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Tania Willard
Billie Jean Gabrielle photography

Lieu d’exposition
/ Exhibition place

Place de la Cité Internationale Rez-de-chaussée / Ground Floor, œuvre / artwork n°8


Tania Willard is a mixed Secwépemc and settler artist whose research intersects with land-based art practices. Her practice activates a connection to land, culture and family, centering art as an Indigenous resurgent act through collaborative projects such as BUSH Gallery and support of language revitalization in Secwépemc communities. Her artistic and curatorial work includes Beat Nation: Art, Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture at the Vancouver Art Gallery (2012–14) and Exposure: Native Art and Political Ecology at the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Santa Fe (ongoing). Tania Willard’s work is included in the collections of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Forge Project, Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Kamloops Art Gallery and Anchorage Museum, among others. In 2016, she received the Hnatyshyn Foundation’s Award for Curatorial Excellence in Contemporary Art. In 2020, the Shadbolt Foundation awarded her the VIVA Award for outstanding achievement and commitment in her art practice, and in 2022, she was named a Forge Project Fellow for her land-based, community-engaged artistic practice. In 2023, Tania Willard and the BUSH Gallery project were designated recipients of the Ruth Foundation for the Arts Future Studies award.

Approach and works on display

Carrying Memories of the Land (2022)

These six banners draw from two different moments on Tania Willard’s land in Secwepémculecw. The first set of images illustrates the artist’s learning on her land through resurgent practice in hide tanning and basketry. Employing a red filter most often used in black and white photography to heighten contrast, here the colour saturates the images, giving the viewer a sense of the gemstone’s presence. Often used in sandpaper, garnet evokes questions of both labour and value. The second landscape is from Tania Willard’s home on the Neskonlith plateau in British Columbia, Secwépemc territory. It depicts the skies from the intense and devastating wildfires in the summer of 2023. In the shift between landscapes, there is also a marked affective shift in the accompanying poem. It is a recognition of the ways that the fires burnt too hot, once life giving forces now harbingers of death. It speaks to planetary tipping points and the capacities of the earth and all its beings to only be able to endure so much. The red filter was removed, and yet the skies remained eerily red.


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