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Witness Blanket art exhibit for Williams Lake delayed due to wildfires

Art exhibit was stuck in Fort Smith due to wildfires and so its Cariboo debut is pushed back
The Witness Blanket residential schools art exhibit will now be coming to Thompson Rivers University in Williams Lake in late October or early November. (

The Witness Blanket art exhibit scheduled to be in Williams Lake at Thompson Rivers University (TRU) for Orange Shirt Day has been delayed.

The exhibit was trapped in Fort Smith due to wildfires in that area this summer, and with residents only recently being allowed back in, shipping of the exhibit to Williams Lake is not expected until after Orange Shirt Day events Sept. 30.

Instead the exhibit is now expected to be in Williams Lake for its debut in late October or early November.

The art installation has been nationally recognized.

“Developed by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and Indigenous artist Carey Newman, the Witness Blanket is a powerful and thought-provoking work of art that recognizes the dark and difficult legacy of residential schools in our country,” noted TRU Williams Lake in a news release. Inspired by a woven blanket, the cedar‐framed artwork is made of more than 800 reclaimed items — including braids of hair, a hockey trophy and a piece of stained glass — from 77 sites across Canada, including residential schools, churches and cultural organizations.

Newman has told media the Witness Blanket is his way of using art to talk about the truth of residential school history in Canada, and was inspired by his father and his experience.

Once it is installed, the art exhibit will be available for viewing during regular TRU business hours 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday.

With a file from Monica Lamb-Yorski.

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