Cedar theme propels show

Sechelt Arts Festival

One of the interesting pieces in this year’s Sechelt Arts Festival’s exhibition can be viewed before you enter the Seaside Centre. Roberts Creek artist Gordon Halloran has rescued a charred tree from this summer’s Old Sechelt Mine fire, and it is lit up at night to expose its hollowed and blackened core. From this stump, new growth will emerge. Other stump victims of the wildfire have been relocated to SSC Properties where Halloran will plant new seedlings to be nurtured by the old.

For a closer look at an immense substantial cedar, you have only to enter the exhibition building and see the massive log that dominates the room. In a piece titled Canon, the log has become an installation/sculpture from artist Robert Studer with Kirk Michael, Gnetahn Jehman and Kelly Backs. Put your head inside the hollow end of the spiralling vortex and listen. 

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Cedar is the theme for this major show organized by the Sechelt Arts Festival and curated by Diana Robertson and Nadina Tandy, who described the show as a buzz of possibilities.

“I watched in amazement how each artist informed each other,” Tandy said, “even though they were unaware of what the others were creating. Yes, a theme, but the content really took its own direction. Creating an exhibit in a space that is not designed for the purpose of exhibiting art has its own challenges. The space upstairs was purposeful to have a quiet area for people to contemplate and take their time.”

Each exhibit works one of the six senses. The scent of cedar shavings is in the air, and in a unique piece by Giorgio Magnanensi, the age rings of the cedar “sing” and vibrate. Magnanensi explains that spectrogram imaging utilizes images of the growth rings of a round of cedar. After some manipulation, the waves are broadcast through two flat cedar panels and the viewer can feel the sound. The result is a bit eerie, like music from another world.

Dean Van’t Schip mutes the arboreal colours in his culturally modified cedar photo panels, while Kez Sherwood uses clay petals, cedar chips and a light source to convey her piece. Vern Minard and Linda Nardelli team up to install the multimedia Tree of Life sculpture along with photos and poem. Other exhibits include work from Marlene Lowden and Marleen Vermeulen.

The show has a strong Aboriginal presence – not surprising, since the First Nations used every part of the tree for a multitude of uses. At the opening reception on Oct. 15, Xwu’p’a’lich Barb Higgins read a moving prose poem about cedar and she will repeat this performance on Sunday, Oct. 25 at 2 p.m. at the tems swiya museum in Sechelt in a talk titled I Remember.

The exhibition runs until Sunday, Oct. 25 at the Seaside Centre and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with free admission. See www.secheltartsfestival.com for more events coming up this weekend.

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