Exhibitions and Events
Bakwina`tsi: the Container for Souls
Marianne NicolsonJanuary 7th to February 11th, 2006
Opening January 6, 8pm
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.
Marianne Nicolson is a member of the Dzawada’enuxw Tribe of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nations. She has a BFA from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design, a MFA from the University of Victoria, a MA in Linguistics and Anthropology from the University of Victoria, and is currently pursuing her PhD. She has had solo exhibitions at Thunder Bay Art Gallery; National Indian Art Centre, Hull; and Or Gallery, Vancouver. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver; International Museum of Film and Photography, New York; Art Gallery of Greater Victoria; National Museum of the American Indian, New York; Tapei Fine Arts Museum; Open Space, Victoria; McMichael Canadian Art Collection, Kleinburg, ON; and Vancouver Art Gallery.
Related LinksScene of Translations [Publication]
Marianne Nicolson [Artist]
Melanie O'Brian [Curator]
Postscript 18 - A Container for New Life and Death [Text]