Lectures and Talks

Great Ocean Dialogues

Sat Sep 28, 10 AM - 5 PM

Room 4East

Book Tickets

T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss
Shḵwen̓ Wéw̓ shḵem Nexw7iy ̓ay ̓ulh (To Explore, To Travel by Canoe), 2018 (detail)
lau hala, coconut hull fibre, seagrass, red cedar bark, wool, abalone shell, and mother of pearl buttons
Courtesy of the Artist, Photo: Louis Lim

Gathering | Session 1

The Great Ocean is defined as a relational space by many Indigenous Nations. In Sḵwx̱wú7mesh sníchim, “shḵwen̓: shéwalh tl’a swá7am-chet” means “to cross a big ocean, the roads of our Ancestors.” In hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓, the ocean is referred to as “sʔəƛ̓qəl̕əc,” or “outside waters.” In te reo Māori, “Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa” is “the Great Ocean of Kiwa,” and in yakʔitʔɨnɨsmu tiłhinkʔtitʸu, “łpasini” translates to “the one ocean.”

Orienting ourselves toward the open waters, Great Ocean Dialogues begins from a generative refusal of the idea that the Pacific is a vacant space peripheral to imperialistic power and flows of capital. This event positions the Great Ocean as both a return to and a reimagining of our ancestral and current connections across cultural and geographic contexts. How can this concept contribute to shaping Indigenous contemporary art transnationally and from Indigenous perspectives? How can we create and sustain networks of support across the ocean? Where do our practices, knowledges and struggles for sovereignty align, and where do they diverge? And how do we honour our differences when seeking connection? This two-day gathering will feature conversations between local First Nations artists and knowledge keepers alongside international and Vancouver-based guests in order to explore these questions.

Great Ocean Dialogues is an Indigenous-led gathering produced in partnership between the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective / Collectif des commissaires autochtones, SFU Galleries and the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Great Ocean Dialogues will take place over 3 sessions. Registration will open on August 28. Please see below for the schedule of events. A full list of participants is to be announced.

Session 1 Tickets: $15 for Members | $30 for General Admission. Registration Required.

All 3 Sessions + Transits and Returns Opening Reception: $15 for Members | $30 for General Admission. Registration Required.

A Note on Welcoming:
Please note that local First Nations will be granted free admission to these events. If cost is a barrier to you, please contact us by phone at 604-662-4700 or by email at customerservice@vanartgallery.bc.ca.

Find out more about Session 2 »        Find out more about Session 3 »


10–10:30 AM: Refreshments

10:30–11 AM: Welcome and Opening Remarks
with Chief Bill Williams of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh [Squamish] Nation and Tarah Hogue, Senior Curatorial Fellow, Indigenous Art.

11 AM–12:30 PM: Panel Discussion
Sovereign Practices: Host Nation Panel
Panelists: Ocean Hyland, Meagan Innes, Debra Sparrow. Moderated by Salia Joseph.

Three artists and cultural workers from the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm [Musqueam], Sḵwx̱wú7mesh [Squamish] and səl̓ilwətaɁɬ [Tsleil-Waututh] Nations reflect on how their practices are embedded within community, cultural knowledge, territory and language.

1:30–2:30 PM: Artists in Dialogue | Focus: Home 
with Edith Amituanai ​and Marianne Nicolson
Moderated by Tarah Hogue

2:30–3:30 PM: Artists in Dialogue | Focus: Material
with Elisa Jane Carmichael ​and Natalie Ball
Moderated by Lori Beavis

These focused dialogues between artists featured in the exhibition Transits and Returns are an opportunity for in-depth exploration of a shared concern across different media and cultural contexts.

3:45–4:30 PM: Curators’ Tour: Transits and Returns

Curators Sarah Biscarra Dilley, Freja Carmichael, Tarah Hogue and Lana Lopesi will tour the exhibition Transits and Returns and expand on its four themes of territory, movement, kinship and representation.


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