Date: Sunday March 24th, 2024

Time: 11:00 am — 1:00 pm

Cost: Admission is by Donation

Speaking Pictures invites Indigenous elders to come and speak to the public about photographs that highlight the stories, histories, and landscapes of the north shore. This program will take place on the Sunday closest to each solstice and equinox: March 24 for Spring, June 23 for Summer, September 22 for Fall and December 22 for Winter. The changing of seasons is marked with gathering, storytelling and the sharing of food. The seasonal changes invite us to reflect on the past and grow into the future. Please join us for a time of storytelling and light refreshments from 11am until 1pm.

The first stories in the series will be shared by Xwalacktun, Master carver and Knowledge Keeper from the Squamish Nation. He will be sharing archival photos of totem poles in the area as well as photos of his own works.

Curated/Hosted by Joelle Johnston, Indigenous Liaison

RSVPs are helpful


Admission is by donation courtesy of BMO Financial Group

Generously supported by
Vancouver Foundation
The McLean Foundation
Province of British Columbia

More about Xwalacktun
Xwalacktun (Born Rick Harry) is a Squamish Nation artist whose works are recognized internationally. In 2012, he received the Order of British Columbia for his many contributions to many communities. He is also a recipient of the “FANS” Honor Award from the North Vancouver Arts Council which acknowledged his commitments both locally and world‐wide. He most recently won the 2023 Polygon Award for First Nation Art in the Award of Distinction for Lifetime Achievement category

Healing and growth have become a central theme around Xwalacktun’s work. By focusing on how the traditional stories relate to his own life, he suggests to us how to use this ancient knowledge to help heal ourselves and our community. The giving out of positive energy and seeing it come back through the young people is the reward that continues to feed his spirit so that he can give back to others. Xwalacktun was born and raised in Squamish. He carries with him the rich ancestries of his mother’s and father’s clans of the Coast Salish and Kw’kwa k’wakw Nations. His father, Pekultn, carried a hereditary chieftainship from Seymour Creek in North Vancouver. He would like to acknowledge Capilano College and Emily Carr College of Art for teaching him the skills to have a start in his career. His endurance and commitment through trial and error helped propel him forward as an artist.

Xwalacktun’s works are seen throughout Vancouver and the surrounding areas. Some widely recognized pieces are: first nations designs on Vancouver 2010 Olympic wear, carved double doors for B.C. Hydro’s Burnaby and Vancouver locations, 30 totem poles throughout Scotland, cedar doors for Harrison Hot Springs Resort’s “Healing Springs Spa”, 2008 and 2009 Nordic World Cup Banners, 2008 medals for the Nordic World Cup Winter Games, elaborate snow boards designed for the First Nations Snowboard team, a metal, brick and glass sculpture in West Vancouver’s Ambleside Park, and a forty foot totem pole in New Hampshire for the Kokopelli Gallery. Xwalacktun collaborated with three artists in Beijing for the Canada Pavilion. He also designed the 2010 Olympic Bid Box lid and created the initial 2010 winter sports icons for the Olympic Bid Book. Xwalacktun is an accomplished artist in wood, paper, stone, glass and metals.

More about Joelle Johnston
Joelle Johnston is an artist and curator of Squamish and Celtic ancestry. She was born and lives in North Vancouver, BC. Her work revolves around traditional material practices such as beadwork, drum-making, weaving, and leatherwork. Her heritage informs much of her work, and she draws inspiration from her connection to the land, people, and histories that surround her.

Joelle is the Indigenous Liaison and Community Outreach Coordinator at The Polygon Gallery.

Banner image: Xwalacktun archives


More information here.

  • The Polygon Gallery

See what’s up next.