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Opening Reception / “The Southern Residents” by Clare Wilkening

April 5 @ 6:00 pm 8:00 pm PDT

On Tuesday, April 05 at 6pm, Massy Arts hosts an opening reception to celebrate ceramic artist Clare Wilkening’s new exhibition: “The Southern Residents”.

At the event, Wilkening will explain the process behind building a wall-hanging ceramic installation to address colonization, industrialization, and global warming’s impact on the killer whale community local to the Salish Sea, a deeply endangered species.

Guests are invited to view the Southern Resident Killer Whales (2018-ongoing) tile installation and short film, to learn and share knowledge about the Salish Sea, and to participate in the co-creation of the Clare’s next work by making ceramic herring from press molds.

Art Activity / Participants will have the opportunity to make clay herrings using plaster press molds provided by the artist. The herring made at the event will become part of a large school of herring to be hung from the ceiling of a future installation by Wilkening. There will also be some air-dry clay to make herring with if people want to keep one as a gift from the reception.

The event will be hosted at the Massy Arts Gallery, at 23 East Pender Street in Chinatown, Vancouver.

The opening reception is open to all community + free, and registration is mandatory.

Covid Protocols: For all in-person events, attendees must provide proof of vaccination, wear a mask (N95 masks are encouraged and recommended as they offer the best protection), and consent to having their temperature checked at the front door. We kindly ask that if you are showing any symptoms, that you stay home. Thank you kindly.

Click here to register for the event

Click here to know more about the exhibition

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The Artist

I am a ceramic artist, born and raised as a settler on xʷməθkʷəyə̓ m, Sḵwxwú7mesh, ̱and Səlílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh territories. To me, that means that I have a responsibility to support, with my voice, my care, and my labour, the sovereignty and self-determination of these Nations. I see the Land Back movement as the way forward for the future generations of all those human and non-human who live in these territories.

The impulses and ideas for my work begin with a broad love for the natural world. Mainly my interests are focused around ecologies, human and non-human, and the major and subtle linkages therein. I relish the experiences I have had within the felt world of ecology, and I try to bring forth that spirit of creative intuition, play and levity in my working processes.

Much of my artwork parallels and expands upon my BSc in Environmental Science and the information and knowledge I gained during that time. By choosing to engage with ecology as an artist instead of as a scientist, I am able to research the many topics that hold my attention and to generate work that is evocative and responsive. I want to address the social aspects of ecological degradation by offering arts-based ways of portraying whole systems and broad, inclusive thinking that puts ecological health ahead
of industrial extraction.

In my work, I wish to challenge the gesture of sustainability beyond its current cultural logic: a means to maintain resource levels for future extraction at worst, and as a buzzword at best. I would like to shift environmental thinking from the language of sustainability and efficiency towards engagement in reciprocal and regenerative care.

Much of the thinking and practice in this type of epistemology has been done by Indigenous scholars and artists, and I have been fortunate enough to have this decolonial discourse play a heavy role in my education. My positionality as a settler making art within which land and water are actants is an ongoing dialogue within my work.

I have a unique way of looking at the world and seeing solutions that span disciplines and contest binaries. This is part of the reason that ceramics has been perfect for me, because ceramics inherently contains oppositions such as mass/volume, inside/outside, surface/form. I choose to work primarily in ceramics because of the material’s direct connection to the ground, which has inherent power and meaning.

I uncover that by choosing a material that can be a bridge between the topic of my work, the object that is the work, and the substrate of our existence. We are all subjects of the ground, and the ground is subjected to all of us.

– Text by Clare Wilkening

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Land Acknowledgement / This workshop will take place on the unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəyə̓ m, sḵwxwú7mesh, and Tsleil-Waututh first nations. Herring are culturally meaningful for the First Nations of the Salish Sea. Indigenous people past, present, and future are the reason for the abundance of herring in our waters and for all the nourishment to life that herring bring. Any discussion of herring, salmon, and orca would be incomplete without First Nations insight and leadership, and I hope with these dialogues we can make that clear in the public perception of herring and in the fisheries management paradigm more broadly.

Acknowledgement by Clare Wilkening

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