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fri01jul12:00 pmSemá:th Xó:tsa: Sts’ólemeqwelh Sxó:tsa / Great Gramma’s Lake12:00 pm Art Gallery at EvergreenEvent Type :Art Gallery event

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Event Details

Semá:th Xó:tsa: Sts’ólemeqwelh Sxó:tsa / Great Gramma’s Lake 
Thetáx Chris Silver & Xémontélót Carrielynn Victor  
featuring E’yies’lek Rocky LaRock 

ABOUT THE EXHIBITION

In November 2021, extreme rains flooded extensive areas of the Fraser Valley, including what is today known as Sumas Prairie. This “once in a century” flooding has dramatically impacted the lives and livelihoods of many Fraser Valley residents, including Stó:lō master carver E’yies’lek Claude “Rocky” LaRock. Originally scheduled for a solo exhibition at the Art Gallery at Evergreen this spring, LaRock needed to prioritize his family and community as a result of the floods, requiring a creative re-envisioning of the exhibition plan. Revolving around LaRock’s powerful carvings, the Semá:th Xó:tsa exhibition also immerses visitors in a life-size rendering of the award-winning children’s book of the same title, with illustrations by artist Xémontélót Carrielynn Victor.  Together, the works speak to the vital, enduring importance of Semá:th Xó:tsa (Sumas Lake) to the region’s past and present, and to the enduring strength and resilience of the Stó:lō people. 

For millennia, a vast lake existed between Sumas and Vedder Mountains in the unceded territory of the Stó:lō people, in what is now known as the Fraser Valley. Teeming with ecological abundance, Semá:th Xó:tsa was central to the cultural, spiritual and physical well-being of the Séma:th people (Sumas First Nation) and surrounding Indigenous communities. Between 1919 and 1924, settlers in the region lobbied government to drain the lake, thereby enhancing the agricultural capacity of the region, with devastating consequences for the Stó:lō people.  
The children’s book Semá:th Xó:tsa: Sts’ólemeqwelh Sxó:tsa/Great Gramma’s Lake was published by The Reach Gallery Museum, Abbotsford, in 2020. The collaborative book recalls a time when the lake was thriving, using memory and story to allow the lake to live on today. The book is co-authored by Kris Foulds, Laura Schneider, Thetáx Chris Silver and Xémontélót Carrielynn Victor.  

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

E’yies’lek Claude “Rocky” LaRock’s practice as a master carver is inseparable from his Stó:lō identity and his relationships to community, family and land. The artist has mastered the skills, techniques and stories of traditional hand-carving, but he is equally committed to experimentation in his work. From incorporating contemporary elements and techniques to creating carvings intended solely for display, LaRock uses a unique visual language to express contemporary, global concerns, including a focus on environmental change, through the lens of Stó:lō cosmology. 

Xémontélót Carrielynn Victor, an artist based in the eastern Fraser Valley, is a descendant of Coast Salish ancestors, who have been sustained by S’olh Temexw (their land) since time immemorial, and Western European ancestors, who settled around northern Turtle Island beginning in the 1600s. Victor was born and raised in S’olh Temexw and nurtured by many parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. Combining ancient and modern design principles, Victor’s artistic practice takes the form of murals, paintings on canvas, drums, paddles and, in recent years, illustrations for scientific reports and children’s books. 

Organized and circulated by The Reach Gallery Museum, Abbotsford. 

Learn more about this exhibition on our exhibit page!

Time

(Friday) 12:00 pm

Location

Art Gallery at Evergreen

1205 Pinetree Way

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