Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency Open House

Add a Comment by Rebecca Bollwitt

The historic Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency launches on August 25th with a public open house at the Plaza of Nations in False Creek. The yearlong inaugural program Skeins: Weaving on the Foreshore examines Coast Salish weaving practices and includes three research and residency periods by Angela George (Squamish/Tsleil-Waututh), Janice George and Buddy Joseph (Squamish), and Debra Sparrow (Musqueam). Australian Indigenous artist and activist Vicki Couzens (Gunditjmara) will be the first international artist-in-residence from September 15 to October 31, 2019, presented in partnership with Australia Council for the Arts.

Blue Cabin - Original Location - Photo by Sande Waters
Blue Cabin – Original Location – Photo by Sande Waters

Skeins: Weaving on the Foreshore emphasizes engaged programming and intergenerational knowledge exchange, including workshops, classes, and presentations around weaving, language, and design. Each of the artists-in-residence brings to the program a long history of community involvement, reclamation, and activism.

“The cabin — and the broader region we now call the Lower Mainland — is inextricably linked to the colonial displacement of Indigenous peoples. As a heritage-focused project, one of our core values is to reflect and engage with the stories of the traditional owners of these lands: the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations. Master weaver Buddy Joseph considers weaving a catalyst that entwines language, storytelling, and ceremony; we curated the inaugural program to pay our respects while bringing together diverse publics. As a floating structure, the Blue Cabin provides a new way for artists and the public to look at the city — from the water.”

Glenn Alteen, Blue Cabin Committee Member and Program Director of grunt gallery.
Blue Cabin - Dry Dock Drop - Photo by John Zuk
Blue Cabin – Dry Dock Drop – Photo by John Zuk

Originally built in 1927 as a floating house in Coal Harbour, the Blue Cabin was re-located to North Vancouver for more than 80 years. Artists Al Neil and Carole Itter used the space as a studio from 1966 until their eviction in 2015, when the cabin’s site next to Cates Park was purchased by Polygon Homes. When the structure was scheduled for demolition, grunt gallery, Other Sights for Artists’ Projects, and Creative Cultural Collaborations (“C3”) led a campaign to save, restore, and re-launch the cabin as a residency. Their success brought in artists Jeremy and Sus Borsos to repair the cabin and salvage its cultural history. In 2018, artist Germaine Koh and architect Marko Simcic were engaged to build a small 500-square-foot deckhouse; the energy-efficient structure features off-the-grid water and power systems.

Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency Open House

Where: Plaza of Nations Aquabus Stop (750 Pacific Blvd, Vancouver)
When: Sunday, August 25, 2019 from 11:00am to 6:00pm
Admission: Free, tours every 15 minutes

Five artists-in-residence examine local histories and resurgent Indigenous traditions from Canada and Australia during first yearlong moorage in False Creek

  • Vicki Couzens (September 15–October 31, 2019)
  • Angela George (November 15, 2019–January 15, 2020)
  • Skwetsimeltxw Willard “Buddy” Joseph and Chepximiya Siyam Chief Janice George (February 15–March 31, 2020)
  • Debra Sparrow (April 15–May 31, 2020)

Couzens has led the resurgent practice of making possum cloaks and, as a Gunditjmara language keeper, is involved in linguistic training programs. Angela George, Janice George, Joseph, and Sparrow are each pivotal artists in the recent cultural revival of Coast Salish weaving in the 21st century. The local artists are currently undergoing eight-week research phases during which they will envision their project, followed by six-week implementation residencies at the Blue Cabin during fall 2019 and spring 2020.

Blue Cabin - Dry Dock  - Photo by Henri Robideau
Blue Cabin – Dry Dock – Photo by Henri Robideau

The August 25th public launch will include the announcement of the Blue Cabin Floating Artist Residency’s first season of programming as well as tours of the facility, including the interiors of the Blue Cabin studio and the newly constructed sustainable deckhouse. Participants will be limited to 20 people per tour and will be first come, first served. Additional open house dates will be announced at the public launch. Mr. Bannock Indigenous Cuisine and Rico n’ Lalo All Natural Frozen Bars will be on-site serving food and refreshments.

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