MAP: Make / Art / Place Summer Program

July 12 - September 17 2016
MAP: Make Art Place is a convergent artistic program comprised of thematically integrated exhibitions, research residencies, collaborations and workshops. This multifaceted project focuses on interdisciplinary meeting points of encounter, context, and experience as a means of activating cultural intersections between artistic and academic research, involving local community partners and post-secondary institutions. MAP embeds opportunities for new site-responsive, collaborative and interactive works by contemporary artists and community partners, inviting risk-taking and experimentation, support by critical dialogue. MAP invites conversations between diverse communities through concurrence at the gallery.MAP exhibiting artists: Barbara Meneley / Joanne Bristol / Clive Powsey
exhibition July 12 – September 17
welcoming, artist talks, reception Wednesday July 20 6pm
creative residencies July 1 – July 30  community partners:  NIC / McLoughlin Gardens
artist talk with Joanne Bristol + Barbara Meneley July 14, 12–1pm @ NIC Shadbolt Studios

July 20 – July 22 (CVAG / Native Sons Hall paid event)
collaborative partners: VIU / SFU / NIC / City of Courtenay / Downtown Business Improvement Association / #WeAreYQQ
July 20 registration 4–6pm / July 21 8–4:45 / July 22 9:30–5 for details:

July 21 5:30 pm place-based site works tour: Andy Everson, Karver Everson
July 22 8:00 pm symposium closing remarks, video screening / performance: George Littlechild, Liz Carter, Steven Thomas Davies and Lindsay Delaronde with guest curator Toby Lawrence
July 23 10 am Talk Walk Make group exhibition + reception / artist talk (Clive Powsey) / community walk at Mount Washington (North Island College Shadbolt Studios)
MAKE ART WEDNESDAY community drop in program at CVAG July 13/20/27, August 10/17/24 11am–1pm

Symposium: Where is Here? Small Cities, Deep Mapping and Sustainable Futures seizes on the tremendous interest shown in cultural mapping and placemaking practices by artists, researchers and small city placemakers, and brings to bear multiple knowledge-domains to move our collective understanding of these practices forward. The project, a partnership between the Comox Valley Art Gallery and Vancouver Island University, includes the following components:

– Explore Here – a symposium engaging over 25 experts from local, provincial, national and international circles on the topic of cultural mapping with a focus on Canadian small cities;
– Create Here – an arts-based research program MAP consisting of exhibitions, performances, workshops program MAP, creative residencies, and a symbolic reclamation and honouring of territory for First Nations artists.

MAP consists of a series of site installation and time-based explorations (in video, performance, installation and photography) by Canadian artists working with ideas of place in politicized and localized ways. Presenting artists are challenging dominant understandings surrounding place and community, and putting forward new ways of ‘inhabiting’, ‘approaching’, ‘occupying’ and ‘representing’ space. Their work, rooted in deep research and exploration, will form an integral part of the Where is Here? symposium – running from July 20 to 22, 2016. Work created in MAP will also be disseminated through a publication created post-project by CVAG to explore and communicate the ideas and investigative processes embedded within.

The MAP program aims to:

– Challenge dominant representations and manifestations of place, allowing for new ideas to emerge;
– Draw upon the investigative processes at play within a select group of contemporary artists to critically and thoughtfully consider the potentials underlying place;
– Apply these processes within a small-city context – recognizing small cities as potential sites of innovation as related to arts-based development;
– Raise awareness surrounding these processes – including to the symposium presenters (municipal planners and developers, cultural mapping advocates, academics, artists, etc.), and to the wider public (via the symposium, exhibition and publication).

Small cities throughout the globe have been impacted by the ailments of globalization, witnessing, for instance, the out-migration of youth populations, the rise of crime and the evaporation of economic mainstays. Many such cities (including Courtenay/Comox Valley and other resource-dependent communities on Vancouver Island), are struggling to re-define their place within the ‘knowledge economy’, and to activate new forms of citizenship, meaning and identity as a way to survive and thrive. Artists can play a powerful role in this act of re-imagining and re-constructing. MAP brings a select group of place-based professional artists into contact with a small-city creative development conversation – asking what insights these practices might afford for a holistic, sustainable and critically-rooted approach to development.

MAP Artists Include:

Joanne Bristol Regina-based multi-disciplinary artist Symposium, Exhibition, Workshop, Panel Discussion, Residency
Liz Carter Comox Valley-based video & installation artist Symposium, video screening and site installation
Andy Everson K’omoks visual artist Symposium, Exhibition, Panel Discussion
Karver Everson K’omoks visual artist Symposium, Exhibition, Panel Discussion
Steven Thomas Davies Victoria-based video & installation artist Symposium, video screening and site installation,
Lindsay Delaronde Victoria-based video & installation artist Symposium, video screening and performance site installation
George Littlechild Comox Valley-based visual & performance artist Symposium, performance site installation
Clive Powsey Comox Valley-based visual artist Symposium, Exhibition, Workshop, Artist talk, Residency
Barbara Meneley Regina-based multi-disciplinary artist Symposium, Exhibition, Workshop, Panel Discussion, Residency


Joanne Bristol

Joanne Bristol is a Regina-based artist whose work investigates human and more-than-human agencies through writing, drawing and photography in response to physical and conceptual sites of natural and built environments. Conducting an Artist Residency at CVAG and North Island College throughout the month of July, Joanne’s exploratory processes will be featured as part of theMAP Program – in the form of a screening/exhibition. Her residency will address questions of place and belonging through a study of multispecies spaces, and involves daily walks in the Comox Valley area, using writing, drawing and photography to observe multispecies relations. The results of this research will be presented at the symposium / exhibition, and will include: projections on the gallery walls, and the production of printed multiples. Joanne will present in the Mapping/Unmapping as creative practice Panel Discussion, and will lead a workshop, titled, Mediating the Valley: Multispecies Relations and Performative Writing, in which participants will experiment with a range of observation, reading and writing approaches in response to local plant life

Liz Carter

Liz Carter is a Vancouver Island artist of First Nations ancestry – whose search for her cultural roots has uncovered a realm of commercial images of the ‘Imaginary Indian’. Liz’s work reveals the determined struggle of the Kwakwaka’wakw culture to carry forward ancient symbols and meanings into a contemporary life. At the symposium, Liz will present a video piece, Containment. This piece ponders overconsumption and excessive production of disposable items and questions priorities. The need for beauty creates a large ecological footprint damaging the basic food sources leading to controlling and over exploitation. The natural migration is contained and sacred space is re-routed or destroyed. The sacred space of the salmon is essential to the well being of all who share reverence and gratitude for the bounty. We are Salmon and water people Carter states, “Born a political child under Government rule, I Lost my culture only to be granted the cultural rights once again but my teachers where lost to me. New teachers arrived and re-appropriations have begun.” Liz will also present as part of the Mapping Sacred Space panel discussion.  Cultural resources are the make-up of cultural diversity.

Andy Everson

Andy Everson is a K’omoks visual artist, dancer and cultural educator. Traditional K’ómoks place-names told stories about the land and people – bringing to light their challenges, cultural values, and celebrated accomplishments. Everson is currently engaged in a research project that uncovers and recognizes these place-names – bringing them into a larger conversation about space and territory, and highlighting past relationships held by the K’ómoks people with this territory. Everson will reveal his findings from this research in a co-presentation with Karver Everson, who will speak about his totem pole reclamation project. Together, these two projects demonstrate a concerted effort being made by members of the K’ómoks nation to better understand the historical significance of their traditional territory, and to communicate this significance to a wider audience.

Karver Everson

Karver Everson is a K’omoks and Kwakwakawakw carver and visual/performance artist.  In 2014 the Komoks First Nation created an opportunity for local K’omoks First Nations artists to invigorate the connection between cultural practice of ceremony and carving totem poles through the creation of two totem poles every year for the next ten years that will cumulatively map the expansive territory that the K’omoks First Nation once inhabited and still inhabits today. The poles are intended as a form of reclamation of cultural identity, land, Aboriginal rights and title. Re-establishing the K’omoks First Nation’s cultural identity through visual signifiers, the poles call for change, with every installed work forming part of the story that reveals evolving power dynamics as played out on the land. The first two poles created by K’omoks artists Karver Everson and Randy Frank, mentored by master carver Calvin Hunt,  depict a satiated figure holding his/her belly, expressing a sense of abundance and a sense that there is enough for everyone. One of these poles is installed on the edge of a military training facility next to a sign that states “no trespassing,” in an area that was once a sacred burial ground for high ranking First Nations people.  Karver plans to create two more poles this summer that will mark the furthest points of the territory. In addition to the project taking place at an outdoor publicly accessible site situated on a busy through road on the K’omoks reserve, documentation of the site works will comprise part of the exhibition MAP. Karver will participate, as well, in the Mapping Sacred Space panel.

Steven Thomas Davies

Victoria-based filmmaker of Coast Salish (Snuneymuxw) and European ancestry, Steven Thomas Davies’ practice is collaborative and community driven with a focus on stories that promote underrepresented perspectives and foster greater understanding. Steven’s new video, Written In My Blood, is a non-narrative exploration honouring the importance, practices and histories of Indigenous women that have been obscured by colonial agendas and records. Written In My Blood is a collaborative film featuring choreography and performance by contemporary Aboriginal dancer Jeanette Kotowich (Cree Métis) accompanied by a remix by DJ Dean Hunt (Heiltsuk Nation). In this ode to the matriarch, a contemporary Indigenous woman in a colonial city transcends to the wilderness and back. Jeanette’s choreography is derived from deep listening and reverence for the land using breath, impulse and instinct to unravel and honour the moment.

Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde

Multi-disciplinary artist Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde is an Iroquois/Mohawk woman born and raised on the Kahnawake reservation and currently based in Victoria. Her work manifests relationships between Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals and inter-cultural respect amongst allies, nation-to-nation. Lindsay uses Indigenous sacred teachings and spiritual principles of understanding such as respect, love, humility, unity, balance, love, in her artwork, with the goal to become a conduit of presence in the creative process to visually create art using imagery, materials, tools and processes. She works collaboratively with community members and depict Indigenous narratives while embracing the beauty and respect she has for culture.

For the symposium, Lindsay will present video documentation of Bondage, a choreographed dance performance at Ogden Point in Victoria, performed by herself and Margaret Briere (Migmaw Nation), Erynne Gilpin (Anishnnabe), Karen Whetung (Anishnnabe), Naomi Kennedy (mixed European ancestry) and Meagan Saulnier (Coast Salish, Sechelt Nation), that transmutes the oppression and colonial history of the people and land through body movements and dance. It is a story that the embraces the power of the human spirit. Bondage is a collaborative work bringing together multiple narratives, personalities and experiences, co- creating a new narrative that is reflective of our multi-cultural experiences on this territory of the Coast Salish peoples.

George Littlechild

George Littlechild is an established Plains Cree artist originally from Edmonton, AB, now residing in the Comox Valley. He develops work that speaks from the heart — and that addresses the social and political. George’s ancestral connections with place draw attention to the importance of honouring and respecting mother earth — understanding this relationship as a partnership rather than as ownership. George will present for the symposium a site-specific performance, Mapping Land Sacred, occurring within a forested landscape in northeast Courtenay. His presentation uses fabric, sticks and natural elements, embodying the spirit of home connection to the land. This mixed media performance installation piece will insight the notion of place.  As part of a ceremonial honouring of tree spirits and of sacred space, the piece will strive to honour connection between nation to nation. George will also present in the panel discussion – Mapping the Sacred.

Clive Powsey

Clive Powsey is a Comox Valley-based visual artist. Having spent a couple of decades interested in landscape, and currently a keen recreational mountaineer, Clive has become very familiar through observation with the fairly intimidating ‘complex terrain’ of central Vancouver Island which exists in close proximity to populated areas that generally lay on the coastal fringe. In less than a day you can leave behind much of human culture; the strip malls, subdivisions and tarmac and find yourself deposited as an observer in a radically different topography; a landscape in which you are an interloper observing that-which-may-destroy you. Drawing upon these images, Clive’s work generates a series of images using printmaking that is playfully re-imaginative and gives shapes to the forms that might be imagined in our virtual mental maps in response to this landscape. These images are obscure, ambiguous, but also suggestive of landscape. They take into account perceptual considerations – for example, just how little we actually see with our eyes; and experiential considerations – for instance, acknowledging how much we rely on other senses to visualize or recollect an experience. Clive will exhibit his work as part of MAP, will participate in Create Here as an artist-in-residence, and will lead a workshop and walk as part of the symposium called Seeing from Above.

Barbara Meneley

Barbara Meneley is a professional intermedia artist, whose current projects focus on cartographic representation and embodied relationships to land. Typically seen as scientific, objective, and absolute, in reality cartographic representation is anything but. A cartographer is tasked with communicating visual information, synthesizing a variety of source material to visually support the communication of a specific idea. Someone decides how some place should be represented and the cartographer makes it so. Barbara knows something about this – cartography was her profession for twenty years, and every map she drew was, according to her, fiction.  A central fiction/element to every map is that the truth of a place—the undulating terrain, dust caught in a twist of wind, the growth of a tree, or the sound of an animal—all embodied experience, must necessarily be translated to static and two dimensional representation. Barbara’s current projects investigate the tensions in conventional cartographic representation and explore the potential for wider expression in representing place.  As an exhibiting artist in MAP, Barbara’s show Unmapping the Last Best West shapes a series of experimental embodied cartographies: two dimensional works on canvas, kinetic works on paper, performance video, and video animation. As an artist in residence with Comox Valley Art Gallery, North Island College Fine Arts Department and the McLoughlin Gardens AIR residence for the month of July 2016, Barbara will extend her engagements with cartographic representation andembodied relationships to land. Her plans involve developing a series of works including but not limited to, sketch, video, and projected works, as well as temporary site responsive installations. As presenter on the panel Mapping/Unmapping and Creative Practice at the Where is Here symposium, Barbara will discuss some of her recent projects and ideally involve symposium participants in a short cartographic collaboration. As a Make Art Project workshop facilitator with North Island College and Comox Valley Art Gallery, Barbara will collaborate with other artist facilitators and workshop participants to explore and express the potential for expanded and embodied cartographic representation.

MAP Curators / Organizers

Sharon Karsten

Sharon Karsten (MFA) is Executive Director of the Comox Valley Art Gallery, and PhD student studying cultural policy through Simon Fraser University. Sharon’s research explores ways to democratize planning processes through cultural/creative approaches to development. Her interest in this topic stems from both her professional background as an artist and arts manager/administrator, and her academic background, in which she is currently studying various approaches to the artists/municipal developer relationship assumed by small and mid-sized BC municipalities within BC. By bringing both ‘on the ground’ and ‘theoretical/critical’ insights together, Sharon highlights an array of epistemological, practical and empirical options for the inclusion of arts in planning strategies. Sharon was involved in developing the collaboration and concept for Where is Here – through both the Comox Valley Art Gallery and Vancouver Island University. She serves as the Project Coordinator, and will participate as a presenter in the Where is Here panel discussion.

Angela Somerset

Angela Somerset is the Curator at the Comox Valley Art Gallery. She is also an instructor at North Island College, teaching first year 3–D Foundation Studio and second year Sculpture and Integrated Practice. With a broad background in visual art, interdisciplinary art and media art practices, Angela has been working in the field of arts and culture, developing independent, collaborative and partnership projects since completing her MFA at NSCAD University in 1993.

In conjunction with the Where is Here? symposium, Angela is the curator of MAP – a convergent artistic program comprised of thematically integrated exhibitions, research residencies, collaborations and workshops. The curatorial intention of this multifaceted project focuses on interdisciplinary meeting points of encounter, context, and experience as a means of activating cultural intersections between artistic and academic research, involving local community partners and post-secondary institutions. MAP embeds opportunities for new site-responsive, collaborative and interactive works by established contemporary artists, inviting risk-taking and experimentation, support by critical dialogue. Angela’s interest in arts-based research practice provides opportunities to deepen conversations between diverse communities through concurrence at the gallery.

Angela’s interdisciplinary art production and curatorial practice includes a specialized interest in installation art, site responsive and interactive projects, time-based practices, performance art, print and digital media, hybrid publication and documentation practices. This range of studio art and curatorial practice provides the experience necessary to produce complex curatorial programming such as MAP.

Toby Lawrence

Toby Lawrence is a curator and writer of mixed European ancestry currently based on Gabriola Island. Her curatorial work explores models founded in dialogue, reciprocity and uninhibited access, acknowledging the significance of art and curatorship as locations of cross-cultural, cross-gender and cross-generational learning and empathy. The sustained relevance of these practices and their relation to each other clearly directs our attention beyond the confines of the gallery space, and the art itself. In thinking about these relationships, Toby is compelled by the pedagogical potential of occupying public space through art. Working as a curator in independent and collaborative capacities, and through positions with the Vancouver Art Gallery, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria and Nanaimo Art Gallery, she has produced exhibitions and written contributions that challenge hierarchical privileges and advocate for representational equity. For MAP, Toby has curated Speaking Outside, the Friday night screening/site-based installation involving artists Steven Thomas Davies and Lindsay Katsitsakatste Delaronde. She will participate in the Panel Discussion: Mapping Sacred Space.