James Nicholas and Sandra Semchuk – Confederation / Kelsey Jules – Speak Your Truth
June 11 - July 29 2017
Arnica Artist-Run Centre is pleased to present the exhibitions: Confederation by James Nicholas and Sandra Semchuk and Speak Your Truth by Kelsey Jules. As Canada celebrates the approach of the 150-year anniversary of confederation, Jules, Nicholas, and Semchuk acknowledge 150 years of colonialism and elucidate the impacts of indigenous-settler relations. Opening Sunday June 11th, Confederation and Speak Your Truth will tackle a murky past, present, and future for indigenous peoples and engage Canadians in a process of cultural healing.
Confederation is one of many collaborative projects between Sandra Semchuk, a Ukranian-Canadian photographer and professor at Emily Carr in Vancouver; and her late husband James Nicholas, a Cree orator and community leader who worked in Nelson House, Manitoba. The series of digital photographic works depict Nicholas at the Charlottetown Bridge and the Province House National Historic Site, reflecting on the histories and formation of Canadian political identities. Nicholas and Semchuk question the absence of indigenous influence in these processes and work to reimagine intercultural narratives through collaborative storytelling. Nicholas and Semchuk have come to view their fifteen years of work, ultimately, as stories of love and opportunities for cultural change.
Speak Your Truth is a body of work authored by Kelsey Jules, an emerging Secwẻpemc artist in the Kamloops Community and a graduate from Thompson Rivers University. Jules’ analog photographs navigate the dim, dusty, and vacant interiors of the Kamloops Indian Residential School. She first explored it as a means of coping with the residual hopelessness, anger, and dismay that was left in the wake of the residential school, but her work quickly expanded as she gathered artifacts from the abandoned space and testimonials from local Secwẻpemc youth on the effect of the residential school across generations. As Jules investigates this difficult past, she uses the information that she uncovers to adapt and seek a brighter future. Jules’ work inspires others to join her in this process of healing.
Arnica Artist Run Centre gratefully acknowledges the financial assistance of The Province of British Columbia and Nature's Fare.