The painting Lut aks ilxut (Don’t Go Hungry) was created by Csetkwe Megan Fortier.

Conveying a message

Pair of artists coming to Kaslo's Langham Cultural Centre with opening night this Friday.

Visiting artists Csetkwe Megan Fortier and Nico Meijer Drees will be exhibiting their work at the Langham Cultural Centre in Kaslo from May 16 to June 29.

Fortier hails from the Syilx First Nation (Okanagan) and the Secwepmec First Nation (Shuswap).

“She is youngish, funky and full of spunk,’’ said Langham executive director Maggie Tchir.

Acknowledging the Ktunaxa (Kootenay) territory where her works will be displayed, Fortier offers up her work with the best of intentions in hopes of creating dialogue around the state of Mother Earth, natural/ indigenous laws and human rights and responsibilities.

In her paintings, Fortier uses colour and content to convey her message. In this series the viewer is provided a relatively safe space to observe, with a bit of nostalgia. Using the images of jars, figures and hands Fortier coaxes her audience.

Excitement in the changing temperature of colour, the paintings draw in the viewer before they are given the time to contemplate their own connection to the works. With the representation of naturalistic and somewhat surreal landscapes Fortier calls on the spirits of the four food chiefs: Siya’ (Saskatoon berries), Spitlem (bitter root), N’tytyix’(King salmon), and Sla’cinem (deer) to help guide her brush to reveal messages of sorrow, battle, and hope.

Injecting factual characters that have imposed selfish flaws upon the land and its inhabitants, she brings forth the harsh issue of human encroachment in a land where there was once balance and respect flourishing.

Printmaker Nico Meijer Drees exhibit, Playtime, will be in the community gallery. Drees is a former Kaslo resident whose interest in art began in his teens in Holland.

After his graduation, marriage, military conscription and emigration to Canada in 1964, he had an opportunity to take printmaking classes in Edmonton at the University of Alberta. NCMD became his signature. In 1968, he took more printmaking classes at the Alberta College of Art.

After the creation of a workspace in his house Drees became a printmaker, and by selling his prints he was able to pay for an Ettan press and the printing expenses.

He joined the Calgary Artists Society and participated in their art sales and exhibitions. Later he organized exhibitions for the Alberta Printmakers and the Calgary Artists Society in the cafeteria of the Geological Survey.

When offered early retirement in 1996, he donated a selection of his prints to the cafeteria and moved to Kaslo. He took the printing business with him and acted as curator for the Langham Cultural Society.  In 2006 he moved to Ladysmith.

Opening night of this exhibit is Friday from 7 to 9 p.m.

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