This three part group exhibition aims to explore the relationship between the ethics of taking care, taking care as related to art practices and professions, prioritizing the self, and the fatigue that results from community members sharing their experiences, and educating the public. The aim of the exhibition is to create a space of safety and knowledge, where people feel welcome to share their experiences and connect with others around issues pertinent to mental and physical well being.
Part 1: Aesthetic of Silence
By Shelley Vanderbyl and Lam Wong
March 6-May 15, 2021
Erica Lehrer and Cynthia E. Milton posit that there is a connection between “curation” and “caring for.” They urge us to think of curation “not only as selection, design, and interpretation, but as care-taking–as a kind of intimate, intersubjective, interrelational obligation.” The way a curator works their way down and into a subject as they research and liaise with artists and consultants is necessarily mirrored in the way they share their work with the public. Their obligation to make those processes transparent creates a shared experience of awareness, deep care for the communities at the heart of the issues, and gives momentum to the change each project seeks to invoke. Gayatri Gopinath asserts in Unruly Visions: The Aesthetic Practices of Queer Diaspora that this includes “the obligation to impart that “caring about” to others.” To me, that distinguishes the role of the curator and the public art institution, to invoke that deep sense of care and relate it to those who come into contact with the exhibited materials whether they be in-person, digital, or through public programs. Each one of those experiences represents a possible touch point for opening the public perception and empathy for alternate points of understanding the world and relating through, “not coevalness or sameness but rather the co-implication and radical relationality of seemingly disparate racial formations, geographies, temporalities, and colonial and postcolonial histories of displacement and dwelling.” Gayatri Gopinath’s assertion of a relationality through the recognition of difference validates lived experiences while creating a new space for empathic connection and translation.
Part 2: Holding Space
By Skeena Reece and Whess Harman
June 1-August 28, 2021
What does it mean to hold space for someone? To make room emotionally and energetically; to be open and accepting to what they may bring forth; to be present with care and understanding; to listen. These simple actions are undertaken selflessly for another person. How do you hold space for community, loved ones, and others?
Recently a mass grave of 215 Indigenous children was discovered on the site of the largest residential school in Canada, on the territory of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation. Children as young as three years old were forcibly taken from their families and stripped of their culture, their dignity, and their childhood. Their remains can finally return home to be laid to rest. How will we hold space for Indigenous people in our communities, local and further afield? They are feeling the pain and loss of intergenerational trauma even more intensely with these newly opened wounds. How can folks hold space for trauma that they are unable to fully understand? How will we hold space for each other as we go through new, uncharted territory?
We have chosen artworks that nurture difficult emotions and demonstrate ways to hold space with care and tenderness, provoke conversation and consideration, and make room for your experiences and questions as visitors.
We are here to answer your questions and calls to action, and ready to move in the direction of changes that need to happen. The work we do in the gallery is only one kind of work and one kind of space. We support and thank the We Wai Kai and Wei Wai Kum Nations, community and cultural partners in their work of healing, resilience, and forgiveness.
Part 3: Rest and Sustenance
By Lindsay Dawn Dobbin and April Mary Lynn White
September 4 to November 20, 2021
It’s okay to be tired. It feels good to hear that. That’s not always the message we receive. Under the capitalist regime we serve we are meant to be in constant motion, striving for more, at the expense of ourselves, others, the environment.
Rest & Sustenance is the third iteration of the Exploring Care exhibition series. This duo show by artists Lindsay Dawn Dobbin and April Mary Lynn White explores the basic needs and resources that are so precious to the survival and wellness of humans and are also some of the most precarious.
In search of alternatives to neoliberal and heteronormative expectations, White’s work celebrates failure, awkwardness, and losses of composure. The subject of rest is a point of departure for discussion: from where do you derive sustenance? Do you ever feel truly rested? If you needed a break would it be possible for you to take one?
Lindsay Dobbin’s works are environmental studies. They recognize the natural world as a witness, teacher, and collaborator in learning. The film Tree of Peace draws you in as your eye wanders over the surfaces and out to the tips of a white pine, encouraging close looking and connection with the great subject — its curves, lines, and texture like the weathered skin of an elder. Reflect on the life giving service trees provide. What do we learn from these patient teachers? Where will we be without them?
We encourage you to sit with these works. Close your eyes and listen. Rest awhile and take a few deep breaths. It’s okay to be tired.