This is Our Gift

This is our gift to each other, our fellow Canadians and the world.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, many Nisga’a treasures left the Nass Valley. During the struggle for our treaty, Nisga’a elders and leaders fought to ensure this scattered legacy would find its way back home. Now, housed in a permanent place of honour, this treasury of Nisga’a culture ranks as one of the preeminent collections of Northwest Coast aboriginal art.

Anhooya’ahl Ga’angigatgum’ (the Ancestors’ Collection) is now open. This gathering of priceless artifacts — on display together for the first time — contains over 300 Nisga’a cultural treasures. You will be moved by the power and spirit encountered here.

We Nisga’a are leaders. Our art and culture tie us to this place. We have stories of wonder, tragedy, and triumph to tell.

Here, we will share them with the world.

Artist in Residence – Krista Belle Stewart

Generously supported by the Nisga’a Nation, BC Arts Council, First Peoples’ Cultural Council, and Budget Car and Truck Rental Terrace

The Nisga’a Museum, in partnership with the Contemporary Art Gallery in Vancouver is extremely proud to launch our first collaborative artist in residence project. Vancouver based Okanagan/Upper-Nicola artist Krista-Belle Stewart will be spending two and a half weeks at the Nisga’a Museum developing a project that will be exhibited at the Museum and at the Contemporary Art Gallery. A key component to this residency is community engagement and participation.

Stewart’s project is centered on narrative and storytelling. She is curious to explore, learn about and listen to stories/oral histories about Nisga’a people, their life and connection to the land. Investigating how these stories are being preserved in the community; how they are shared and how community members talk about the past are critical components to the residency and future work created by the artist. Out of these community engagements Stewart is interested in developing a video-based artwork to share with the community and larger artworld. Bell states, “I am interested in engaging with senior youth aged 16-25 years of age as well as community elders throughout the Nass Valley who could participate in this research project through storytelling and in the production of this new artwork.”

Ms. Stewart will also host a series of workshops where youth could explore some of these local narratives and produce their own video-based artwork.

Krista-Belle Stewart is a member of Okanagan/Upper Nicola Band, British Columbia. She lives and works in Vancouver. Stewart holds a BFA from Emily Carr University and is currently working on a MFA from Bard College in New York. Recent exhibition and performance history includes Music from the New Wilderness at The Western Front, Shelved at the Burnaby Art Gallery (with Rebecca Belmore) and the Fiction/Non-fiction at the Esker Foundation (Calgary). Krista's work explores First Nations identity, particularly by individuals and groups who have no direct links to North American Native culture, other than through romanticized/ fetishized interest such as health products that tap into the wisdom of the elders to help relieve your carpal tunnel syndrome; sculptures and trinkets that depict proud, ideal figures, and phenomena such as the German Indianer Klub, where members don elaborate buckskin outfits while interpreting Native American song and dance. Stewart's photographic practice creates a dialogue between past and present, the romantic and the real, creating an awareness of the implications of misrepresentation, stereotypes, and racism. Krista-Belle Stewart is an artist who lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. Her work engages the complexities of intention and interpretation made possible by archival material. The work approaches mediation and story-telling to unfold the interplay between personal and institutional history.

Most recently, Stewart’s work is joining Vancouver’s public art collection in an exhibition to honour and celebrate the City’s Year of Reconciliation. The City’s Public Art Program commissioned 10 new artist projects overall with the first five debuting in March 2014 and new projects being introduced monthly through August 2014. The Granville and Georgia entrance of the Canada Line City Centre Station will host Krista-Belle Stewart’s Her Story, a large photo mural derived from a production still of a 1967 CBC documentary about her mother, the first Aboriginal public health nurse in BC. The image reflects personal and institutional histories and the complexities of residential school history. It will be on display from March to September 2014. Stewart’s companion video will air on the dual screens at Robson and Granville through March. This work also draws on the original footage from the CBC documentary about the artist’s mother, Seraphine: Her Own Story (1967). It touches on the young woman’s journey from residential school to UBC and the city. The video will be shown on the CBC Plaza screen in April and at the VanCity Theatre outdoor screen in May and then cycle through each venue again until August.