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  1. Lisa Jackson, Savage (video), 2009.
    Production-still photo: Kris Krüg


Art and Canada's Indian Residential Schools

September 6-December 1, 2013




OPENING: September 7, 1-2 pm, Performance of Joane Cardinal-Schubert’s The Lesson and 2-4 pm, Opening remarks and reception
ARTIST TALKS: September 8, 1:30 pm with Jamasie Pitseolak and Tania Willard
PERFORMANCE: September 26, 12:30 pm by Peter Morin
ARTIST TALK: October 10, 12:30 pm with Beau Dick
ARTIST TALK: October 31, 12:30 pm with Cathy Busby
SYMPOSIUM: November 15 Traumatic Histories, Artistic Practice, and Working from the Margins Watch the MORNING SESSION and AFTERNOON SESSION
BELKIN 101: A Weekly Reading Group
CONCERT: Friday, November 29, 2 pm with UBC Contemporary Players
PERFORMANCE: Sunday, December 1, 12:30 pm by Peter Morin

Witnesses: Art and Canada’s Indian Residential Schools presents artists who have produced work arising from the history of Indian Residential Schools in Canada and coincides with, but is independent from, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada National Event that will take place in Vancouver from September 18 to 21, 2013. The exhibition features artists from British Columbia and across Canada, and is cross-generational to include those who directly experienced Indian Residential Schools as well as those who are witnesses to its ongoing impact. There is a sense in which we all must be witnesses. Witnesses aims to contribute to the education of the public about Indian Residential Schools, to illustrate how this issue has become embedded in Canadian art history and to demonstrate the strong social and cultural capacity of art. Combined, the works in the exhibition represent a convergence of various voices addressing this often difficult aspect of Canada’s colonial history.

The exhibition includes iconic historical works by artists such as Joane Cardinal-Schubert, Alex Janvier and Norval Morrisseau, as well as more recent work and special commissions by some of Canada’s most respected contemporary artists. Works have been sourced from across Canada and borrowed from artists, collectors and museums. Other artists include Gerry Ambers, Carl Beam, Rebecca Belmore, Chris Bose, Cathy Busby, Beau Dick, Faye HeavyShield, Lisa Jackson, Gina Laing, Peter Morin, Jamasie Pitseolak, Skeena Reece, Sandra Semchuk and James Nicholas, Henry Speck, Adrian Stimson, Tania Willard and Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun. Public and educational programming will include guided tours, lectures, artist talks, performances and online programs.

Witnesses is curated by Geoffrey Carr, Dana Claxton, Tarah Hogue, Shelly Rosenblum, Charlotte Townsend-Gault, Keith Wallace and Scott Watson. This project is made possible with the generous support of the Audain Foundation, the Vancouver Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, The Leon and Thea Koerner Foundation, the British Columbia Arts Council and our Belkin Curator’s Forum members. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the UBC Hampton Fund.

Health Supports

Working with Residential School history can be very stressful. If you encounter distress, resources are available. Please click here to learn more or call 1-866-925-4419 to access the Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line.


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