Charlene Vickers, Speaking with Hands and Territories. Installation view, SFU Gallery, 2018. Photo Blaine Campbell. 

Charlene Vickers: Speaking with Hands and Territories

September 4 - December 6, 2018
SFU Gallery

Charlene Vickers' performative gestures speak to an embodied connection to ancestral lands and the agentive capacity of materials to carry a narrative of social and cultural significance. A Vancouver-based Anishinaabe artist, Vickers' site-specific project engages her reflection on her long-term residence on Coast Salish territory and the responsibility this relation incurs.

Speaking with Hands and Territories builds on a response to the socio-political and environmental urgency around the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion, drawing on a dialogue with the opposition on Burnaby Mountain. Earth from the protest site on Burnaby Mountain will be brought to the gallery (also on Burnaby Mountain) and the public is encouraged to consider their own relationship to this land - the unceded territory of the Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam and Squamish peoples - by forming the earth into a fist-sized sphere that will become part of a hearth-like structure. Often the centre of a home, the hearth is a material and symbolic space of gathering that, in this case, forms a connection to the sacred fire at Kwekwecnewtxw (the "Watch House" at the protest site), creating room for active consideration on how we collectively make a future for Indigenous lands, waterways and peoples.

Vickers' installation will be continuously evolving with the shared participatory efforts from the public. This project follows SFU Gallery's recent strategy to operate as a research centre for art and ideas by activating the gallery as a site for collective acknowledgment and responsibility towards the land.

Vickers was a recipient of the 2018 VIVA Award. Recent group exhibitions include Oakville Galleries, Art Museum at the University of Toronto, and MoCNA, Santa Fe, New Mexico. She holds a BFA from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, and a BA in Critical Studies of the Arts and MFA from Simon Fraser University.

Curated by Karina Irvine

Related Event

Speaking with Charlene Vickers and Roxanne Charles on Territories 
Saturday, October 27, 1PM
SFU Gallery


Research, Collections, Publications, Projects, Talks

2017 - 2019
SFU Gallery

Until 2019, SFU Gallery is focusing on research, collections, publications, projects, and talks. Rather than presenting continuous exhibitions, it will operate as a research centre for art and ideas that connect to SFU Galleries' many activities.

In all of SFU Galleries' programming - from exhibitions to the stewardship of the SFU Art Collection - research into art practices, attendant histories, philosophies and emergent discourses yield a unique space of possibility within culture and within our pedagogical context.

Watch for changing installations from the SFU Art Collection around SFU's various campuses; our growing publication activities that encourage critical writing and projects parallel to exhibitions and other events; focused talks on works from the collection from diverse perspectives at SFU Gallery; and projects that propose to use the SFU Gallery space differently.

In all of these activities, SFU Gallery will be asking: How can we create the conditions of emergence? How do we support risky thinking and new voices within an art context that connect deeply to a shared future?


For more information on our Research, Collections, Publications, Projects, Talks at SFU Gallery, click the links below.

Indigenous Film and Resurgence

Why Art Matters: Art, SFU and Aboriginal Reconciliation with Dana Claxton, Richard William Hill and John O'Brian

Unpacking Art: Lunchtime Talks on Works in the SFU Art Collection

Online Collection