A collaboration between SD 71 Indigenous Education Services and Comox Valley Art Gallery
This exhibition is a responsive legacy project that honours the intent of two projects; Speaking to Memory: Images and Voices from St. Michael’s Indian Residential School and Project of Heart: Illuminating the Hidden History of Indian Residential Schools in BC. These arts-based presentations offered educators, students, and families of School District 71 the opportunity to examine the history and legacy of Indian Residential Schools in British Columbia. Emerging artist Jesse Everson created graphics that have been silkscreened onto cushions for seating during sharing circles and facilitated engagement with the project.
Speaking to Memory: Images and Voices from St. Michael’s Indian Residential School was first presented at the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia in 2014, through the collaborative work of MOA curator Bill McLennan and the U’mista Cultural Centre director Sarah Holland and curator Juanita Johnston and the ‘Namgis First Nation at Alert Bay. The work, comprised of photographs taken by a student using a small camera, provides a personal glimpse of the now demolished St. Michael’s Residential School.
Project of Heart was originally created by educator Sylvia Smith and coordinated by Charlene Bearhead in Ottawa, Ontario in 2011, to instigate truth and reconciliation through arts-based education. In response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s work, the British Columbia Teacher’s Federation created Project of Heart: Illuminating the Hidden History of Indian Residential Schools in BC out of the originating project. In 2012, Aboriginal artists Derrick George and Una Ann Moyer working with students from participating schools created the Project of Heart commemorative canoe as a way to foster healing.