TRADITIONAL INDIGENOUS FULL CIRCLE TEA GARDEN – Planting Day April 9, 2020
As a land-based practice the evolving full-circle tea garden replaces the urban decorative landscaping on the gallery’s plaza with traditional Indigenous food and medicine plants, designed under the guidance of Traditional Knowledge Keeper, Elder Barb Whyte. The planting of the gardens began in the fall of 2018 in beds that surround the south and west corner of the plaza and Traditional Welcome Poles. Traditional indigenous plants the gardens hold oregon grape, wild strawberry, nootka rose, yarrow, huckleberry, and lemon balm. The plantings are in beds that surround the north and east corners of the plaza and the base of the public art installation CROSSROADS.
The gardens invite contemplation and rooting to the land in which we live and receive nourishment.
‘I give thanks to the Creator, Creator of our planets and our stars. I honour Mother Earth for all that she gives us, the oceans, rivers, mountains, and plains. I give thanks to the trees and the plants for supporting the physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing of our elders, mothers and fathers, and our children that walk upon her with respect for ourselves and respect for Mother Earth and all of my relations.’ – Barb Whyte
The traditional tea gardens project is part of PUBLIC PLACE : SACRED SPACE, a the multi-year program that integrates themes of welcoming, gathering and healing through the incorporation of Indigenous place-naming, installations, public art, a full circle tea garden, exhibitions, cross-cultural sharing, performance, video screenings, workshops, gatherings and residencies. The undertaking is a collaboration between the Comox Valley Art Gallery, participating artists, curators, Elders, the K’ómoks First Nation community and the City of Courtenay. Together, the components in this program are seen as a step toward reconciliation and recognition of the historic relationships the K’ómoks peoples have had with this Valley for thousands of years.