Beginning with the Seventies
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  1. Heather Kai Smith, Group Facing House, 2018. Courtesy of the artist.

Beginning with the Seventies

Collective Acts

September 4-December 2, 2018

Opening reception: Thursday, September 6, 6-9 pm

Generating art production, study and exchange between and among multiple generations of artists, Collective Acts presents new work by Dana Claxton, Jeneen Frei Njootli and the ReMatriate Collective, Christine D’Onofrio and Heather Kai Smith. With a focus on labour and the spirit of intergenerational knowledge exchange, workshops and social events will explore self-organization, as they intervene in the site of the Gallery. Resulting from research into the archive of the Service, Office and Retail Workers’ Union of Canada (SORWUC), Dana Claxton reinterprets a photograph from the Union’s 1978 protest action against the Muckamuck Restaurant in collaboration with members of ReMatriate Collective, and creates a workspace for the production of ribbon skirts in collaboration with Jeneen Frei Njootli. Sourced from photographic archives, Heather Kai Smith’s drawings cite women’s gatherings and protests, the collaborative production of art, as well as consciousness-raising and collective organizing. Using multiple scales and formats, the drawings schematize the spirit of self-organization that persists into the present day. Christine D’Onofrio presents an interactive online databasel – – installed in the Gallery in which contributors nominate their influencers with visual connections and overlapping stories, keywords and links, in a tangled rhizomatic archive. The history of the Salish Weavers Guild, a collective most active in the 1970s, is examined in a project by Jordan Wilson, and beyond the Gallery walls, Frei Njootli’s sound piece permeates the vicinity while ReMatriate Collective contributes an exterior banner festooning the Belkin’s south façade.

Beginning with the Seventies: Collective Acts is curated by Lorna Brown and is the third of four exhibitions based upon the Belkin Art Gallery’s research project investigating the 1970s, an era when social movements of all kinds – feminism, environmentalism, LGBTQ rights, Indigenous rights, access to health services and housing – began to coalesce into models of self-organization that overlapped with the production of art and culture. Noting the resurgence of art practice involved with social activism and an increasing interest in the 1970s from younger producers, the Belkin has connected with diverse archives and activist networks to bring forward these histories, to commission new works of art and writing and to provide a space for discussion and debate.

The Beginning with the Seventies project is made possible with the generous support of the Vancouver Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, the British Columbia Arts Council, our Belkin Curator’s Forum members and the Department of Canadian Heritage Young Canada Works Program.

For further information please contact: Jana Tyner at,
tel: (604) 822-1389, or fax: (604) 822-6689