North Carolina

The trip to Greenville, North Carolina was as a representative of the U’mista Cultural Centre in Alert Bay, British Columbia, which is traditional Kwakwakw’wakw territory. Myself and Trevor Isaac were selected by the organization to provide a series of talks in university and elementary classrooms and to install some of our work. Trevor is an artist and U’mista employee and has become my travel friend on trips like this. This was the fourth trip we have been on in the past two years. I also spent eight years working with his dad, Billy Isaac, on my dads fishing boat, and I have a lot of respect for his family. The trip was aimed at raising awareness of an underrepresented culture in the Carolinas. Certainly there are very few Kwawaka’wakw people on the southern east coast of the United States. Dr. Jessica Christie arranged the visit, as she had been to Alert Bay one time many years prior, and found a way to bring some artists over.

The U'mista Cultural Centre and Society, Alert Bay, British Columbia. Image sourced from website.
The U’mista Cultural Centre and Society, Alert Bay, British Columbia. Image sourced from website.
Departing Prince Rupert, BC, the view at the mouth of the Skeena River. One of the largest undammed rivers in North America.
Departing Prince Rupert, BC, you can see the view of the mouth of the Skeena River. One of the largest undammed rivers in North America.

Vancouver

My trip down from Prince Rupert began with a three day layover in Vancouver, which gave me a bit of time to catch up with friends and family. Little outings to my favorite places are always a treat. The discovery and introduction to new spots is always welcome, and Gene coffee shop is a nice spot to stop into on my trips to the city. I loved the little origami birds…

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I typically spend time with Ann Cameron, editor of The Beat monthly newsletter. She regularly views all of the recent exhibits in the greater Vancouver area. She is an art historian and former teacher, and I always learn plenty from her during our visits. This time through we went to Equinox Gallery to view Marianne Nicholson’s exhibit titled “Walking on Water (Thin Ice)”, which highlighted issues related to the recent flooding in Kingcome Inlet.  It is a diverse gallery, and another exhibit totally unrelated to Northwest Coast art was up as well. I was totally in love with this piece below of a poem written with copper wire. I loved the shadows it cast and the scale of the piece. A love affair with words.

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Equinox Gallery, Vancouver. Leslie Dill, “Wire Wall of Words”, 1995.
Marianne Nicholson, Walking on Water (Thin Ice) exhibition, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver, BC. 2013.
Marianne Nicholson, Walking on Water (Thin Ice) exhibition, Equinox Gallery, Vancouver, BC. 2013.

North Carolina

Springtime in the Carolina's.
Springtime in the Carolina’s. University of North Carolina campus.

Dr. Jessica Christie was our host to the university and very enthusiastic about Kwakwaka’wakw culture. She met us at the airport, and treated us to dinner as well. The campus was beautiful, with many flowers in full bloom. We spent the first day displaying the temporary exhibit in the student union building. I brought over a Raven’s Tail robe, small basket, and mountain goat wool. Trevor brought a dance screen, and also created a new painting on canvas in the short time we were there.


Trevor Isaac's max'inux (killerwhale) painting done during our trip.
Trevor Isaac’s max’inux (killerwhale) painting done during our trip.

I enjoyed getting to see a diverse cross section of artistic practices in the art’s department.

A new friend I made who was majoring in pottery.
Sara, a  new friend I made who was majoring in pottery.
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Me and Trevor Isaac presenting to the Greenville Elementary School.
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Trevor gave the Kindergarten class an intro to form line art, and I presented a slide show about Kwakwaka’wakw culture.
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With Carola, a lady who gifted us with beautifully hand made pottery. It was made from clay she gathered from a river bed. She also grows organic tobacco and makes soap.
Me and Trev at the airport in Greenville, NC, ready to head back to Canada. This pirate could be found all over town, as it's the university mascot.
Me and Trev at the airport in Greenville, NC, ready to head back to Canada. This pirate could be found all over town, as it’s the university mascot.
Colours of a university town: red and yellow. I couldn't help but feel that the human need for belonging transcends cultures and eras. The pirate mascots in yellow and purple reminded me so much of how each territory had it's own style of carving. Modern day tribalism was in full force here!
Colours of a university town: purple and yellow and a pirate mascot. I couldn’t help but feel that the human need for belonging transcends cultures and eras. The pirate mascots in yellow and purple reminded me so much of how each territory had it’s own style of carving. Modern day tribalism was in full force here!
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