Lectures and Talks

Art Connects | Departures and Arrivals: A Conversation with Connie Watts

Thu Jan 14 2 PM

Vancouver Art Gallery

Connie Watts, Hetux, 2000, aluminum, baltic birch, stain, Courtesy of the Artist

A Tour and Conversation with Connie Watts
Thursday, January 14 |  2 PM


Stay home. Stay safe. Stay connected with our series of online gatherings, Art Connects!

Join us for a virtual tour and discussion with artist Connie Watts, broadcast live from the Vancouver International Airport (YVR)!

For this special Art Connects, we will take you inside YVR’s Pacific Passage, a public art installation within one of the airport’s arrival gates that features Watts’ large-scale sculpture Hetux (2000).

Hetux is Watts’ largest indoor sculptural work, and it is seen by guests and visitors to the unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəyəm (Musqueam) Nation at YVR. Named after Watt’s grandmother, this dramatic work represents the Thunderbird—known as the keeper of the city—and shares knowledge and stories through motifs that can be deciphered through close looking.

Following this behind-the-scenes tour, Watts will speak to her multi-disciplinary art practice and how it relates to ideas of welcoming. She will also discuss how she chooses to share the stories that are carried through her ancestors.

This event will be moderated by Melissa Lee, Director of Public Programs, and Stephanie Bokenfohr, Public Programs Coordinator. Special thanks to Kate Swaney of the Vancouver Airport Authority for helping to coordinate this program.

Questions? Submit them during the Zoom presentation using the Q&A function. You can also engage with your fellow attendees and panelists during the event using the Chat function.

New to Zoom? Learn how to register and attend a webinar here »


Connie Watts is the Associate Director, Aboriginal Programs at Emily Carr University of Art + Design (ECUAD). She is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, curator, educator and designer of Nuu-chah-nulth, Gitxsan and Kwakwaka’wakw ancestry. Born and raised in Campbell River, Connie has a Bachelor of Interior Design from the University of Manitoba and a BFA from ECUAD.

Her work has been shown nationally and internationally and is included in numerous corporate and civic collections. Some highlights include her graduation project, Vereinigung, exhibited for two years at the Museum of Anthropology (and now hangs permanently at the Harborview Medical Centre in Seattle, Washington); her subsequent thunderbird installation, Hetux, was purchased for permanent display at the Vancouver International Airport; and Strength from Within—a more recent installation she calls one of her “most meaningful”— was created to commemorate the children of the Alberni Indian Residential School for the Tseshaht Nation.

In more recent years, Watts completed the interior design for the Songhees Wellness Centre—a 48,000 square-foot contemporary commercial building that fuses art, architecture and design with the Songhees culture—and was the project manager for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Committee’s Aboriginal Art Program. As curator on that project, she was responsible for the procurement, commissioning, execution and installation of over 50 artworks in the 16 official Olympic venues—an accomplishment marked by the publication of O Siyam, a book celebrating the Aboriginal Olympic artworks. Watts also previously sat on the ECUAD Board of Governors for six years. She has also been affiliated with the British Columbia Arts Council, the First Peoples Cultural Council, the Vancouver Foundation and the Contemporary Art Gallery, among other institutions.


Generously supported by:

Jane Irwin and Ross Hill

Visionary Partner for Community Access:
Presented in partnership with: