Balanced Forms: Xwalacktun, James Harry, and Austin Harry
About the exhibition
This exhibition features Coast Salish artists Xwalacktun and his sons, James and Austin Harry. In addition to his projects as a commissioned artist, Xwalacktun has worked as a cultural instructor in many school districts throughout the Lower Mainland, creating carvings with students which are displayed at the schools. The artist sees this work as a learning opportunity that supports his efforts at reconciliation. A selection of these projects will be featured together in the exhibition, alongside preparatory material that demonstrates the design process. Among Xwalacktun’s many students are his two sons, James and Austin Harry.
James Harry spent his childhood and early adolescence learning First Nations form and design. He has since developed his own techniques and artistic methodology based on the traditional foundation of his heritage. Through the combination of familiar symbolism of West Coast formline, modern media, and techniques, Harry’s work pushes the boundaries of First Nations cultural traditions and the way the world functions around the confines of these understandings. Together, Xwalacktun and Harry seek to broaden the place held by indigenous art and culture in the world of contemporary art.
About the artists
Xwalacktun was born and raised in Squamish. His mother is originally from Squamish and Alert Bay (Coast Salish, Kwakiutl) while his father was Coast Salish (Squamish). Xwalacktun was given his indigenous name by his father, Pekultn, who was a hereditary chief, originally from the Seymour Creek area in North Vancouver. Xwalacktun gained his skills and education from Emily Carr College of Art and Capilano College, but also feels he learned a lot through trial and error. Xwalacktun has been awarded a number of honours, including the Georgie Award 2002, F.A.N.S Award 2005, Order of British Columbia 2012, Queens Diamond Jubilee Award 2013, BC Achievement Award 2016, and the Arthur G. Hayden Medal at the 31st Annual International Bridge Conference Awards.
James (Nexw’Kalus-Xwalacktun) Harry is of Squamish Nation (Swxwú7meshḵ) and European descent (Scottish and German). He attended Emily Carr University of Art + Design, obtaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree with a major in Visual Arts in 2014. The YVR Art Foundation honoured him with the Career Artist Scholarship in 2011.
Austin Harry is of Squamish Nation (Swxwú7meshḵ) and European descent (Scottish and German). He attended the Vancouver Film School, specializing in game design. He works as a 3D Artist working in 3D modelling, game design, and animation.
Events and guided tours
View the events page to attend a tour, view a virtual film screening, join a virtual artist talk, and more.