Author Archives: smithac

What the Land Holds

March 19 – June 16, 2021

Legacy Downtown Sidewalk Gallery| 630 Yates Street
Lekwungen territory

Tuesday – Saturday, 4:30pm – 10:00pm
Located outside on Broad Street side of Legacy Downtown

Curated by Nicole Achtymichuk (UVic BSc ’20, Young Canada Works Curatorial Intern)

What the Land Holds is a contemporary video art exhibition that examines the land as integral to Indigenous histories and futures, and as a site of ongoing colonization and alienation. The land holds layers of interpretation that establish places of inclusion and exclusion. The land holds what humans have created, blurring the lines between natural and artificial. The land holds stories and teachings, and returning to these is essential to our continued survival on the land.  

This is the inaugural exhibition in Legacy’s new Sidewalk Gallery, a space designed to activate and inspire community collaborations and to make art more accessible to the public.

Image: Amanda Strong and Bracken Hanuse Corlett, Mia’ (still), 2015. 

Life Stories

December 2, 2020 – April 10, 2021

Legacy Downtown | 630 Yates St.
Lekwungen territory

Visit the online exhibition to explore the artworks, films and event programming at

Curated by Dr. Erin J. Campbell, UVic, Professor, Art History and Visual Studies (BA, MA, & PhD, University of Toronto). Co-curated by Jaiya Anka, UVic Art History and Visual Studies PhD Candidate (UVic, MA ‘17); Holly Cecil (UVic, BA ’16, MA ’19). Related Repose Installation by Elly Heise (UVic, MFA ’20).

With artists: Nina Raginsky, Frank Pimentel, IITTAASHTEXAALIASH Winona Plenty Hoops, Ulli Steltzer, Maxwell Bates and more.

Art shapes our life stories, our sense of self and our relationships, as we journey through the life stages: Beginnings, Childhood, Coming of Age, Maturity, Later Life, and Passages. Life-stages imagery and objects may inspire memories and reflection, offer comfort, joy, and healing, and foster a sense of belonging. However, such imagery can also be a source of cultural stereotypes, engender marginalization, cause pain, and create feelings of loss.

Paintings, drawings, photographs, textiles, ceramics, and furnishings from the university collections evoke a plurality of experiences across the life course. Artist Elly Heise’s installation Related Repose in The Bed Room highlights the intertwining of memory, materiality, and life passages. Interwoven with the artworks are voices of writers, artists, scholars, and curators offering diverse perspectives on significant stages informing our lives.

Image: Jack Wilkinson, Girl In Blue Flowered Nightgown. Oil on canvas, 104 x 78.5 cm, 1972-1975. U996.25.57. Gift of Dr. Myfanwy Spencer Pavelic.

Supported by a grant from: Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada. 

Life Stories Soundscapes

December 3, 2020 – March 15, 2021

Legacy Downtown Sidewalk Gallery | 630 Yates St.
Lekwungen territory

Tuesday – Saturday, 4:30pm – 10pm 

University of Victoria Anthropology of Sound students found inspiration in the Life Stories exhibition for their final projects. Each student created an original soundscape or a sonic composition to accompany an object from the exhibition. The students are pleased to share their work with the Legacy Gallery visitors and they hope their sonic interpretations will spark memories, sensations and new interpretations of these works of art.

Dr. Alexandrine Boudreault-Fournier, Associate Professor in Anthropology

It has been said that the task of an anthropologist is to make the strange familiar and the familiar strange. From quiet, contemplative moments to frenetic, otherworldly scenes, each student has created a memorable sonic arrangement that draws from the diverse range of human experience over the life stages. The soundscapes serve as a unique sensory companion to the Life Stories exhibition, and mark the first time that Legacy has utilized the liminal space of the sidewalk for exhibitions.

Nicole Achtymichuk, Young Canada Works Curatorial Intern 

With support from:

To Fish As Formerly: A Story of Straits Salish Resurgence

Image: Temoseng aka Chasz Elliott, SHELIS – Life, 2020.

June 17 – November 21, 2020

Legacy Downtown | 630 Yates St.
Lekwungen territory

Watch the opening prayer and territory acknowledgement for this exhibition by Songhees Elder Frank George. Special thanks to Frank George for making this possible. 

View the Online Tour and Curators’ Discussion

Curated by XEMŦOLTW̱ Dr. Nicholas Claxton, UVic, School of Child and Youth Care (UVic Alumni, BSc ’00, MA ’03, PhD ’15) and Katie Hughes, UVic Department of History, graduate student (UVic Alumni, BA ’06, Graduate Professional Certificate, Cultural Heritage Studies ’17).

With artists: TEMOSEN Charles Elliott, J,SIṈTEN John Elliott, Chris Paul, Dylan Thomas, Sarah Jim (UVic Alumni, BFA ’19), Temoseng, aka Chasz Elliott and Colton Hash (UVic Alumni, BSc ‘18).

To Fish as Formerly tells the story of the SX̱OLE (the Reef Net Fishery) through contemporary art, traditional knowledge and historical documentation. The exhibition shares the story of the efforts of generations of W̱SÁNEĆ people who are revitalizing the belief systems, spirituality, knowledge and practices inherent to the SX̱OLE.

To W̱SÁNEĆ (Saanich) people, the SX̱OLE is more than a fishing technology. Challenged with no substantial salmon bearing rivers in the territory, the W̱SÁNEĆ and other Straits Salish peoples developed a unique and sophisticated fishing technology that formed the basis for their way of life. Though the Douglas Treaty of 1852 promised that the W̱SÁNEĆ would be able to “fish as formerly”, the SX̱OLE was systematically reduced by colonial systems and finally was banned altogether in Canada in 1916. In recent years, XEMŦOLTW̱ Nicholas Claxton is undertaking community-based work that has brought new life to the restoration of the SX̱OLE that continues today. Through collaboration and reconnection with their U.S. based Xwelemi (Lummi) relatives, the W̱SÁNEĆ people fished using traditional reef net technology for the first time in more than 100 years.

This program is generously funded in part by the Salish Weave Collection.

Teacher’s Guide

Chris Paul, “Reef Net”, 2020.

The exhibition Teacher’s Guide and associated Slide Presentation are free to download and use as reference in the classroom.

Online Programming

To Fish As Formerly | Artist Interview Series

What role can art play in eco-cultural revitalization?

Learn more about the artwork and artists featured in To Fish As Formerly in this interview series featuring local emerging artists Temoseng aka Chasz Elliott, Sarah Jim, and Colton Hash. Hear how art can be a research tool, connect us with community knowledge, and allow us to explore new perspectives.

Check out all three interviews on our YouTube channel.

Online Tour and Curators’ Discussion

To Fish As Formerly: A Story of Straits Salish Resurgence

with curators XEMŦOLTW̱ Dr. Nicholas Claxton, UVic, School of Child and Youth Care 
and Katie Hughes, MA Public History, UVic, 2020.

Thursday November 12 | 7-8 PM
Online via Zoom

View the recording of this event here.

Join us for a tour and curators’ discussion of the exhibition To Fish As Formerly: A Story of Straits Salish Resurgence. Gillian Booth, UVic Legacy Galleries’ Curator of Academic and Community Programs, will conduct a 25 minute online tour through To Fish As Formerly followed by a Curators’ Discussion with XEMŦOLTW̱ Dr. Nicholas Claxton, UVic, School of Child and Youth Care and Katie Hughes, MA Public History, UVic, 2020.

Whether you have already seen To Fish As Formerly or are unable to visit in person, this program offers an insightful overview of the exhibition and a unique opportunity to participate in a discussion about W̱SÁNEĆ eco-cultural resurgence with curators Nick Claxton and Katie Hughes.

To Fish as Formerly tells the story of the SX̱OLE (the Reef Net Fishery) through contemporary art, traditional knowledge and historical documentation. The exhibition shares the story of the efforts of generations of W̱SÁNEĆ people who are revitalizing the belief systems, spirituality, knowledge and practices inherent to the SX̱OLE.

This event features a pre-recorded tour followed by a live discussion and Q+A period.

Nick Claxton teaches at UVic in the Department of Child and Youth Care. His research is centered on the revitalization and resurgence of Indigenous knowledges through community-based and land-based healing. Nick’s doctoral research focused on the revitalization of his community’s traditional fishing practice. His doctoral research project focused on the revitalization and restoration of the SX̱OLE during which he worked to pull together the disappearing knowledge of the SX̱OLE, reinvigorate cross border cooperation between the W̱SÁNEĆ and their Xwelemi relatives, and coordinate the community-based creation and fishing of the first SX̱OLE on Canadian waters in 100 years. This project involved reconnecting with many elders, youth, and community members. It marked the beginning of a longer-term journey of resurgence and intergenerational resilience that continues.

Katie Hughes is a recent graduate of the Public History MA program in the UVic History Department and a museum professional. Her graduate research focussed on sharing the W̱SÁNEĆ story of the revitalization of the SXOLE with the public. Collaborating with Claxton, Katie’s research involved working with a broad range of Indigenous and non-Indigenous community members, elders, and artists to develop content and artworks for the exhibition. Drawing from Indigenous cultural and oral histories and colonial historical sources, Katie focused on capturing the history of the Reef Net and it’s resurgence in the exhibition text, artworks and objects. Katie is currently on maternity leave from her position as Community Engagement Coordinator at UVic Legacy Galleries.

Gillian Booth is the Curator of Academic and Community Programs at UVic Legacy Galleries. Gillian brings 15 years experience working as an art gallery educator. Her work entails developing challenging and engaging public and academic programs that expand on exhibition themes. She collaborates with Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff to develop and deliver K-12 and post-secondary Gallery tours related to Indigenous education using First Peoples Principles of Learning and BC’s new curriculum. Gillian is interested in how museums can support societal change through meaningful public engagement that challenges societal norms and institutional power structures.

TUKTUUYAQTUUQ (Caribou Crossing) Maureen Gruben

Image: Maureen Gruben, Superseded, 2020.

June 17 – November 14, 2020

Visit the exhibition website. 

‘Tuktuuyaqtuuq’ is the Inuvialuktun name of Maureen Gruben’s (UVic Alumni, BFA ‘12) home on the Arctic coast (known in English as ‘Tuktoyaktuk’). It means, ‘Looks Like a Caribou.’ The tuktu/caribou are integral to Inuvialuit life, providing food, clothes, tools, stories.

In TUKTUUYAQTUUQ, Gruben works with multiple facets of the animal: the translucent heart sac, the intricate patterning of bone seams on skulls that are reminiscent of waterways curving through the land. In her careful attention to life-sustaining physical elements, Gruben also traces the caribou’s vast immaterial presence in her culture.