We need your support in our quest to ReEncounter, and hopefully preserve, an important lost cultural treasure…
Like the Elgin Marbles, carried off from the Parthenon, the totem poles of our Northwest coast scattered to the wind many years ago. Of all the treasures of the Northwest coast, the monumental art of the Haida was considered the most desirable. The Smithsonian, the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, and the ROM, all boast of the artifacts secured for their collections.
Among the treasure of the Haida world – a windswept archipelago off the northern-most coast of British Columbia – one village, above all, is considered the epicentre of that culture. Such was the demand for artifacts from this site that, by 1968, not a single totem pole remained – at least, this is what guidebooks tell us. The guidebooks, however, are wrong, as a recently uncovered photograph attests. One lone pole – a totem killerwhale – remains.
June 9th, 2016: a group of independent artists from across Canada, including April White – SGAANA JAAD (Killerwhale Woman) – will return to Gwaii Haanas in the hope of 'ReEncountering' this'undocumented' cultural treasure. We will also be conducting painting workshops and teaching sessions in two of the local schools, and planning future projects with the Haida artists who have partnered with us on this expedition.
We hope you will follow us on our journey, and help us in our Quest. Thank you in advance, on behalf of the kayak expedition team artists:
Anja Karisik - Andrew Cheddie Sookrah - April White
Gary Landon - Sophie Lavoie - W.David Ward
In recognition of your support, we will hold a draw for a small original work, by each of the 6 participating artists at our first 'Post-ReEncounter' exhibition, in late 2016. All contributors will receive an invitation to our Toronto opening, and all donations of $25 of more will be entered in each of the draws.
Because fund raising efforts were not possible until the required permits and permissions were received, we have been unable to pursue the usual corporate channels for support. Corporate funding today generally hinges on the video (exposure of this kind is almost essential). The securing of a film permit, however, has been the most onerous process of all; and now that things look good on this front it is too late in the day for corporate funding. Thus, we hope you, our friends, will help us in the pursuit of our goal; the once in a lifetime quest for a lost cultural treasure.
In recognition of your support, we will hold a draw for a small original work, by each of the 6 participating artists at our first 'Post-ReEncounter' exhibition, in late 2016. All contributors will receive an invitation to our Toronto opening, and all donations of $25 or more will be entered in each of the draws.
The 'ReEncounter' expedition begins June 9th 2016, and will cover the length of Gwaii Haanas by kayak. Our journey commences at a village site in the north of Gwaii Haanas, where, accompanied by Haida artists and the Watchman on site, we will search for (and hopefully ReEncounter) the lost Killerwhale / Thunderbird memorial pole. Artists from both Raven and Eagle clans will be with us for this part of the project, including, appropriately, team member April White (Sgaana Jaad – Killerwhale Woman).
The Haida carvers, and others invited to participate in the first part of the expedition, will return to Queen Charlotte City at this point, but the kayakers will continue south. Ultimately, the team will make its way to Anthony Island and the village site of Ninstints. We will be on the water until June 21stand will cover almost 300 km, before we are picked up, on our return, at Burnaby Narrows. We will paint, sketch and write, throughout, recording our impressions of the land and its people. Subsequent to the trip, we will create a series of studio works for future exhibitions.
The journey will be documented by a Haida Gwaii-based film company. Much of our experience will be recorded from 'sea level', from the film crew's customized tandem kayak, but a support vessel will shadow us, making possible the recording of compelling aerial segments. The resulting footage will be compiled into two short documentaries, and submitted to various film festivals. Previous film projects have been screened at various high-profile festivals in the past, and it is our hope that our historic quest will capture your imagination too.
Your assistance will help this project become a reality, and we hope you will be able to join us, as a very special guest, at one of our upcoming shows, or screenings, late this year / early next.
The ReEncounter team