Nu chexw kw’átchnexw kwétsi sḵel̓áw̓?// Can you See Beaver?

Nu chexw kw’átchnexw kwétsi sḵel̓áw̓?// Can you See Beaver? is a community-based research and public art project led by Gitksan Witsuwit’en artist and community organizer Jolene Andrew and produced by grunt gallery Project Curator Nellie Lamb, in collaboration with Mount Pleasant Neighbourhood House.

The project is collaborative and based in community. It began with a conversation about a historical beaver dam that once blocked Brewery Creek near the spot where Main St and 14th Ave now intersect. This led us to wonder about the absence of such an important animal in an urban socio-ecological system and consider how the history of beavers in this landscape can inform our relationships to the land now and into the future. Throughout the project we will be contemplating the importance of keystone species like the beaver, whose knowledge and skills build dams that create wetlands, providing habitat for many other plants and animals. Nu chexw kw’átchnexw kwétsi sḵel̓áw̓? Can you see Beaver? is a reminder to take notice.  The project looks to beavers and the other animals and plants in their communities as teachers and guides. It asks questions about obstruction and flow, what has changed and what has endured, and what we can learn from these histories in the ongoing and complex contexts of urbanization, colonization, and decolonization.

The project’s Squamish language title, Nu chexw kw’átchnexw kwétsi sḵel̓áw̓? asks, “Can you see the beaver?” We hope you will join us in opening our hearts and minds to beaver’s teachings. Starting in March 2021, we are hosting a series of knowledge sharing, field study, planning, and art-making events focused on the landscape, plant, and animal (including human) life in the area that is now known as Mount Pleasant and rooted in the Indigenous knowledge and art of Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), səl̓ilwətaɁɬ təməxʷ (Tsleil-Waututh), and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) storytellers, weavers and other urban Indigenous artists. Events are led by Jolene alongside artists, historians, scientists, storytellers, and knowledge holders and are open to Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members.

Further details about this project and upcoming events can be found at canyouseebeaver.ca

Image: Nicole Neidhardt.

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New Work on the Mount Pleasant Community Art Screen!

As of Wednesday November 4th, 2020, grunt gallery has launched an exciting and diverse selection of new works on the Mount Pleasant Community Art Screen! Continuing with our PLACE programming theme, these new works reflect, engage with and enrich the intricate cultural history of Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood. Through works by artists, collectives, curators and other community members, PLACE explores the complexities of the area’s histories of displacement, creativity, expansion and grit. Language, identity, housing, city streets, food, landmarks, loss, memories, narratives of the past and imagined futures are contemplated and celebrated through film, video, photography, performance, painting, GIFs, glitches and collage.

Charlene Vickers’ Cool Indians on Main Street features Indigenous artists’ open-ended statements about Indigenous presence and benchin — the act of gathering socially to sit on a bench to people watch, share ideas and stories, and be together. Shot on 16mm film, ghosts of cambie by Caroline So Jung Lee captures Cambie Street’s Hong Kong migrant community, once a major force in shaping the architectural and cultural landscape of the area but now rapidly disappearing. Co-founder of Artemisia Gallery Lisa g Nielsen gathers memories of this short-lived art space on east 7th that welcomed a community of feminist artists in the early 1990s. RAPTURE showcases work by Dene artist Zachery Longboy curated by Métis artist Justin Ducharme, exploring the feelings of being in queer Indigenous bodies and celebrating their two spirit kin. These works and many more reflect our ever-evolving neighbourhood back to us, presented on a 4×7 metre outdoor urban screen located on the Independent Building at Kingsway and Broadway. As we continue to weather this challenging year apart but together, the remarkable range of work on the MPCAS shines a light on what it means to live in our unique community of Mount Pleasant. You can read more about the new programming and find the full list of artists on the MPCAS website here.

Autumn / Winter Screen Hours:
Sunday to Thursday: 9:00 AM to 9:30 PM
Friday & Saturday:  9:00 AM to 10:30 PM

 

The MPCAS is produced by grunt gallery and generously supported by the Vancouver Foundation, RIZE corporation, Canada Council for the Arts, the City of Vancouver and Creative BC.

 

Images (clockwise from top left): Gloria Wong, Rituals, video (still); Cheyenne Rain LeGrande, Maskekewapoy ᒪᐢᑫᑫᐊᐧᐳᕀ, video (still); Lois Klassen, Flowers for Joyce, film (still); Jupiter Brahms, Grocery Stores, painting.

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