Northern Contemporary July 15 - August 27 2016
Opening Reception July 15 6:30 - 8:30
Curated by Casey Koyczan
The artworks in the exhibition Northern Contemporary showcased at Arnica Artist Run Centre July 15 to August 27 offered a direction in contemporary artistic practice that embraces traditions and experiences of northern Canada while offering a new take on subject matter and cultural references. The works at Arnica were discrete views into the otherworldly nature of the Northwest Territories and brought a wealth of new knowledge, skills, expression and concerns in a varied group of approaches—from sound sculpting to painting to photography to traditional beading—that provided a complex intertextual relationship meant to share the experience of northerners and perhaps question our own notions of life north of the 60th.
For example, Tsiigehtchic elder, Margaret Nazon, hailing from a small fishing village far north of Inuvik along the McKenzie River, uses traditional beading techniques to create abstract, vivid interpretations of the vast and amorphous presence of the aurora borealis, nebulae, black holes, and galaxies; what seems to extend forever is held-to-hand in intimate jewel-like beadings. Davis Heslep remediates video into an installation work introducing the experience of the aurora borealis into the gallery space while Aidan Cartwright creates animations that fuse his personal experience of living in the north with northern stories.
Among the works of these five artists that exhibited in the gallery, the attendees got a strong impression of what it means to live and make art above the 60th parallel. Curated by Yellowknife artist and musician Casey Koyczan. With an artist talk built into the exhibition presentation, this exhibition took us beyond cultural curiosity to a greater cultural understanding and became the basis for future collaborative possibilities.
Arnica gratefully acknowledges the financial support of the Province of BC, BC Arts Council and Nature’s Fare.
Listen to the Essay below