Return to Water

February 18 - May 14 2022


May 12 2022 – May 14 2022

All are invited: learning + exploration / cultural sharing / exhibition / off site adventure / make art / video screenings / sound installations / performance / movement.

Schedule + Links HERE


Everywhere we turn there is water. The land and our lives flow with it.

In January 2020, CVAG initiated convergent programming that reflected memory, perceptions, experiences, and relationships with the water that surrounds and permeates everything in our world. The Covid 19 pandemic interrupted this programming. Now two years later, we find ourselves living within an endemic and with a heightened awareness of the many difficult realities our world is faced with. Water seems to be calling to us with an invitation to look deeply into what we might do in response.

The artists participating in the exhibition Salt-Stained Streaks of a Worthwhile Grief have posed thoughts and questions worth considering:

We live in times where increasing floods, fire, and other climate events make it impossible to ignore the need for exploitative and extractive colonial culture to find a different relationship to the land and water.
… How do we gather, resist and protect in this time? How do artists counter colonial-capitalist perspectives that support exploitation and extractivism? When we take time to listen to these bodies of water, what do we learn? And what can we give back?
– Fathom Sounds Artist Collective

This year, the Comox Valley Art Gallery is ‘returning to water’. The RETURN TO WATER convergent programs includes creative residencies, a group exhibition, collaborations with community partners and education programs, incubator projects, cultural sharing, public space presentations, and performances that will present opportunities for engaging with the responses of artists and community to these questions.

December 2021 – March 2022 – Creative Residencies – Fathom Sounds Artist Collective

March 4, 2022 / 7PM – Art Opening/Artists Talk – Live-Streamed Event

March 2 – May 14, 2022 – ExhibitionSalt-Stained Streaks of a Worthwhile Grief
The artists in Fathom Sounds Collective are “a multidisciplinary collective of artists who care about the state of water as a living entity and a flowing field of living bodies”. Their process has been one of inquiry, site specific encounter, dialogue and responsive production. During and prior to this program, their practice has been supported by the gallery through residencies, facilitation of relationships with the wider community, and presentation of artists’ work through an exhibition and an artist talk.

March 4, 2022 / 7PM – Art Opening/Artists Talk – Live-Streamed Event

March 16, 2022 / 5:30PM – Joseph Dandurand Reading – In-Person and Virtual Event

May 12 – May 14, 2022 – Return to Water Festival – A Series of Arts-Based Events

May 10 – 14  / Return to Water Festival – A Series of Arts-Based Events through make art workshops / cultural sharing / cross discipline outreach + education sessions will bring the community together to explore issues related to perceptions of water, use of water, effects of climate change, and the concept of water as a “living entity”.

During the convergent program CVAG is engaging with students – from early childhood to college level –  to explore their relationship with water through arts based activities, school visits by CVAG’s curatorial team, school tours to the gallery, and outreach provocations. These activations will be shared at CVAG through documentation and presentation of student work during the Return to Water Festival May 11 – 14 and will continue to accumulate into June 2022.

Images: Keith Enns, February 2022. Site: KusKusSum estuary restoration project undertaken by Project Watershed in collaboration with the K’ómoks First Nation.

In the image sequence, the man-made barrier that held back a living system of water is being arduously deconstructed by giant machines. Day after day, month after month, step by step, an industrial complex, pavement, tons of infill, and a rigid metal cladding that held back the water, is being dismantled. The land, once a living and responsive series of flowing channels and quiet pools is being restored as a living estuary – it can be said that the land is literally being “returned to water”. More about this project can be learned by visiting the Project Watershed Webpage and the K’ómoks Frist Nation Website.

The Comox Valley Art Gallery would like to acknowledge that we are located upon the Unceded Traditional territory of the K’ómoks First Nation. CvVAG recognizes the enduring presence of First Nations people on this land. The gallery is grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with artists, writers, guest curators, community partners, our volunteers, donors and members. CVAG’s convergent programming is made possible through the support of our funder; Province of BC, Canada Council for the Arts, BC Arts Council, Government of Canada, City of Courtenay, Town of Comox, Village of Cumberland, Comox Valley Regional District, BC Gaming, Local Support: ABC Printing, SD71 Print Shop, Sherwin-Williams, Shine-EZE, Muir Engineering, Izco Technology Solutions, Cumberland Village works, Community Collaborators; Project Watershed, SD71 Indigenous Learning, Kumugwe Cultural society, Ikwe Noojim Niimi Idiwin, Wachiay Studio, MakeIt Zone, Imago Theatre, McLoughlin Gardens Society,  NIC Fine Arts, Digital Design, + ECCE programs in conjunction with CV+CR Early Learning Centres, Safe + Sound