True to Place: stímetstexw tel xéltel at the Bill Reid Gallery

Comments 1 by Rebecca Bollwitt

Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art presents the Canadian premiere exhibition of True to Place: stímetstexw tel xéltel starting June 15th. Curated by artist and muralist Xémontalót Carrielynn Victor (Stó:lō), True to Place: stímetstexw tel xéltel examines the artistic practice of 10 Northwest Coast Indigenous artists, whose expanding boundaries and embracing of contemporary styles and techniques are informed by personal and collective traditions of form, story, and place.

The group exhibition explores a spectrum of colour palettes – from bright neons to muted ochres – and features painting on a variety of mediums, including canvas, wood, paper, sculptural forms, traditional basketry, as well as digital creations.

True to Place Bill Reid Gallery Collage and Curator
Top: Carrielynn Victor by Mavreen David. Bottom artwork left to right by: Atheana Picha, Corey Bulpitt, Robert Davidson

True to Place: stímetstexw tel xéltel at the Bill Reid Gallery

  • When: June 15, 2022–March 19, 2023
  • Where: Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art (639 Hornby St, Vancouver)
  • Admission: $0-$13 purchase tickets online in advance or on site
    • Thanks to the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association (DVBIA), there is free admission from 2:00pm to 5:00pm every first Friday of the month

“This exhibition offers a compelling perspective into the artistic process of many Indigenous painters from across the Northwest Coast,” says Victor.

“Indigenous artists have historically and persistently seized any new tools at hand as a means of expression, moving forward in their practice from a place of history, tradition, and storytelling. Through the preservation of culture and principles of traditional form, artists use these grounding elements as a springboard to take their art expression further. Through the examination of process, quality, colour, and transformation, visitors are welcomed to explore new approaches, ideas, and innovations in painting that are place-based and story-rich.”

The exhibition’s subtitle – stímetstexw tel xéltel – was chosen with assistance from artist and language keeper, Thomas Jones, in the Upriver Stahlo, Halq’emeylemqel dialect. Translated as “Keeping the pencil moving forward,” the subtitle offers an essential and complementary element to the exhibition’s theme of moving forward from a place of history and tradition.

True to Place: stímetstexw tel xéltel features a striking collection of works from many emerging and established painters from across the Northwest Coast, inspired by contemporary issues, urban environments, and ancestral stories. Contributing artists include Atheana Picha, Corey Bulpitt, Crystal Worl, Eliot White-Hill, Luke Parnell, Ocean Hyland, Robert Davidson, Shawn Hunt, Steve Smith, and Thomas Jones.

A series of ancillary events will support True to Place: stímetstexw tel xéltel and deepen visitors’ understanding of the cultural meaning of painting in relationship to place and connection, including a panel discussion, artist talks, painting workshops, and exhibition tours. Public programs will be offered both in-person and online to reach audiences across the Northwest Coast and beyond. 

About the Gallery

The Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art is a public gallery nestled in the heart of downtown Vancouver. It was named after acclaimed Haida artist Bill Reid (1920–1998), a master goldsmith, carver, sculptor, writer, broadcaster, and spokesman. Since opening in May 2008, the Bill Reid Gallery has remained the only public gallery in Canada devoted to contemporary Indigenous art of the Northwest Coast, and is home to the Simon Fraser University Bill Reid Art Collection, as well as special exhibitions of contemporary Indigenous art of the Northwest Coast of North America.

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1 Comment  —  Add a Comment Below

  1. Ron StraightThursday, May 12th, 2022 — 10:52am PDT

    I’m a First Nations artist… I have approached native galleries to see if they would accept my work… they all have said that it is not native enough. I grew up in the white world and didn’t have contact with natives. I probably could do native world but I don’t know enough about native culture, so I don’t do that style of work as I don’t want to offend any First Nations or tribes. I started painting seriously when I was almost 60 years old and when I found out that I was a First Nation person. I mostly show in local galleries and art councils.

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