Skip to content
Contemporary Art Gallery

555 Nelson Street
Vancouver, Canada
Open from Tuesday to
Sunday 12 pm → 6 pm

Admission always free
15 Oct 19·7:30 PM


Olivia Whetung in conversation with Clifford Atleo and Nicole Preissl

Offsite at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, Rennie Hall, 520 East 1st Ave

An image detail of a wood veneer panel with a rendering of flowers blooming. The rendering is composed of bead-embroidered and wood-burned lines.

Olivia Whetung, wabano (detail), 2012. Courtesy the artist

Join us for a conversation on food sovereignty, environmental sustainability and knowledge transfer with artist Olivia Whetung, Indigenous governance scholar Clifford Atleo and exploratory designer Nicole Preissl, who will lead a research/creation project on plants and place at the Burnaby Art Gallery later this fall.

This event is organized by CAG in partnership with the Burnaby Art Gallery and Emily Carr University of Art + Design.


Olivia Whetung is a member of Curve Lake First Nation and a citizen of the Nishnaabeg Nation. Her work has been the focus of solo exhibitions at Gallery 44, Toronto (2018); Alternator Centre for Contemporary Art, Kelowna (2018); Artspace, Peterborough (2017); and 180 Projects, Sault Ste. Marie. She has contributed to two-person and group exhibitions at Queen’s University, Kingston (2019); Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas (2018-19); Textile Museum of Canada, Toronto (2018); Art Gallery of Mississauga (2018); Carleton University Art Gallery, Ottawa (2017); Access Gallery, Vancouver (2016); Western Front, Vancouver (2016); Axe Neo 7, Gatineau; VIVO Media Arts Centre, Vancouver (2016); Open Space, Victoria (2014); and many others. She completed her BFA with a minor in Anishinaabemowin at Algoma University (2013) and her MFA in Visual Art at the University of British Columbia (2016). She was awarded the John Hartman Award in 2018, the William and Meredith Saunderson Prize for Emerging Artists in 2016, and is a recipient of a CGS-M Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Award and an Aboriginal Graduate Fellowship. In 2019 she was awarded a Joseph S. Stauffer Prize by the Canada Council for the Arts.

Clifford Atleo is a Tsimshian (Kitsumkalum/Kitselas) and Nuu-chah-nulth (Ahousaht) scholar who researches Indigenous governance, community development and political economy. His doctoral research focuses on the political economy of the Ahousaht on the west coast of Vancouver Island, in both historical and contemporary contexts. He is interested in how Indigenous communities navigate/adopt/resist mainstream capitalism while working to sustain their unique cultural identities, practices and worldviews. Atleo is particularly interested in how Indigenous communities and leaders continue to assert agency within the confines of settler colonial politics and economics. Atleo is an Assistant Professor in the School of Resource & Environmental Management at Simon Fraser University.

Nicole Preissl graduated from the ECUAD Bachelor of Design program in 2019, with a focus on indigenizing design creation and teaching. She is an explorative designer who uses natural materials to influence her work. From both Sto:lo and Squamish descent, Preissl began introducing traditional artistic customs into her practice as a means of connecting to her culture. She does this by passing along sacred teachings from elders and community members alike, while introducing people to natural ways of making with Indigenous materials. She currently works as an artist and instructor for the EartHand Gleaners Society and continues to lead participatory walks that include sharing knowledge and ethics of stewardship and foraging. Preissl is an active alumna and Emily Carr community member, passing on her knowledge to others through workshops in the Aboriginal Gathering Place. During Fall/Winter 2019/2020, she will be leading a research/creation commission with the Burnaby Art Gallery around local plants, foods, and stories embedded into place.