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New series, emhám, shares Indigenous art and knowledge

Arts Whistler and Ts’zil Learning Centre partner to run programming every Thursday through September 
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The Spiritual Warriors are kicking off the new emhám series on Thursday, Sept. 1 at Lakeside Park.

Arts Whistler and the Lil’wat Nation’s Ts’zil Learning Centre are kicking off September with a new series focused on Indigenous art and knowledge.

Running every Thursday through the month, emhám begins with award-winning reggae-rockers The Spiritual Warriors playing a free show on Sept. 1 at Lakeside Park at 6 p.m. 

“For us, it’s really exciting when we can do something new and step outside of what we do year over year,” says Imogen Osborne, programming director with Arts Whistler. 

The series came together quickly after Arts Whistler secured a BC Arts Council grant. 

“We partnered with Ts’zil Learning Centre in Mount Currie and we’ve written this grant to present a series that celebrates Indigenous art, knowledge, knowledge sharing, and storytelling in the community,” Osborne says.

Events and performances include: 

The Nt’ákmen Calendar with Holly Bikadi/ Gathering Medicine & Walking With Plants with Leigh Joseph on Sept. 8. It will be based on Mount Currie resident Holly Bikadi’s book, The Ntákmen Calendar, which explores harvesting food and medicine plants. That will be followed by a film called Walking With Plants, co-directed by Squamish Nation ethnobotanist, researcher, and entrepreneur, Leigh Joseph (whose ancestral name is Styawat). 

A Better Understanding of the Seven Sacred Teachings on Sept. 15. 

James Darin Corbiere, an Anishinaabe retired teacher and former police officer, explores the teachings of Love, Honesty, Courage, Truth, Humility, Respect and Wisdom from their language of origin: Aanishinaabemowin.

Xaayda (Haida) and Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish) Stories and Songs with Kung Jaadee on Sept. 22. 

Jaadee, a professional storyteller, author and educator, shares stories of famous Haida and Squamish legends. She will also bring her drum, sing Haida songs and teach a few basic words in Xaad Kil, the Haida language. 

An Evening with Russell Wallace and Tillicum Shantie on Sept. 29. 

Lil’wat Nation composer, producer, and traditional singer, Russell Wallace, will perform jazz arrangements of both original and St’át’imc songs with guitarist Tony Wilson. 

Ts’zil, meanwhile, contributed ideas for the series in conversations with Arts Whistler before they created the lineup, says Helena Edmonds (whose traditional name is Kík7ak).

“[I’m looking forward to] all of it,” she says with a laugh. “We have our nations there [in the lineup] and to go see other nations and have a connection with our culture, it gives it a little bit more meaning.” 

But, in particular, A Better Understanding of the Seven Sacred Teachings has already inspired her.

“With Seven Sacred Teachings we said, ‘We should get this transcribed in our language,’ and we’re getting that done with the Lil’wat language authority,” she adds.

The series comes on the heels of other shows that focused on local Indigenous artists, including Yvonne Wallace’s one-woman show, útszan, which was partly in the Lil’wat language, Ucwalmicwts, and Lil’wat visual artist Levi Nelson’s solo exhibit, After the Blast, both in 2019. 

Showcasing Indigenous talent is an important part of Arts Whistler’s programming, Osborne says. 

“We love to work with Lil’wat Nation and Squamish Nation and the cultural centre here in Whistler,” she says. “It’s always going to be part of our planning going forward to have Indigenous programming throughout the year.”

For more information on each of the shows—and tickets—visit artswhistler.com/emham.

Teeny Tiny returns—in person

Whistler’s smallest art show returns on Sept. 1.

The Teeny Tiny Show-Size Does Matter, is back in The Gallery at the Maury Young Arts Centre with more than 200 small canvases from 80 Sea to Sky artists. 

While the show itself is always a draw, Osborne says Arts Whistler is particularly excited to be able to gather in person again for The Art Party on Sept. 16. 

“It just makes you happy,” she says of the three-inch-by-three-inch canvases. “It’s really nice to see everyone back in the building, having fun, bringing their friends to see the artwork on the walls.”

Submissions ranged from 3D to mixed media and more traditional paintings, along with established artists and a healthy dose of newbies.

“I think the small format is really accessible,” Osborne says. “We get a lot of people trying out submitting to an exhibit for the first time. Then we have really known artists who come back year after year.”

The show runs until Oct. 29. For more, visit artswhistler.com/teenytiny