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Contemporary Art Gallery

555 Nelson Street
Vancouver, Canada
Closed for installation
until June 7, 2024

Admission always free
6 Mar 18·7:00 PM

The Foreshore

Coll Thrush with Kamala Todd: Land Language: Land Responsibilities

Offsite at Mount Pleasant Community Centre

An image of a person writing texts on the whiteboard with a red marker.

Creating home and a sense of place means building relationships. How well do we relate/give back/listen to the land and waters that are our home? Vancouver is so often seen as an international city belonging to no one/everyone. Its landscapes and narratives have been transformed and framed in ways that showcase the Anglo-colonial culture as the founders and caretakers of this coastal city.

How are newcomers/settlers/guests/visitors complicit in this overwriting of Coast Salish people and their continuity on this land since time out of mind? How do the stories (re)emerge and remind us all that this is a place with ancient laws, relationships, histories, ancestors, cosmologies which are in fact the guiding frameworks for life on this Musqueam, Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish place? This is a conversation towards decolonizing the city, asking questions about learning the laws and expectations and responsibilities before we assume permission and right mindedness to “come ashore” and be good visitors.

This event is part of The Foreshore, presented in partnership with the multi-disciplinary artist collective Other Sights for Artists’ Projects. The Foreshore hosts a series of roving discursive events held at community centres throughout the city of Vancouver, aiming to generate questions and confluence inspired by the conditions of the foreshore, the land along the edge of a body of water that is repeatedly submerged and revealed by the tide. In Vancouver, the term conjures specific histories of trade and exchange, habitation and nourishment, resistance and violent erasure. It might similarly evoke our contemporary lived situation in this city. Considering the potential of this zone as both a metaphor and physical site, year two of The Foreshore initiative pairs together returning speakers and guests of their choosing to deepen a generative and cross-disciplinary conversation around the following questions: Can there be land that is not property? How do we bring the centre to the edge? What is, as yet, unseen?


Coll Thrush is Associate Professor of history at the University of British Columbia, where he teaches Indigenous, settler colonial and place-based histories. He is the author of Native Seattle: Histories from the Crossing-Over Place. He is also the co-editor of Phantom Past, Indigenous Presence: Native Ghosts in North American Culture and History (2011) and Indigenous London: Native Travelers at the Heart of Empire (2016). His current project, entitled Slaughter Town, focuses on landscape, trauma, and memory in his hometown of Auburn, Washington, formerly known as Slaughter.

Kamala Todd is a Metis-Cree community planner who makes films and writes about the stories and cultures layered within the Indigenous lands upon which she is a grateful guest. She has a Masters degree in Geography (UBC) and is the author of numerous documentary films and community arts projects. For six years she was the City of Vancouver’s Aboriginal Social Planner, and she continues to work with the City as an independent consultant to help build relationships within the context of (re)conciliation. She writes and directs for children’s television, including the Indigenous science series Coyote’s Crazy Smart Science Show and the Cree language series Nehiyawetan, both on APTN. Todd lives with her partner and two sons on the Sunshine Coast.