Dancing the Legacy Pole. Photo: Jason Shafto

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The most protected place in Canada: new exhibition opens at SFU's Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art

November 13, 2015
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By Kamilah Charters-Gabanek

A new exhibition at SFU’s Bill Reid Gallery called Gwaii Haanas: Land Sea People tells stories of the only place in Canada protected from mountaintop to seafloor. Referred to simply as Gwaii Haanas, this national park reserve and Haida heritage site exists as an unprecedented example of cooperative management, between the Haida Nation and the Government of Canada.

The exhibition, which opened Oct. 28 has been developed with the philosophy of “Gina Waadluxaan K’ud Ad Kwaagiidang” or everything is connected.

In the words of the exhibition curator, Kwiaahwah Jones, “the extraordinary energy of Gwaii Haanas feeds the creative spirit, inspiring humanity from time immemorial to create ceremony and art that express the profound connection to this remarkable place.”

Gwaii Haanas: Land Sea People also brings together Haida and Canadian artists who create expressions that reflect the timeless wonder of Gwaii Haanas, which means “Islands of Beauty”.  

The programs accompanying the exhibition include: featured artist talks, speaker series, weekly curatorial tours, panel discussions, film screenings and interactive activities. One of the upcoming programming highlights on Dec. 11 includes a screening of two films that are featured in The Nature of Things followed by a panel discussion with David Suzuki, Kilsli Kaajii Sding, Miles Richardson, Guujaaw and Peter Lantin. Program details will be available at billreidgallery.ca.

Gwaii Haanas: Land Sea People runs until Sunday, Mar. 27, 2016 at SFU’s Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art, 639 Hornby St. Effective Sept. 9: free admission is extended to all current SFU students.

This exhibition is presented by the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coast Art in the spirit of collaborative partnership with: Parks Canada, the Haida Nation, the Haida Gwaii Museum at Kay Llnagaay, HaiCo, Vancouver International Airport (YVR), Simon Fraser University and the City of Vancouver.