British Columbia

Permanent installation at Victoria City Hall explores reconciliation through art

The work of eight different Indigenous artists now adorn the corridors and chambers of Victoria's City Hall.

Sacred features the work of eight different Indigenous artists.

The Sacred art installation that now decorates Victoria City Hall features work from eight different Indigenous artists. (City of Victoria/Twitter)

Many of the walls, corridors and chambers of Victoria's City Hall are now home to a multi-media art installation.

The installation, Sacred, was created as part of the city's ongoing push for reconciliation and showcases the work of eight different Indigenous artists.

"I think art has the capacity to really speak to truth, and touch people in their hearts," said Cree artist Eli Hirtle, one of the contributing artists and also the installation's assistant curator.

"We can read facts and figures, but to be really moved by seeing pieces of art is a really special thing."

The art pieces include a mural, poetry displays, a film, a massive outdoor light projection, silk screen prints and a photo gallery among other things.

Curator Rose Spahan, working with Hirtle, used the pieces of several Vancouver Island artists who are Coast Salish, but also the works of Métis, Navajo, Cree, Saanich and Mohawk artists who call the island home.

"Showcasing Indigenous arts in City Hall reminds people of whose land we are on, and acts as a reminder of the creative work, history and talent of First Nations peoples," said Spahan.

"The intent of these works is for the audience to experience the love, creativity, talent and ingenuity of the creations."

Hirtle — whose film piece is entitled Lekwungen: Place to Smoke Herring — used his contribution to highlight how different Indigenous peoples are fighting to revitalize their culture.

"I think that it's really really important to share, and celebrate, and learn from one another," he said.

Victoria's Indigenous Artist in Residence, Lindsay Delaronde, contributed a photo series that showcases the relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.

"What art does ... It really draws in different communities together and brings about dialogue and conversation," said Delaronde.

"Our artwork is evolving. It shows people who we are and where we've come from, so I think that's a big part of reconciliation."

With files from All Points West

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