Daina Warren is of the Montana Slavey Cree Nation, and is a contemporary artist and curator. She graduated from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in 2003. From 2000 – 2002 she was in residence at the grunt gallery through Canada Council’s Assistance to Aboriginal Curators for Residencies in the Visual Arts. She is currently curator and administrator at the grunt gallery and has organized numerous projects and exhibitions. Upcoming projects include the visual art component for the World Urban Forum and World Peace Forum, and an Aboriginal Elders exhibition. Her work has been shown in group and solo exhibitions at the Or Gallery, Vancouver; Campbell River Public Gallery; and Alternator, Kelowna.
January 7–February 11, 2006
Marianne Nicolson works in a variety of media to express Kwakwaka’wakw concepts in both traditional manners (which remain within traditional contexts) and in contemporary manners (which are meant for exhibition under contemporary conditions). For her exhibition at Artspeak, she is taking the gallery’s context as a starting point to consider the objectification and commercialization of Pacific Northwest Coast Aboriginal objects and cultures. Her site-specific installation, Bakwina`tsi: the Container for Souls, utilizes Artspeak’s storefront Gastown location. Gastown is home to several leading commercial vendors of Pacific Northwest Coast Aboriginal Art, as well as vendors that are selling cultural kitsch. Together these businesses drive a significant percentage of traditional Northwest Coast art production.
Nicolson’s Artspeak installation centres around an altered bentwood chest constructed from cedar and etched glass. While bentwood chests are traditionally meant to hold articles of value, Nicholson’s decorated chest will contain and spill light, so that shadows are cast onto the gallery walls. These projected shadows index the rich and ephemeral concepts from which this object is conceived. The viewer, upon entering the gallery, will physically interrupt the throw of light to add another layer of shadows. Referencing the traditional tale of how Raven stole the sun from a chief (who kept it in a box) to release it for the entire world’s benefit, Nicolson’s Bakwina`tsi: the Container for Souls proposes a distinction between the object and it’s contents. Nicolson’s chest is both a play on a consumable object and a receptacle and/or projector of cultural dialogue.