Award-winning exhibition opens in Nelson Friday

Roll On Columbia: Exploring the Landscape and Culture of the Columbia River Treaty explores the complex legacy of the Columbia River Treaty.

Sandbagging in Creston

Roll On Columbia: Exploring the Landscape and Culture of the Columbia River Treaty explores the complex legacy of the 50-year-old Columbia River Treaty. With the treaty up for possible renewal or renegotiation in the near future, the exhibitio nprovides present-day understanding of the region’s trans-boundary watershed ecosystem, a vast landscape draining water from BC’s Rocky Mountains to Astoria, Oregon.

Winner of the Canadian Museum Association award of excellence and funded by the Columbia Basin Trust and FortisBC, the exhibition explores the local and national controversy over a treaty that authorized four mega projects for flood control and increased hydro-power efficiencies, but also negatively impacted ecosystems and human communities without local consultation.

Guest-curated by Eileen Delehanty Pearkes, the exhibition contains historical information panels, a seldom-heard master recording of a local protest folk song by Skip Fraser and Joe Irving, artwork by Heather MacAskill and Mary Babcock and various historical artifacts related to human culture in the upper Columbia Basin.

The opening reception is on Friday from 7 to 9 p.m., with a brief artist talk by Heather MacAskill at 7:30 p.m. The opening reception will double as a launch for Pearkes’ latest book, The Heart of a River, a poetic tribute to the Columbia illustrated by Nichola Lytle of Pink Dog Designs. The opening is also part of Blue Night, an evening of free art events happening throughout the city. On Saturday at 1 p.m., Pearkes will give a talk titled The Columbia River Treaty: is it Sustainable?

View the exhibition and ask yourself if the public values that originally formed the treaty remain the same today.