Penticton Art Gallery explores the First Nations persepctive

The Penticton Art Gallery wants to provide an alternative view to the Canada 150 celebrations

One of the images Janice Iniskim-Aki Tanton submitted for Anamnesis, a joint show with Joseph Sanchez at the Penticton Art Gallery. Submitted image

The Penticton Art Gallery is investigating the First Nations experience offering an alternative view to the Canada 150 celebrations with a series of exhibitions throughout the gallery.

Velvet Indians presents an array of vintage art ranging from the 1940s to the 1970s depicting Indigenous peoples and Jim Logan’s Requiem for Our Children is a series of paintings illustrating the stories told to Logan by residential school survivors while he was a lay preacher in the Yukon.

A third exhibition, Anamnesis, adds the voices of Joseph Sanchez and Janice Iniskim-Aki Tanton to the conversation.

Sanchez, a member of the Native Group of Seven, is an American artist from Trinidad, Colorado, by way of the White Mountain Apache Reservation and Taos Pueblo. He came to Penticton to attend the opening and explained the 10 pieces he added to the show were the result of a visit to a residential school near St. Paul, Alta.

“They are recollections of stories I heard when I was at Blue Quills Residential School,” said Sanchez, adding that he was visiting the school along with a fellow artist, Alex Janvier, who had attended the school.

“They were honouring us at the school a few years back. I got to spend a couple of weeks at the school and I got to meet a lot of the people that went to the school,” said Sanchez, who had not attended residential school himself.

Sanchez drew on those stories and his own experience growing up Catholic to create the 10 works. His purpose was not only to raise awareness about the multi-generational impact of residential schools but to move toward healing, not only for the people, but their children.

Blue Quills has been converted to a First Nations college, and Sanchez talks of a ceremony with Dene singers performing healing songs on the front steps to dispel negative energy.

“Natives use song a lot for that purpose, to carry away a lot of the negativity,” said Sanchez adding the experience of creating the paintings was difficult.

“For me, making these paintings, I treated them almost as a prayer,” said Sanchez, talking about how bad the stories made him feel.

“I had to pray to get through it,” he said. “I want to dispel those feelings. I am not a singer, if I was a singer I would have been singing the whole time, for sure.”

“It was difficult for me to do this work, having not experienced this, but when I went back home, I was with my younger brothers.

“I didn’t experience that with the Catholic priests, but my younger brothers did. I thought these priests were great guys and apparently they weren’t,” said Sanchez. “That added a little bit of truth to what I was experiencing, because I had this fantasy that everything was all right, but it wasn’t.”

Sanchez said it is necessary to move forward and develop strength, not just carry anger about it.

“The anger is not helping our younger generation,” said Sanchez. “We have to have a more open conversation about how this has affected them, continues to affect them. The alcoholism, the violence, the suicide, all those elements that still exist on reserves.

“Even down south, on my own reserve, suicide is the number one killer of all the young people. It has to do with the abuse and this feeling of hopelessness.

“I think the show has elements of hope, we need to move forward with it, not sweep it under the table but talk about it honestly and share that honesty, certainly with younger people.”

Anamnesis and the other exhibitions are on in the Penticton Art Gallery until Sunday, Sept. 17.

 

Joseph Sanchez took the stories of residential school survivors, expressing them through his art. Submitted image

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Shinedown and Papa Roach light up Penticton’s SOEC

Asking Alexandria and Savage After Midnight opened the show on Oct. 16

How local candidates are using Facebook to advertise directly to you

Liberal campaign is the biggest spender on Facebook ads in South Okanangan–West Kootenay

Grab your Lederhosen, Penticton Oktoberfest is tomorrow!

The 10th annual event is hosted at the Penticton Lakeside Resort and kicks off Penticton Beer Week

South Okanagan’s first swim meet of the season

The Penticton KISU Swim Club is hosting its first meet of the season this weekend

Charles wows them at iconic South Okanagan venue

Blues musician Michael Charles played to a sold-out crowd at the Dream Café Saturday

VIDEO: First all-female spacewalk team makes history

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir did work on International Space Station’s power grid

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

Natalie MacMaster makes Okanagan one of two B.C. stops

Queen of the Fiddle in town Oct. 24

Shooters compete in Summerland

Seven youth participants take aim

B.C. public safety minister says cannabis edibles not in stores til January

Mike Farnworth says he wants regional issues considered when it comes to licensing

Greta Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta, but doesn’t talk oilsands

Swedish teen was met with some oil and gas industry supporters who came in a truck convoy

RDOS cannabis production bylaw goes to public hearing

Hearing on micro cannabis production facilities will be held Nov. 21

Scheer denies spreading ‘misinformation’ in predicting unannounced Liberal taxes

Conservative leader had claimed that a potential NDP-Liberal coalition could lead to a hike in GST

Council asks to limit cruise ship visits to Victoria harbour

Mayor says motion is not meant to curtail current visits or limit local cruise industry expansion

Most Read