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Indigenous artists share creative arts, stories in New West

The Arts Council of New Westminster continues its Expressions of Reclamation series at Queen's Park next weekend.
Spiritual Warriors
The Spiritual Warriors bring their blend of Indigenous chants and contemporary roots, rock and reggae to the Queen's Park bandshell as part of the Expressions of Reclamation series June 26.

Indigenous artists are inviting New Westminster residents to join them in Queen’s Park next weekend for learning, entertainment and inspiration.

The Arts Council of New Westminster is presenting Expressions of Reclamation on Saturday, June 25 and Sunday, June 26.

Brought together by the arts council's Indigenous curator, S^yowah, Expressions of Reclamation is a series of free artist showcase events that provide a “safe and welcoming space for the community to learn about Indigenous practices and creative expressions,” as the arts council explains.

Each presentation includes a short Q&A session.

All the presentations are free, but advance registration is required.

Here’s what’s coming up:

Dance performance and live interview with Olivia C. Davies

Saturday, June 25, 11 a.m.: at the Queen’s Park bandshell

An artist bio notes that Olivia C. Davies creates and collaborates across multiple platforms, including choreography, curation, conversation, film and sound design, to share stories that open new ways to experience the world.

“Davies' body of work spans three decades, with creations and collaborations that explore the emotional and political relationships between people and places, often investigating the body’s dynamic ability to transmit narrative, blood memory and a neo-traditional Indigenous perspective,” it says.

She honours her mixed-blood ancestry as an Algonquin Anishinaabe-Kwe with French-Canadian, Finnish and Welsh heritage.


Talk on the Kwakwa̲ka̲'wakw totem poles, with Cheryl Wadhams

Saturday, June 25, 1 p.m.

Meet at Centennial Lodge for this talk about the Kwakwa̲ka̲'wakw totem poles, including the Queen’s Park totem pole, carved by Cheryl Wadhams’ uncle, Lloyd Wadhams.

An artist bio notes that Cheryl (Kakaso’las) Wadhams is of the Maʼa̱mtagila Tribe, with strong family ties to the ʼNa̱mǥis of Alert Bay (‘Yalis) and Mama̱liliḵa̱la Tribe of Village Island (ʼMimkwamlis), three of 19 tribes on the Mid-Northwest Coast of B.C., all of which are located in the traditional territory known as the Kwakwaka’wakw Nation.

Growing up, Cheryl watched her Uncle Lloyd carve totem poles, masks, bowls and jewelry in his home-based studio in Coquitlam. As a female native wood carver, Wadhams carved under the guidance of her mentors and late uncles, Lloyd Wadhams, Don Dawson and Dennis Matilpi.

Wadhams specializes in miniature feast bowls, rattles and masks depicted in animal, spiritual and human forms that are representative of the Kwakwaka’wakw style. She is also working with other mediums, such as textiles and cedar bark, making traditional regalia such as button blankets, aprons and cedar bark headdresses.


Live music with The Spiritual Warriors 

Sunday, June 26, 2 p.m. at the Queen's Park bandshell

An internationally acclaimed music group, The Spiritual Warriors create music inspired by the land and life in the coast mountains of the Lil’wat Nation — with a unique blend of Indigenous chants and contemporary roots, rock and reggae.

The band perform most of their songs in Ucwalmícwts, with bilingual vocals in English, and are passionate about preserving and promoting their language and culture.

The Spiritual Warriors, formerly known as Kalan Wi, are led by father and daughter, Leroy (vocals, guitar) and Daisy Joe (vocals) and accompanied by Richard Doucet on djembe. The backbone is laid down by Mike Roe (bass), who is of Jamaican heritage.

Their debut album, Ancestors, was released in 2019 and received four nominations at the Native American Music Awards in New York, where it won for Best World Recording.

Follow Julie MacLellan on Twitter @juliemaclellan.
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