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New art connects The Reconciliation Pole to Musqueam territory



A new large-scale bronze artwork co-created by xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) master carver Kayám̓ Richard Campbell and Haida master carver and hereditary chief James Hart, 7idansuu (Edenshaw) now anchors Hart’s The Reconciliation Pole (2015-17) to Musqueam territory.

The new art, titled θəʔit, was commissioned with support from the Audain Foundation and the University of British Columbia.

The 15-foot-wide disc depicts four salmon carved by Campbell. The artwork name θəʔit translates to truth in English, which acknowledges the continued need for Indigenous peoples’ truths to be uncovered and remembered.

musqueam,reconciliation,musqueam territory,Indigenous art,Audain Foundation,Indigenous People


Details from The Reconciliation Pole (2015-17) by Haida master carver and hereditary chief James Hart, 7idansuu (Edenshaw).

The Reconciliation Pole tells the story of the time before, during and after the residential school system and symbolizes the path toward reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Canada. It was installed at UBC’s Vancouver campus in 2017 at a large celebration that included ceremony held in accordance to Haida cultural protocols.

As part of his vision for The Reconciliation Pole, Hart invited Campbell to design and carve the artwork for the bronze disc. The new artwork acknowledges that the pole – which was carved and raised according to Haida tradition – stands on Musqueam ancestral territory.

Kayám̓ Richard Campbell is a Musqueam Elder, knowledge holder, archaeologist, master carver and residential school survivor. He was raised in Musqueam with traditional cultural teachings, and first learned to carve from his grandfather and uncles.

Carving professionally since 1979, Kayám̓ trained and collaborated primarily with Wallace Baker (Squamish) in his early career, eventually transitioning from traditional Musqueam design into a contemporary, interpretative style. He specializes in private commissions for largescale yellow cedar carvings, and is still frequently asked to carve items for many of Musqueam’s community and ceremonial events.

Since 1998, Campbell has been a field technician with Musqueam’s archaeology department. He now brings his cultural knowledge to the role of full-time senior archaeological field technician and works with partners throughout Musqueam territory to ensure Musqueam’s heritage is protected and respectfully managed. Kayám̓ is the proud father of six and grandfather of nine, all of whom were born and raised in Musqueam.

θəʔit is a special project to me for many reasons. It is important that Musqueam art and design is shown on Musqueam territory because it shows that we are here, and it shows who we are,” said Kayám̓ Richard Campbell. “By anchoring Jim’s Haida pole, θəʔit is setting a strong foundation to connect The Reconciliation Pole to the land it stands on for generations to come. It is emotionally meaningful for me to represent Musqueam in this way, and to honour all those who attended Indian residential schools.”

“Musqueam’s cultural protocols guide much of our daily lives, and is the foundation of who we are. Although we have maintained many of these teachings over thousands of years, many are lost forever because generations of Musqueam children were forcibly removed from our community to attend residential schools,” said yəχʷyaχʷələq, Musqueam Chief Wayne Sparrow. “Kayám̓ embodies the spirit of resiliency that has enabled Musqueam to not only continue our cultural practices, but strengthen them by bringing pride to his family and community.”

Richard Campbell and Max Chickite carving into high-density foam for casting in bronze, 2021. Photo: Jeremy Jaud

Richard Campbell and Max Chickite carving into high-density foam for casting in bronze, 2021. Photo: Jeremy Jaud.

To bring the new artwork to life, Campbell and Hart also collaborated with artist Max Chickite (Lekwiltok, Kwakwaka’wakw), with support from the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery and department of art history, visual art and theory (AVHA) at UBC.

Campbell drew the initial design in 2D, which was then enlarged and applied to an at-scale high density foam to carve his design into. The panels were then transported to the Burton Bronze Foundry on Salt Spring Island to begin the process of having it cast in bronze. The bronze panels were then taken back to UBC and installed in sections at the base of The Reconciliation Pole.

“The Bronze Disc pays respect to the Musqueam people, whose territory the pole stands on. It was wonderful to have a Musqueam artist, Richard Campbell, do the carving,” said Hart. “The Reconciliation Pole was carved in Haida tradition, but the meaning of the pole is for everyone.  People leave offerings at the base of the pole –  I hope that carries on. This helps with bringing attention to the whole story of the residential schools and hope for the future.”

“The Audain Foundation is grateful to Richard Campbell and James Hart for the opportunity to participate in reconciliation through art,” said Michael Audain, Chair of the Audain Foundation and Honorary Chair of FORWARD, the campaign for UBC.

While the new artwork completes the physical form of The Reconciliation Pole, it invites continued reflection on UBC’s relationship with Musqueam and what it means to work towards truth, reconciliation and decolonization as settlers on traditional Musqueam territory.

θəʔit highlights the importance of collaboration with Musqueam on new Indigenous public art and strengthens the university’s commitment to expand the presence of Musqueam art and culture on campus, as part of goal five of UBC’s Indigenous Strategic Plan (2020).

In addition to θəʔit, Musqueam art was unveiled in March of this year as a secondary logo for the UBC Thunderbirds, while in 2022, five new UBC student residence buildings were gifted hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ names.

The Reconciliation Pole is a powerful reminder of the legacy of the residential school system, and the deep work of reconciliation we must all undertake,” said Dr. Deborah Buszard, interim president and vice-chancellor of UBC. “The addition of Richard Campbell’s artwork is another important step in UBC’s ongoing relationship with Musqueam and an opportunity to highlight Musqueam artwork and culture as visible symbols of the traditional, ancestral and unceded lands upon which UBC’s Vancouver campus stands.

“We also gratefully acknowledge the longstanding commitment from the Audain Foundation towards this deeply meaningful installation.”



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Art therapy space gutted in 'terrible' Montreal heritage building fire – Montreal Gazette



Les Impatients, which uses art to help people with mental health problems, lost its downtown workshop space, offices and gallery.


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A fire that swept through a 19th-century former monastery in downtown Montreal last week gutted the fourth-floor space of Les Impatients and has left participants in shock.

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The blaze broke out late Thursday afternoon at the Monastére du Bon-Pasteur building and quickly became a five-alarm fire requiring the intervention of 150 firefighters. It took until Saturday to bring the fire under control.

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The mission of Les Impatients, established in 1992, is to help people with mental health problems through the vehicle of artistic expression. The Monastère du Bon-Pasteur building, a multi-purpose building on Sherbrooke St. E., had been home to Les Impatients since 1999.

“A lot of people are in shock,” Frédéric Palardy said of participants. “It’s almost like a home for them. Some come twice a week.”

They participate in art workshops and, as well, some are in music and dance workshops and a choir — all organized by Les Impatients.

“The main thing is that everyone is safe and no one was hurt,” Palardy said. “My thoughts are for our neighbours.”

The multi-purpose building housed a seniors’ residence and a housing co-operative, Heritage Montreal, a daycare centre, condos and a chapel that served as a concert hall.

“I know a lot of people in the residence and the co-op,” he said.

But the fire “is terrible for us, too.”

Les Impatients was on the top floor and among the building’s most severely affected by the blaze, said Palardy. Although it is not yet known for sure, the fire is believed to have started in the roof.

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The space the organization occupied included its downtown workshop space, offices, gallery space and a boutique. Also lost in the fire were the organization’s archives, its musical instruments and about 10 per cent of its artworks.

With about 30,000 works, Les Impatients has what is believed to be North America’s largest collection of outsider art, Palardy said. The term describes art that has a naïve quality and was often produced by people without formal training as artists.

Les Impatients had insurance, but it was primarily for theft, Palardy said.

“We have to start from scratch,” he said, adding that the organization is working on an appeal.

Meanwhile, Palardy said the organization has received countless emails and messages of support, including a text Sunday from deputy health minister Lionel Carmant and messages from representatives of the City of Montreal’s culture department.

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“A part of the soul of Les Impatients has gone up in smoke,” the organization said in a communiqué. “The emotion and the sadness are vivid but the priority for the organization is to continue its mission, through this chaos, to serve its community well.”

Two women work on paintings at a long table
Jocelyne Potvin (left) and Johanne Marino work on new pieces at Les Impatients on Jan. 29, 2009. Photo by JOHN KENNEY /The Gazette

An interim location for Les Impatients administrative offices has been found, Palardy said Sunday, but the activities of the downtown section, which were held in the former monastery building, are suspended for now. That location normally serves about 130 people five days and three evenings every week through its workshops and the organization is already at work to find a new location, Palardy said.

The former monastery location is the largest and most well-established of Les Impatients’ 25 locations elsewhere in Montreal and across Quebec which, together, serve more than 900 people. The other locations will continue to function, he said.

The Parle-moi d’Amour event, the biggest fundraiser of the year for Les Impatients, is set for September. Sadly, Palardy said, some of the works that were to be included were lost in the fire.

  1. Firefighters battle a blaze at the former Monastère du Bon-Pasteur in Montreal on May 26, 2023.

    Firefighters stamp out blaze in former monastery 42 hours after it ignited

  2. Admirer takes in the artwork up for auction at the 17th annual Parle-moi d'Amour exhibition and auction being held at the Chapelle historique du Bon-Pasteur on Shebrooke St. E. until March 18.

    Art and mind connect at ‘Parle-moi d’Amour’ auction

  3. Works by Les Impatients, a collective of artists who live with mental-health issues, are on display at the Wellington Centre in Verdun until May 3.

    Les Impatients’ exhibit shows the healing power of art


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Remembering a pioneer of local Indigenous art – Sault Ste. Marie News – SooToday



From the archives of the Sault Ste. Marie Public Library:

John Laford was a prominent Sault Ste. Marie artist, who was born in 1955 on an Indigenous reserve in the West Bay area of Manitoulin Island.

Leaving his home at the age of 15, he eventually made his way to Sault Ste. Marie by his early 20s.


He felt that he had been painting for as long as he could remember. He always enjoyed art, design and doodling after he finished school but with no formal training, he was largely self-taught.

Laford travelled throughout Europe, Canada and the United States, studying and learning from various artists along the way.

“I would only paint to get enough money to continue along the way,” he said.

By 1969, Laford began painting full-time. In 1977, at the age of 22, he had his work exhibited at the Centennial Room at the Sault Ste. Marie Public Library. He used his work to show his Ojibway legends and spiritual beliefs. His spiritual beliefs and Ojibway legends were central not just to his artistic career but to his personal life as well.

Laford went on to be a vocal critic of the Children’s Aid Society (CAS).

As a child, he played with a young boy who lived next to him. In a 1978 Sault Star article he explained, it was not until he was 12 that he realized that the boy was his older brother.

When he was one year old, his father died. His mother took his four sisters and two brothers and moved back to her reserve. She did not receive any financial assistance to care for her children and CAS took over.

“CAS saw my mother had too many kids and just took them away,” Laford said. “To me, it seemed they just wanted to scatter the family. I wasn’t adopted into a native family and the Children’s Aid paid for my care but no one ever bothered to tell me about my real parents and brothers and sisters.”

The foster family cared for four of them for a while which he described as very strict but fairly good people which he says helped him.

At the age of 15, he ran away from home with his older brother and travelled to Toronto in an attempt to find their mother.

“I quit school. Things weren’t too good on the reserve. I was drinking a lot,” he said.

When they arrived in Toronto it took them a week to find their mother. He spent three years with her getting to know her and the rest of his family.

“What I’m saying is my opinion, just my own ideas about the things I went through with Children’s Aid. I would have liked to have grown up with my mother, stayed with my real mother, but it didn’t happen that way. You could look at it (CAS) as destroying Indian families but they’re trying to do something good,” he said near the end of the Sault Star article.

Laford and two other Indigenous artists Cecil Youngfox and Peter Migwans formed a group called “Artists of the Northern Sun.” They hoped it would “form the nucleus of the Indian community in Sault Ste. Marie.” 

The three artists created the group around 1977 when Laford moved to Sault Ste. Marie. They planned on organizing events that would bring Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Canadians together. The three wanted to create a higher profile and take on a leadership role in the community.

By 1980 Laford had become a well-established artist in his own right whose work was included in the McMichael Canadian Art Collection. His work had been exhibited in Hamilton, Toronto, and Montreal and in 1980 his work was part of the Manitoulin Island artist’s show at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). In 1990 his work was once again featured in Sault Ste. Marie at the Art Gallery of Algoma.

Laford passed away in 2021 at the age of 67. He left a lasting mark and legacy in the

Indigenous community. He used his spirituality and culture’s legends to create works of art that are enjoyed and viewed by Canadians and the world alike.

Each week, the Sault Ste. Marie Public Library and its Archives provide SooToday readers with a glimpse of the city’s past.

Find out more of what the Public Library has to offer at and look for more “Remember This?” columns here.

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Indigenous art market comes to downtown Kitchener – CTV News Kitchener



A celebration of Indigenous culture is in downtown Kitchener for the weekend.

The “I Am Kitchener: Indigenous Art Market” has taken over the Gaukel block, with everything from clothes, to art, to beadwork.

The two-day event is a showcase for artists across Southwestern Ontario, but also a welcoming to the wider community.


“I think it’s really important for folks in the region to really come out and support events like this,” said co-organizers Maddie Resmer. “It’s a huge step forwards. What it means to connect with Indigenous community members in the region, in Kitchener, and for folks in the area to get to know some of the Indigenous artists that live here and are close to these territories, that’s how we celebrate ourselves, right?

“We highlight the positive and brilliant people who come from our culture.”

The Indigenous art market wraps up Sunday.

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