Communities across the province are struggling to deal with the complex challenges of homelessness, poverty and addictions.
When examined closely, these challenges represent an interconnected set of conditions. By listening and learning from each other, creative solutions will emerge. On the forefront of solutions is the role of arts and culture within the discussion.
On Sept. 25 at 7 p.m., the Tidemark Theatre will host the 2022 Art+Earth Lecture. Entitled “n̓əmy̓ut: connections to others” this lecture will feature the connections made during the Campbell River Arts Council’s Artist in Residence Program (June to October) at the Walter Morgan Studio. The artist in residence for 2022 is Shawn Decaire.
Decaire, alongside Sharon Karsten (Walk With Me) and Jenelle Pasiechnik (Curator of the Campbell River Art Gallery), will explore the connections between the challenges of homelessness, poverty, drug and alcohol abuse and the various programs each organization collaborates on. The lecture will reveal much of the creative work being done in Campbell River to address this complex set of connections. On display will be a model for the Turtle Pods, a creative interim solution to storage and sleeping options for the homeless.
“This is obviously a very timely discussion for our community,” says Ken Blackburn, the Executive Director of the Arts Council and creator of the residency. “No one sector of our community can answer this challenge on their own, we need all sectors cooperating. But it is encouraging to see the work of the arts community in town. Progress can be made if we listen, learn and support these initiatives.”
Decaire is a member of the Laxwaxdax’w people, the southernmost tribe of the Kwakwaka’wakwe Nation. He was born in Campbell River in 1981. Decaire’s family was not involved with anything cultural due to the impacts of residential schools, but in 2001 he was invited by the people of Kingcome Inlet to join them on a traditional gathering of canoes.
Known as a Tribal Journey, this lifechanging experience took him from his village in Cape Mudge to the final landing place in Ambleside, West Vancouver. Over those two and a half weeks, Decaire was inspired in every cultural way from traditional singing to art and carving. During the journey, Decaire met inspirational people who became role models to him, including the late Chief Frank Nelson, and the man who inspired him to be a traditional singer, Chief William Wasden Jr.
After returning home with all this inspiration, Decaire dedicated much time to learning the culture of his ancestors and the reasons why so much was lost. Near the end of 2002, Decaire made the greatest dedication of change in his life – he surrendered his addictions of street drugs and alcohol. He worked harder on his arts of singing, carving, and helping people. And for 20 years Decaire taught himself and learned from many great cultural teachers to become established in the cultural and artistic world.
Most of the traditional crafts Decaire creates are for ceremonies, such as potlatches and feasts. He does not sell much of his art. He said, “It is not the value of cash you carry that makes you rich, it is the love in your heart.”
Music, video and photographs will accompany the presentations.
In-person Admission is by donation at the door
Live-stream Admission is also free! Book your live-stream ticket now by going to the tidemarktheatre.com.