Inkameep Day School. Mr. Walsh with his students, 1942. Courtesy of the Osoyoos Museum, #0111 photo: contributed

Nk’Mip children’s art presented in collaborative exhibition

The exhibition will be on view at the Kelowna Art Gallery and Okanagan Heritage Museum

A collaboration between the Kelowna Museums Society and the Kelowna Art Gallery is bringing an important local story to life.

The joint exhibition entitled Our Lives Through Our Eyes: Nk’Mip Children’s Art presents over 75 works of art created by children and youth who attended the Inkameep Day School during the era of World War II. Under the tutelage of Anthony Walsh, the school, which was located on the Osoyoos Indian Band reserve, became nationally and internationally renowned for its students’ production of art and drama based on their Okanagan identity and history.

The exhibition, which is divided between the Okanagan Heritage Museum and the Kelowna Art Gallery, features graphite drawings as well as paintings on paper and hide created by the students. Archival photographs and interpretive panels will further help visitors to glimpse through the Nk’Mip children’s eyes, the complex layers of traditions and histories meeting with new ways of life and the social and political changes of the time. Today the Inkameep Day School artworks are valued points of departure for contemporary Nk’Mip arts, culture, and education.

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Our Lives Through Our Eyes: Nk’Mip Children’s Art is on view from Jan. 19 to April 14. The exhibition is organized collaboratively by the Kelowna Art Gallery and the Kelowna Museums Society, with assistance from the Osoyoos Museum Society and the Osoyoos Indian Band. It is guest curated by Dr. Andrea Walsh, professor of Anthropology, at the University of Victoria.

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A number of public events and workshops have been planned in conjunction with this exhibition.

An opening reception will be held on Saturday, Jan. 19, from 1p.m. to 3 p.m. The reception begins at the Kelowna Art Gallery before moving to the Okanagan Heritage Museum at 2 p.m.

A series of four workshops will be presented on select Saturdays during the months of February, March, and April. The workshops explore a variety of subjects and are titled: Living the Seasons – Syilx (Okanagan) Calendar; Everything you wanted to know about Indians but were afraid to ask; Our Shared History – Talking Circle; and Fire and Water – Syilx (Okanagan) Relationship with the Land. The workshops are open to the public, but pre-registration is required.

Our Lives Through Our Eyes: Nk’Mip Children’s Art is generously supported by Fortis BC, Central Okanagan Public Schools, and the Province of British Columbia. Works on loan are from the Osoyoos Museum Society, Royal British Columbia Museum, artist Taylor Baptiste, and Colleen and Richard Baptiste.

The Kelowna Art Gallery is located at 1315 Water Street, and the Okanagan Heritage Museum is located at 470 Queensway Avenue. For more information, visit www.kelownaartgallery.com or www.kelownamuseums.ca

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