A screengrab from My Teacher the Raven: James Hart & Bill Reid, a film by Rajvir Chana, Adrienne Locher-Lo, and Stephen Therriault, with Jay Tseng.

learning

Bill Reid Gallery features SFU students’ films

November 06, 2020
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By Clare Slipiec

Five films produced by students in SFU’s School of Interactive Arts & Technology’s Moving Images (IAT 344) class are currently being showcased at the Bill Reid Gallery of Northwest Coastal Art. The films are featured as part of the exhibition To Speak with a Golden Voice, which honours the life of Haida artist Bill Reid (1920-1998).

The partnership with the Bill Reid Gallery began through the connections of SIAT professor Kate Hennessy and gallery curator Aynur Kadir, a post-doctoral researcher at SFU and a teaching assistant for IAT 344. Hennessy’s research explores the role of digital technology in documenting and safeguarding cultural heritage.

A screengrab from Being an Artist: Don Yeomans remembers Bill Reid, a film by Sahar Feyzallahzadeh, Jianan Lin, Jianwei Chen, and Stephenson C A Ngoda.

“Every semester with IAT 344, we get different course partners,” says instructor Susan Clements-Vivian. . “This partnership was a particularly exciting one, both because of the topic and because Aynur had a double role of working in the gallery.”

As part of the partnership, students were tasked with creating short films featuring individuals who knew and were influenced by Bill Reid, including some of his students, friends and fellow artists. This was an opportunity for students to not only learn about the technical aspects of creating a film, but also the importance of crafting a narrative and the power of storytelling.

A screengrab from Gwaai Edenshaw, a film by Jesika Kula, Kateri Danay, and Cassey Peng.

Going into the project, many of the students had never worked with Indigenous communities before and had limited knowledge of Bill Reid and his influence.

“They learned so much about Bill and the significance of his work,” says Kadir. “They were also so excited about their project having a real impact and being in the exhibition.”

Not only was the gallery exceptionally supportive of the students, but the individuals interviewed  in the film put their full trust in the students to help share their stories. This feeling of commitment was reciprocated by the students who, according to Clements-Vivian and Kadir, felt a huge sense of responsibility in sharing the stories.

A screengrab from George Rammell: The Spirit of Haida Gwaii and Beyond, a film by Christy Chan, Sherry Wang, JinTao Wang, and Jayton Zang.

“The students really responded to that trust,” says Clements-Vivian. “It was a very special experience.”

To Speak with a Golden Voice features rarely seen treasures by Reid, works from artists inspired and impacted by Reid’s immense artistic influence, and the students’ films. The exhibition, honouring Reid’s life (1920-1998) and celebrating his 100th birthday, is guest curated by Gwaii Edenshaw and will run until April 11, 2021.

A screengrab from Into the Mind: Bill Reid to Rick Adkins, a film by Carolyn Yip, Cora Fu, Derian Chow, and Michael Su.

The student films featured at the Bill Reid Gallery:

My Teacher the Raven: James Hart & Bill Reid
Film by Rajvir Chana, Adrienne Locher-Lo, and Stephen Therriault, with Jay Tseng
SFU School of Interactive Arts and Technology, 2019

Gwaai Edenshaw
Film by Jesika Kula, Kateri Danay, and Cassey Peng
SFU School of Interactive Arts and Technology, 2019

George Rammell: The Spirit of Haida Gwaii and Beyond
Film by Christy Chan, Sherry Wang, JinTao Wang, and Jayton Zang
SFU School of Interactive Arts and Technology, 2019

Into the Mind: Bill Reid to Rick Adkins
Film by Carolyn Yip, Cora Fu, Derian Chow, and Michael Su
SFU School of Interactive Arts and Technology, 2019

Being an Artist: Don Yeomans remembers Bill Reid
Film by Sahar Feyzallahzadeh, Jianan Lin, Jianwei Chen, and Stephenson C A Ngoda
SFU School of Interactive Arts and Technology, 2019