Lisa Anderson with her self-portrait during the opening of the Art of Reconciliation now on at the Station House Gallery’s upper studio until Sept. 29.

Lisa Anderson with her self-portrait during the opening of the Art of Reconciliation now on at the Station House Gallery’s upper studio until Sept. 29.

Station House features The Art of Reconciliation

A self-portrait depicts Lisa Anderson wearing a white dress standing in a clearing near Riske Creek where her father’s ashes were buried.

A self-portrait depicts Lisa Anderson wearing a white dress standing in a clearing near Riske Creek where her father’s ashes were buried in 1998.

In the photograph she watches a white balloon float away up into the air.

Her piece is about letting go and is part of The Art of Reconciliation, an art show on display at the Station House upper gallery until Sept. 27.

Anderson was eight years old when her father died and all these years later she wonders if she lost him because of residential school.

“My dad was adopted, but I only found out who is real mother was in January, four years after she had died,” Anderson said. “He was from Soda Creek and I’ve been trying to reconnect with a disconnected past because I’ve realized I lost my culture.”

After the St. Joseph Mission Residential School Commemorative Project in 2013, many involved were wondering how to keep the conversation about reconciliation going, said Anne Burrill, one of the show’s facilitators and the city’s manager of social development.

Burrill said art is a powerful medium and often draws people in who might not normally engage in a conversation about residential schools and reconciliation.

When Burrill approached the gallery, asking if there was interest in an art show on residential schools and reconciliation, she was given the go-ahead.

A call went out for First Nations and non-First Nations artists to participate in a facilitated workshop in May where the history of residential schools and colonization was explored.

“We talked about what reconciliation is and means,” she recalled. “We asked people to go away and create art based on their experience of the workshop.”

Six weeks later participants returned to share thoughts, ideas and art, and were encouraged to submit art work for the show.

The workshop and process of learning were very powerful, she said, adding many told her they experienced personal growth.

“Artists I talked to told me they were immersed in the topic for weeks and months afterwards,” Burrill said. “I think everyone learned from it.”

Burrill created a piece as well.

Sheila Dick, health administrator at White Feather Family Centre in Canim Lake, facilitated the workshop, sharing her 20 years of experience working with residential school survivors.

“I wasn’t prepared for the things that came up because I’ve been working on this for so long,” Dick said, explaining how she couldn’t create a piece of art work herself because there was too much turmoil and she was afraid of what might materialize.

Instead she submitted a buckskin jacket her mother had made for her when she was seven years old.

“I realized how much that jacket meant to me,” Dick recalled. “I wore it with a little crown when I rode in the Williams Lake Stampede Parade.”

Dick’s mother died the next year.

Half of the participants in the workshop were First Nations and the other half were not.

“I am 59 years old and am still realizing there are people who don’t know about the residential school experience,” she said. “It’s not a bad thing, they just don’t know.”

She felt all of the participants developed great respect for each other and admitted she had them participating immediately to get them talking to each other.

They had to make a self portrait to introduce themselves. They watched a video created by youth from Canoe Creek, and then participated in small group discussions.

Echoing Burrill, Dick said it was just as much about the process as it was about the art.

In the end only four of 10 First Nations participants created art and Dick was left wondering if they felt the same way as she did.

“We don’t want to leave people hanging so we will be bringing everyone back together to ask them how they are feeling now,” Dick said.

“Art can be a trigger and we don’t want walking wounded.”

First Nations people need to celebrate the talents and abilities they received from their parents because they have survived for thousands of years because of creativity and natural abilities, she added.

If one message emerges from the show Dick hopes it will emphasize how important it is that women and children become a priority again.

“We live in a province that has the second highest rate of child poverty and you know, some of our youth are involved in gangs because they are looking for a place to belong.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A string made of deer hide was cut by Tl’etinqox elder Melanie Bobby (centre) to mark the grand opening of Chilcotin River Trading Wednesday, March 3. (Chilcotin River Trading Facebook photo)
New gas bar opens in the Chilcotin at Tl’etinqox

Chilcotin River Trading opens its doors

Cariboo Memorial Hospital emergency doctor Sarah Dressler comes off a night shift on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Our Hometown: The doctor is in the house

Cariboo Memorial Hospital emergency doctor Sarah Dressler was born and raised in Williams Lake

The Williams Lake Trail Riders Arena is slated to have a new roof installed this spring after funding from the province’s Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Trail Riders Arena, stable stalls, to get new roof at Stampede Grounds

Some of the stalls currently aren’t able to be rented out due to leaks in the roof

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
43 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

368 cases in the region remain active

A sign is seen this past summer outside Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Yunesit’in First Nation completes second round of vaccinations

A total of 26 people have since recovered from COVID-19 after having tested positive

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. research reveals how pandemic has changed attitudes towards sex, health services

CDC survey shows that 35 per cent of people were worried about being judged

Some Canadians are finding butter harder than usual, resulting in an avalanche of social media controversy around #buttergate. (Brett Williams/The Observer)
#Buttergate: Concerns around hard butter hit small B.C. towns and beyond

Canadians find their butter was getting harder, blame palm oil in part one of this series

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon speaks in the B.C. legislature, describing work underway to make a small business and tourism aid package less restrictive, Dec. 10, 2020. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends deadline for tourism, small business COVID-19 grants

Business owners expect months more of lost revenues

Anti-pipeline protests continue in Greater Vancouver, with the latest happening Thursday, March 4 at a Trans Mountain construction site in Burnaby. (Facebook/Laurel Dykstra)
A dozen faith-based protestors blockade Burnaby Trans Mountain site in prayer

The group arrived early Thursday, planning to ‘block any further work’

Mid day at the Vancouver Port Intersection blockade on March 3, organized by the Braided Warriors. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
Anti-pipeline blockade at Vancouver intersection broken up by police

Demonstraters were demanding the release of a fellow anti-TMX protester

(Government of B.C.)
Backcountry skiers are dwarfed by the mountains as they make their way along a mountain ridge near McGillivray Pass Lodge located in the southern Chilcotin Mountains of British Columbia, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012. Avalanche Canada has issued a special warning to people who use the backcountry in the mountains of western Alberta and eastern British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Avalanche Canada special warning for mountains in western Alberta, eastern B.C.

Avalanche Canada also says everyone in a backcountry party needs essential rescue gear

Most Read