Vancouver artist Holly Schmidt is undertaking Vegetal Encounters, a three-year artist residency with the UBC Outdoor Art Program and the Belkin. Through this residency, Schmidt is creatively engaging with plant life as a significant source of life, connection and learning. The artist suggests that learning with plant life involves slowing down and using all of the senses to engage deeply and with respect for the traditional knowledge of the Musqueam Nation.
Schmidt is expanding the reach of Vegetal Encounters to include Accretion (2017-), a different but overlapping community-engagement project that is already underway. Schmidt writes, “The first phase of Accretion examined the concept of precarity through a particular type of granite used in the construction of early colonial buildings at the turn of the last century and in recent developments in Vancouver. Through photography, video and writing, I documented the journey of a 14.7-ton slab of granite from its extraction on Hardy Island (the traditional territories of the Shishalh and Sliammon Nations) and transportation to the Vancouver Mainland. Currently this block of granite sits among many stones that await processing into building materials for commercial and residential developments. The second phase of Accretion proposes to divert this stone from the market and develop the relationships, site and situation to collectively consider alternative futures.”
On March 19, 2020, the granite was moved by crane to a site at UBC behind the Belkin, where Robert Murray’s Cumbria (1966-67) used to sit. This final phase of Accretion will involve consultation and gatherings with a diverse group of project contributors to determine the future of the granite. Will it remain at UBC? Will it be carved, broken up, shared among many, buried or returned to the place of its origin? Together a resolution for the next steps in this stone’s journey will be made.
This project, along with Vegetal Encounters will be documented through writing, photography and video to be included on a project-specific website.
It all started with a cashew. A simple task to spark creativity and ignite recollection. Belkin Art Gallery artist in residence Holly Schmidt started her workshop with a third year biology course on Mycology with a simple request. Inspired by a New Yorker magazine article, she asked them to draw her a cashew and put it away.[more]