April 13 - May 25 2024


Starting in 2020, the Comox Valley Art Gallery has held programming that instigates consideration of how we as human beings are in relationship with the waters of this region. The exhibitions presented and art-based community activations recognize that everything is connected to water.

This year, the RETURN TO WATER 2024 program looks to the past, considers the present, and envisions a future in which harmonic balance with the watershed is restored.

The exhibition Assertion of Sovereignty by Sonny Assu — Ligwiłda’xw of the Kwakwaka’wakw Nations — points to the past in which Indigenous people of this region lived within harmony with the watershed. His paintings, prints, and kitsch collection explore European contact and how this colonizing culture disrupted the existing ways of life of the people of this place and the whole ecosystem. The Last of Us, a continuously generating animation, is the artist’s response to a recent article about a single female salmon making a never ending and lonely journey upriver to spawn.

Throughout the convergent program, CVAG is inviting the community to participate by offering creative responses that reflect the past, assert the present, and envision the future in which a healthy relationship with our watery world is restored. Shifting Currents are arts-based activations with community collaborators, which stimulate changes in the way in which we all consider water and how we engage with it.

IMAGE: Slam’n Salmon, Sonny Assu, 2024. Image courtesy of the artist.


Assertion of Sovereignty Exhibition | South Gallery + George Sawchuk Room

The Last of UsContinuously Generating Animation | Window + Plaza Media Gallery – premieres April 13 and will run 24/7 until May 25 at 5PM

Shifting CurrentsCommunity Activations | Gather:Place + HUB Community Gallery + Off-Site Events


April 13 | 1:00PMReception + Artist Talk + Community + Cultural Presentations + Premiere Screening | OPENING EVENT

April 17 | 1 – 5:00PMCVRD Connected By Water – Meghan Cursons | by registration

April 19 | 1  – 3:30PMSD 71 educational outreach session – JoAnn Restoule + CVAG curatorial team + students | private event

April 23 | 10AM – 3PMActivism + Social Art Practice | Water for Water + Water Webs | Aspire to Action – Vanier Secondary Students | private event

May 3 | 10AM – 2:30PMSD 71 Courtenay Elementary educational outreach session – CVRD Connected By Water – Meghan Cursons | private event

May 22 | 5PMSource Encounters in the Comox Lake Watershed | CVRD Connected By Water facilitators | PUBLIC EVENT


The Comox Valley Art Gallery is committed to creating safer spaces where everyone can participate.

Programming is open to the public during CVAG hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 10AM – 5PM + by appointment.

All ages are welcome.

CVAG spaces are accessible.

Programs are barrier-free (no cost). DONATIONS are appreciated and contribute to ongoing community interactive programming.

PUBLIC HEALTH CONSIDERATIONS: we ask that visitors choose not to visit if they are experiencing symptoms of colds and flus.
Hand sanitation dispensers are available at CVAG. Wearing a mask is at the discretion of the visitor.


The Comox Valley Art Gallery is grateful to operate on the Unceded Traditional Territory of the K’ómoks First Nations.

CVAG is honored to collaborate with artists, writers, guest curators, community partners + volunteers. We are grateful for the support of our members + donors.

This convergent program is made possible through the support of our FUNDERS: City of Courtenay, Canada Council for the Arts, BC Arts Council, Government of Canada, Province of BC, Comox Valley Regional District, Town of Comox | LOCAL SUPPORT: ABC Printing + Signs, SD71 Printshop, Sherwin Williams Paint Store, Hitec Screen Printing, Shine-Eze Ltd., BoomBright Media | COMMUNITY COLLABORATORS: CV/Arts, CVRD Connected By Water, Hand-In-Hand Nature Education, Curating Cleaner Waters, Kumugwe Cultural Society, MakeItZone, SD71 Aspire to Action, CVAG Youth Media Project, Teo Moon


IMAGE: Slam’n Salmon, Sonny Assu, 2024. Image courtesy of the artist.