Canadian geographic photographer Scott Forsyth and Expedition Canada host and musician David Newland want to redefine how Canadians think of the coasts – and they’re bringing their message to Penticton on Nov. 30.
The two are currently on a two-week tour across B.C. and Alberta to simultaneously promote Forsyth’s newest photography collection in his book Wild Coasts of Canada and Newland’s newest album Northbound. Their tour is stopping at the Penticton Art Gallery on Nov. 30 from 7:30 to 10 p.m.
Forsyth and Newland met working with Adventure Canada, an award-winning adventure company, and began helping each other promote their art by blending their two mediums, photography and music.
“I’m used to presenting just on my own, showing the footage and talking about my photos and the stories but this is the first time ever where we’ve tried to integrate it entirely with David’s music,” said Forsyth. “We’ve been presented together at different times in the past, but it’s more like we were sharing a stage back and forth. Now we’re really trying to integrate the imagery with his lyrics and the flow of the story. It’s more of a performance than a presentation.”
Newland said the photography and music showcase regions throughout Canada’s coasts, from Haida Gwaii in B.C. to the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic to the Torngat Mountains in Labrador Peninsula.
“Most of these places that we think of as wilderness are actually homelands, and we speak to that,” said Newland. “So it’s the sense that these places that we are excited about are not just empty spaces. They are homelands and we have opportunities to connect with people who live there, and that enriches us all.”
Both artists hope their show will change some commonly held stereotypes about these regions, especially the ones created by past European explorers.
“There are two stories of the Canadian Arctic in a sense. There’s one we received from the European explorer history narrative, and then there’s the story of the people who have been their the whole time, the Inuit,” said Newland. “Like with the search for the Northwest Passage, it’s kind of funny because the Inuit have already done it. They already came across the arctic, stretching all the way from eastern Siberia to Greenland, and they’re living there capably. But from the European side it’s thought of as this terrible and empty place where good men go to die.”
Newland said the show is also an opportunity to “highlight the wrongs that have been done against these communities in our name as Canadians,” rather than just portray a beautiful place.
“We have to start examining the words we used. Scott and I mention this in our show, people respond to the title of his book Wild Coasts of Canada and they think wild means unspoiled,” said Newland. “And some of the stuff that we show and talk about really fits that description. But on the other hand, it’s not a wild place in the sense that nobody lives there. Because we often ignore that fact, and when we do ignore it, bad things end up happening to those people who live there.
“So we’re trying to do our part to connect with those realities, to honour the knowledge that has been shared with us, and to be respectful.”
Tickets for the show are $20 each and can be purchased online at Eventbrite. Forsyth’s book and Newland’s CD will both be available for purchase at the gallery the evening of the event.
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