In the spring of this year 21 artists who live and work in the Columbia Basin were invited to take part in a weekend of learning at beautiful Hidden Creek in the Salmo River Watershed. The intention was to provide outdoor, interactive experiences to get them “thinking like a watershed” and the possibility of a future with salmon returning to our rivers.
They learned how important the salmon were spiritually, culturally, socially and economically to many Columbia Basin First Nations Peoples before the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam in the 1940s resulted in the complete loss of salmon stocks in the Canadian Columbia Basin.
The exhibition, Let them Run: The Salmon Century, now showing at the Kootenay Gallery, is the result of combining a passion for the environmental stewardship of an important river system with the recognition that art has the power to inspire, inform and ultimately facilitate change.
The participating artists have interpreted their experience during the weekend of learning in many forms, from audio and photography to painting and sculpture. As Gerry Nellestijn, the coordinator of the artist weekend and the founding member of the Salmo Watershed Streamkeepers Society states, “through this exhibition we will be able to learn their (the salmon) ways and their influence on Place and People and, perhaps, move toward inspiring creative insights to contribute to their reintroduction.”
This exhibition will run until November 8 at the Kootenay Gallery which is located across from the Castlegar Airport, adjacent to the Doukhobor Discovery Centre on Heritage Way, and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday.