Collaborative effort to showcase historic Indigenous children’s art

Shared Nk’Mip children’s art exhibition hosted by Kelowna Art Gallery and Okanagan Heritage Museum

A unique First Nation children’s art exhibit will be co-hosted by the Okanagan Heritage Museum and Kelowna Art Gallery from Jan. 19 to April 14.

Titled ‘Our Lives Through Our Eyes: Nk’Mip Children’s Art,’ the exhibit is a collection of 70 works of art created by youth who attended the Inkameep Day School in Osoyoos during the Second World War era.

The exhibition features graphite drawings along with paintings on paper and animal hide, coupled with archival photographs and interpretive panels to give people a glimpse of what life for these children was like, their long-held cultural traditions and history being countered by social and political changes introduced by non-aboriginal settlers.

RELATED: Collaborative art presented in Kelowna exhibit

Nataley Nagy, executive director of Kelowna Art Gallery, said the exhibit marks a culmination of years of discussion and setbacks dating back to 2010 to bring a prominent youth art exhibition to Kelowna, an initiative the Okanagan Heritage Museum would eventually also eventually join.

Speaking at the school district student services and education committee meeting on Wednesday, Nagy said that idea dates back to when she arrived to take the helm of the Kelowna Art Gallery in 2010, championed by school district assistant superintendent Terry-Lee Beaudry and then art gallery education officer director Renee Burgess.

In 2013, their collective focus was drawn to the Witness Blanket exhibit, a 12-metre-long quilt project by Vancouver Island artist Carey Newman that features 887 objects from Canada’s Indigenous residential schools and assembled like a traditional blanket.

The exhibit had proven extremely popular and an exhibit booking was secured for the Kelowna Art Gallery in 2019.

“By 2015, I started to see the expenses with what would be bringing the exhibit here from the Yukon and incurring all the costs associated with that, and I went to Terry-Lee wondering how could we afford to do this and still do the eight professional exhibits we are committed to showing each year,” Nagy recalled.

“But she was incredibly persistent about this as she had been all along, saying we will find a way to make this happen.”

But those plans were dashed when the exhibit was taken off the art gallery showing circuit, due to wear and tear that resulted in it requiring repairs at the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg.

“We were offered a showing of the documentary that was made about the Witness Blanket but that is not the same as seeing the actual art in person,” she said.

In 2017, Nagy saw an exhibit in Victoria called ‘There Is Truth Here,’ featuring more than 700 drawings by children in residential schools across B.C. and Alberta that had been donated to the University of Victoria art collection.

“I found it very powerful and moving,” she said.

While that exhibit was already scheduled for a showing in Vancouver this year, the exhibit curator, UVIC anthropology professor Andrea Walsh, suggested they check out the availability of the Nk’Mip art exhibit compiled by the Osoyoos Indian Band and Osoyoos Museum Society.

Linda Digby, Kelowna Museum executive director, said the art exhibit offers a history lesson to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples—insight into the culture and traditions before the white colonialists arrived to settle in the Okanagan, and the impact that created in the years to follow.

Some 40 classes between Grades 3 and 8 in the district are already booked to visit the exhibit, involving some 1,100 students.

“Their art shows a strength, a resiliency and creativity of these young people staring at the change coming to their environment,” Digby said.

Beaudry said plans are in the works to have a reconciliation walk between the museum and art gallery at the conclusion of the exhibit in April.

“We are still planning that out but we will be hoping to see a robust crowd join us for the exhibit closing. It will help serve as a reminder we will be walking the trail of reconciliation for years to come,” Beaudry said.

The opening reception for the exhibit takes place Saturday, Jan. 19, 1 to 3 p.m., beginning at the Kelowna Art Gallery and moving over to the Kelowna Museum at 2 p.m. Guided tours will subsequently be offered at 1 p.m. on Saturdays.

Other workshops planned for specific Saturdays, 10 a.m. to noon, in conjunction with the exhibit include: Living the Seasons-Syilx (Okanagan) calendar Feb. 2, 10 a.m. to noon, at the Kelowna Art Gallery; Everything you wanted to know about Indians but were afraid to ask, March 2, Okanagan Heritage Museum; Our Shared History-Talking Circle March 16, Okanagan Heritage Museum; and Fire and Water-Syilx (Okanagan) Relationship with the Land, April 13, Kelowna Art Gallery.

The Kelowna Art Gallery is located at 1315 Water St., and Okanagan Heritage Museum at 470 Queensway Ave.



barry.gerding@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Kelowna council ready to consider pot shop rezonings

Seven rezoning applications for cannabis retail stores on council’s agenda Monday

Drought Hill crash causes traffic delays

A collision near Peachland has caused a backup in traffic on Highway 97

Kelowna RCMP bust speeding, uninsured driver with $1,357 fine

RCMP keeping watchful eye on roads now that roads are bare

Fire alarm forces evacuation of Kelowna coffee shop

No smoke was visible from the scene

Kelowna coffee maker responds to product recall

Cherry Hill Coffee recovers 90 per cent of voluntary recalled cold brew coffee

Rain may be on its way for the Okanagan Valley

A mix of sun and cloud, with periods of rain in the forecast

Motorcyclist dies after three-vehicle crash on old Island Highway

Accident happened at 12:15 p.m. Friday near Country Club Centre in Nanaimo

Protective human chain forms around B.C. mosque for Friday prayer

Vancouver Islanders stand arm-in-arm to show support in aftermath of New Zealand shootings

Homeless South Okanagan man allegedly doused in ice water while he slept

Community outraged at treatment of well-known homeless community member

Tips to keep your home safe during wildfire season

With wildfire season getting closer, the Penticton Fire Dept. offer tips to keep your home safe

Mayor seeks to reduce eyesore of fire damaged 7-Eleven

Business asked to improve appearance of Salmon Arm building’s exterior by our tourist season

Fundraiser for South Okanagan “supermom” who died suddenly

Friends described the 40-year-old Penticton woman as a supermom.

B.C. conservation officers talk bear awareness

How to stay safe this spring in bear country

Fierce feline spotted as ‘aggressor’ in face off with coyote in B.C. backyard

North Vancouver resident Norm Lee captures orange cat versus coyote in backyard showdown

Most Read