On September 16th the Vancouver Maritime Museum (VMM) launches Canoe Cultures :: Ho’-ku-melh – War Canoes and the Gifts They Carry Forward.

Curated by Indigenous artist Roxanne Charles, this multi-sensory exhibition focuses on the canoe as a symbol of strength and resilience.

Canoe Cultures :: Ho’-ku-melh features the work of Indigenous artists and canoe carvers alongside historical and contemporary images of Indigenous canoe racing. 

“The exhibition offers museum-goers an opportunity to learn from the rich history of the lands and waters on which the museum is situated,” says Curator Roxanne Charles. “The War Canoe offers so much and is tied deeply to community health, well-being, land stewardship and activism.”

Emerging and practicing artists that include T’uy’t’tanat, Cease Wyss, Manuel Axel Stain, Christi Lee Charles, Caleb Ellison-Dysart, Jessey Sue Tustin and Caitlyn Alec have created works that explore identity, place, culture, story and environmental concerns. Art mediums represented in the exhibition include canoe carving, painting, weaving, apparel, beadwork, sculpture, felting, glass etching, poetry, performance and video. 

Canoe Cultures :: Ho’ku-melh also explores the ongoing work of the Canoe Cultures program, an Indigenous-led initiative to teach young people to build war canoes. The Canoe Cultures program is led by seventh-generation skwxwu7mesh carver Mike Billy Sr.  

Canoe Cultures :: Ho’-ku-melh runs from September 16, 2021 to June 2022.

Last modified: September 3, 2021

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