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Two new exhibits kick off Kootenay Gallery of Art’s 2023 season

New exhibits open in Castlegar March 10
Work by Kaslo ceramic artist Sarah Lawless will be featured at the Kootenay Gallery of Art. Photo: Submitted

Submitted by Kootenay Gallery of Art

The beginning of the 2023 exhibition season at the Kootenay Gallery of Art kicks off in March with two artists whose work complement each other in their relationship to the natural and indigenous landscape. Opening night for the exhibit is on March 10 from 5 to 7 p.m., and all events are by donation (free for members).

The first artist represented in the March exhibit is Dr. Shawn Brigman, an enrolled member of the Spokane Tribe of Indians and descendant of northern Plateau bands (Snʕáyckst - Sinixt, Qlispe - Kalispel, and Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc - Shuswap).

Dr. Brigman will present ʔaxw̌ mn ̓ — Brush the Water: The Renaissance of Plateau Canoe Culture on the Upper Columbia River (2012-2023). Through his art, Dr. Brigman aims to explore and transform the way Indigenous and settler people read Plateau architectural space by celebrating the physical revival of ancestral Plateau art and architectural heritage.

The centrepiece of the exhibit is a bark sturgeon-nose canoe, which is a unique combination of a traditional form and sculptural interpretation. Accompanying the exhibit will be a monograph, as well as original photography by the artist.

READ MORE: La Cafamore playing in Castlegar March 26

Sarah Lawless, a ceramic artist based in Kalso, B.C., and graduate of the Kootenay School of the Arts, will present a body of work entitled Smoked. As counterpoint to the prevalent unease experienced by many in modern society when thinking about smoke resulting from climate change-induced forest fires and its effect on human health, the artist explores ways in which smoke has positive connotations, both traditionally and historically.

Examples include using smoke for spiritual and ritualistic cleansing purposes, in incense burners, or as herbs and chemicals which are smoked to support relaxation and recreation — some of the ways in which smoke has been deliberately incorporated into many cultural practices.

“In these ways, smoke is one of the ties that bind all cultures of the world together, a signal of our common humanity,” says the artist. Her earthenware ceramic vessels explore this complex relationship and the cultural associations with smoke.

ʔax̌wmn — Brush the Water and Smoked opens in the gallery on March 10 and continues until April 14. Gallery hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. For more information contact the gallery at 250.365.3337 or email

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ʔaxw̌ mn ̓ — Brush the Water: The Renaissance of Plateau Canoe Culture on the Upper Columbia River (2012-2023) will open at the Kootenay Gallery of Art on March 10. Photo: Submitted