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.

Charlene 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


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