Honolulu in 2019/2020. The Hawaiian exhibitions offered an opportunity for international audiences to learn about traditional and contemporary Northwest Coast Indigenous art, history and culture and become aware of the impact of colonization, residential schools, and reconciliation on Indigenous peoples in Canada. The historical link between Native Hawaiians – Kanaka – and the northwest coast is well documented and the exhibition in Hawaii provided the opportunity for visiting Northwest Coast artists to make further connections with Native Hawaiians.
Em̓út, the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) word for ‘being home’, has taken on additional meaning in a year where everyone has stayed home because of the Covid pandemic, often by themselves, and on land acknowledged as home to First Nations of the Northwest Coast for thousands of years.
“Em̓út | Being Home” includes contemporary artwork from 14 artists representing 11 nations from the southern, middle, and northern coasts of British Columbia. The exhibition includes artwork in a variety of mediums including painting, printmaking, wood carving, textiles, basket weaving, and sculpture. It showcases the artists’ unique interpretations, technical excellence, and mastery of materials, and explores both traditional art and the social, cultural, and political activism of contemporary Northwest Coast art and design.
As well as the films shown in the gallery, the exhibition is complimented by the opportunity to participate in artists’ talks and view three longer films – Haida Modern, Landscape as Muse, and Harvesting Cedar. The talks and films are organized by the gallery and explore Northwest Coast Indigenous art and culture.
The artwork in the exhibition includes pieces on loan from the Kovalik Family Collection, Equinox Gallery, the Douglas Reynolds Gallery, and the artists themselves, and the work was stored and delivered by Denbigh Fine Art Services.
“Em̓út | Being Home” is dedicated to the memory of Ben Davidson – husband, son, father, uncle, nephew, cousin, friend and Haida artist.
The exhibition will be on view until May 1, 2021.