A Seat at the Table, an exhibition focused on food sovereignty, security and sustainability, is next on the menu at the Salmon Arm Art Gallery.
The work of 10 individual artists will be featured, as well as a large-scale installation created by local youth. The exhibition opens Friday, June 7 at 7 p.m. with refreshments and live music, and continues until August 3, 2019.
Food issues are front of mind in this era of overpopulation, declining resources and industrial-style management of organic systems. Visual artists tackle some of these issues through their media to highlight the hidden elements of each complex problem. 2D artists Sara Wiens, David Wilson and Sarah Hope feature work about agriculture and biodiversity. Digital artist Maria Thomas presents work about de-colonizing the diet. Fibre artist Anne Long and digital animator Ava Wutke present work about forgotten knowledge about the role of food plants. Basket-makers Patricia Purdaby, Delores Purdaby and Gerry Thomas offer 3D work about familial berry-picking and other food harvesting stories.
In a large-scale installation, several local youth have created a 3D story of the senescent stages of five traditional Secwepemc food plants, helping visitors understand the important role they play in the diet of local Indigenous people, and how to help those plants return and thrive in the region. Photographer Kristal Burgess presents a photo-story of the harvesting process.
During the exhibition, the gallery will host two feasts in partnership with the Shuswap Food Action Society and the Neskonlith First Nation. Food: Undressed is on July 8, with room for 40 to try locally-sourced vegan and vegetarian dishes, and hear about the benefits of moving toward a local plant-based diet.
Eating Our Culture is a Secwepemc feast on July 22, with room for 30 to taste some of the traditional food plants harvested in this region by Neskonlith harvesters and knowledge-keepers, and also featuring storytelling by Kenthen Thomas. Tickets for both feasts are $50 per person and available at the Art Gallery.
Read more: Facing up to food security
The Coffee Break and Artist Talk is on Thursday, July 18 from 2 to 4 p.m., and will feature a tea-tasting with Crystal Morris, who is continuing Mary Thomas’ botanical work on medicinal tea preparation.
This exhibition is supported by the Shuswap Community Foundation and Community Resilience Through Arts and Culture. Ongoing support for the Art Gallery’s mandate is provided by the City of Salmon Arm, BC Arts Council and the Province of British Columbia through Direct Access.
Gallery hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Family Saturdays runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and welcomes families with children ages 2 to 12 to drop in and be creative together. Admission to the gallery is by donation.