Original, indigenous art at Native art show

Seventh annual First Nations, Inuit and Metís Art Show.

Tobias Tomlinson stands proud behind his work on display at last year’s show.

The Mary Winspear Centre will be one busy place for the next little while as many different First Nations groups from across Canada will gather in one place for the annual First Nations, Inuit and Metís Art Show.

The show will be the seventh annual originating in Tulista Park but the third annual held at Mary Winspear. Executive Director of the centre, Brad Edgett who has spent 10 years curating the First Nations gallery in Victoria said that with this background, it was important to give people the opportunity to come out and show their work. A collective was formed, which is made up of himself and other First Nations group representatives.

There will be 60 different artists attending from across Canada, representing different nations.

“It’s the longest running consecutive First Nations show in Canada… It brings together a lot of diversity from across the country,” Edgett said.

The show, which runs from Aug. 7 to Sept. 3, seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. sees between 8,000 and 9,000visitors who stop by throughout the month. The opening ceremonies will commence on Aug. 7 at 5 p.m. in the theatre with acts that are part of First Nation’s traditions.

“Tradition plays a huge role in the opening of an event like this and being that we’re on traditional Coast Salish territory, it’s very important to follow protocol, protocol is a huge thing in the First Nations community,” he said.

The art will be an eclectic mix of work from different nations. The art  work will include everything from masks, carvings and jewellery to pottery, weaving and painting. There will be both three-dimensional art work, like sculptures as well as functional pieces and two-dimensional work like print, paintings and photography.

“It gives them (artists) an opportunity and an avenue to show their work,” said Edgett.

There will also be a sale of art with a wide range of prices for the public to look at and possibly purchase, with the majority of the proceeds going to the individual artists. The other 15 per cent of the purchase price is going back to the collective to help put on the show next year.

Edgett says it’s a chance to purchase work from across the country that is authentic, original and indigenous.

“You’re not going to see this kind of eclectic mix anywhere else.”