Friday, July 15, 2016

A Full Day

A full day yesterday that started with a studio visit to atelier Pickering where Katherine shared with me a new body of work that has painted canvases cut into shapes according to their flow and figuration and from there manipulated into the third dimension.

Here is an instance of the cut canvas:

Here is an instance of the finished form that these cuts can take:

Katherine's new work will be on display at the Vernon Art Gallery later this year.

After our studio visit Karen and I walked to the stone circle where we met Syilx elder Richard Armstrong, who shared with us who he is and where we are, then asked those gathered to do the same.

From there, Richard led us to a spot underneath a giant pine where we learned of the Four Kingdoms -- those on four-legs, those in the water, those in the air, and those whose plants have roots -- and how these kingdoms are his parents, and that the name Syilx translates roughly as "a tear from," and that the Syilx are made of pieces of these kingdoms.

Richard also told us that knowledge comes to the Syilx through "vision quests" experienced by younger members who, during puberty, are taken into the mountains and placed at eye level with the terrain. It is from this position that knowledge enters -- not, as Richard explained, through the "trial and error" methodology promoted by anthropologists like James Tate.

Something else Richard shared with us. Of the Syilx language, he said, "Our language is so precise that to write it is a step backwards."

Later that night I travelled downtown to the Kelowna Public Library where UBC Okanagan's Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies member Matt Rader introduced an evening of readings and performances related to his "Bodies of Knowledge" course. Hosted by Clayton McCann, the program featured contributions from Matt's colleague Michael V. Smith and Vernon's Hannah Calder, as well those from Matt's guests and students.

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