North Van Arts is proud to present Stalkaya – Ḵ’elhmáy̓/X̱ápay̓ay. The exhibition title refers to the traditional name of the Dakota Bear Forest (Stalkaya) followed by the two words for yellow and red cedar. Stalkaya includes ‘SANCTUARY’, a 360° immersive film experience that takes you to the heart of a forest that has existed since the last Ice Age. Alongside this filmic adventure are artwork by Tsawaysia Spukwus and Sesemiya- Tracy Williams. This collection of work, curated by Cease Wyss, explores Skwxwu7mesh (Squamish) people’s relationship to cedar and to the ancient forests that house these sacred trees. Sunshine Coast’s Mark Benson’s large-scale photographs are also included in the show.
‘SANCTUARY: The Dakota Bear Ancient Forest Experience’ (by Damien Gillis, Cease Wyss, and Olivier Leroux) is an ecological adventure—a feast for the senses, and an implicit call to action. This 360° projection takes you deep into an ancient forest that has long been threatened by clearcut logging. The province recently committed to protect this area, working with the Skwxwú7mesh Nation, but has yet to formalize the scope and nature of these protections. Inside a geodesic dome, built within CityScape Community ArtSpace, viewers experience a 10-minute mix of music and nature sounds, with a wraparound view of an ancient forest. Hosted by Cease Wyss, this is a transporting experience: from the inside of hollow trunks, where black bears make their winter dens, to the precipice of a waterfall and other magical places, it offers the thrill of true immersion.
The SANCTUARY experience is also playing at the Museum of Anthropology at UBC every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 AM-4PM, until September 26. Learn more at moa.ubc.ca.
As part of this exhibition, artist, ethnobotanist and educator T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss led the public on a guided forest walk, on August 26. More information here
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