Experiential Panel Discussion on Cultural Appropriation
Hjalmer WenstobCarver, Artist
Tlehpik Hjalmer Wenstob was raised on Tzartus island in Barkley Sound, in Huu-ay-aht First Nation’s territory; it was there that his understanding and desire to pursue both his traditional Nuu-chah-nulth and contemporary art practices began. Hjalmer Wenstob is an interdisciplinary artist who specializes in sculpture and carving. He is Nuu-chah-nulth from the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation, as well as Norwegian and English. Hjalmer speaks of three dialects of his work: contemporary, traditional, and community-based. His art practice ranges from ceremonial masks for his community, to community collaborative carving events, to contemporary works such as oil barrel totem poles and Styrofoam bentwood boxes. Hjalmer completed both an undergraduate and master’s degree at the University of Victoria, exploring the relationships between culture and art, and the balance between traditional and contemporary. His work, at times highly political, uses humour and irony to pose difficult questions of respect, reconciliation and environmental issues. Hjalmer lives with his family in his Tla-o-qui-aht community of Ty-Histanis, and they own and operate Cedar House Gallery in Ucluelet, BC. In 2018, Hjalmer was awarded the national William and Meredith Saunderson Prize for Emerging Artists in Canada, from the Hnatyshyn Foundation in Ottawa, Ontario.
Kelly Foxcroft-PoirierHost, Board Member
From the Tseshaht First Nation, Kelly has been working in the field of communications, facilitation, graphic design and leadership/organizational development since 2005. With her thirteen+ years of working on the ground in community and at various political tables and non-profit organizations through White Raven Consulting, Kelly continues to hold a big vision to actively bridge the gaps between communities, cultures, and generations in hopes to bring out our best work towards belonging and connected communities for all. Kelly brings a lens of Nuu-chah-nulth worldview grounded in interconnection, spirit, and discipline to nurture forward innovation that honours complexity in ways that foster healthy human networks and ‘un-settle’ orthodoxy and institutional approaches. Kelly has been a Board Member since 2018.
Lou-ann NeelCarver, Artist
Lou-ann Ika’wega Neel is from the Kwagiulth, ‘Namgis, Mamalillikulla, Mumtagila, Kwickwasutaineuk and Da’naxda’xw tribes of the Kwakwala-speaking people (also called Kwakwaka’wakw). The granddaughter of Ellen Kakasolas Neel, Lou-ann has been studying and learning the practice of wood carving with a view to continuing her family’s tradition in the practice of carving. Lou-ann has been a practicing visual artist for over 35 years, creating works in textiles, jewelry, and more recently, digital design.
In this workshop-style learning space, we will explore the topic of Cultural Appropriation. Indigenous artist-practitioners Lou-ann Neel and Hjalmer Wenstob will begin the session by drawing on their own experiences and sharing their wisdom. Participants will be given the opportunity to share reflections and for small group discussion where we can more deeply integrate our learnings in a peer supported environment. Come with an open mind and open heart as we provide space to think about our views on cultural appropriation and consider helpful practices for moving forward together. Co-hosted by Kelly Foxcroft-Poirier & Hélène Descoteaux.
The event recording can be viewed here.