‘We all come from one root’ now showing at the Museum at Campbell River

New exhibit at museum celebrates Campbell River man's family history

John Powell introduces the first 16 portraits of his ancestors in a collection he calls Nump ma noch gyai yoo lahss

While stuck at home due to a health issue a few years ago, John Powell started a body of work that would end up being Nump ma noch gyai yoo lahss, or We all come from one root.

The work is a family history and represents his traditional First Nations background combined with a response to his cultural diversity.

Powell’s mother was Mamalilikulla and Kwakiutl of Village Island and Fort Rupert and his father was of Welsh/Irish/English descent.

“I grew up in our culture and was fortunate enough to learn about our old people from our old people,” Powell said.

The works are now on display at the Museum at Campbell River. At an opening reception on Saturday afternoon, Powell thanked his family and friends for their support of his endeavour.

“I hope that the work makes my ancestors happy,” he said.

At the moment, the body of work consists of 16 portraits and 12 accompanying videos. Powell said this is just the beginning.

“There are hundreds that I need to complete,” he said.

The exhibition was curated by Liz Carter and Ken Blackburn.

“What a wonderful show to be a part of and a wonderful exhibit,” Blackburn said. “It is just a positive reminder and perhaps a beacon that guides us into the future, to take a moment to reflect on the fact that we do indeed all come from one shared root of humanity and we have a commonality, and we have bonds that are expressed within a very beautiful sense of diversity of not only individuals but of our families.”

Powell considers himself a designer which varies from fashion to interior design to graphic design. Most of his practice involves textiles in one form or another.

The exhibition runs until Nov. 14 and the museum is open Tuesday to Sunday from noon until 5 p.m.

Jocelyn Doll/Campbell River Mirror

A dancer from the Laichwiltach Elders and Youth group performs at the art opening.

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