Balanced Forms: Xwalacktun, James Harry, and Austin Harry
About the exhibition
This exhibition features Coast Salish artists Xwalacktun (Rick Harry) 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 that are displayed at the schools. Xwalacktun sees this work as a learning opportunity that supports his efforts at reconciliation. A selection of these projects are featured together in the exhibition, alongside preparatory material that demonstrates his design process.
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.
Austin Harry has created an animation in response to the devastating news that the remains of 215 children were confirmed to be on the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.
About the artists
Xwalacktun (Rick Harry) was born and raised in Squamish. His mother is originally from Squamish and Alert Bay (Coast Salish, Kwakiutl) and 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 University of Art + Design and Capilano College, but also feels he learned a lot through trial and error. He has been awarded a number of honours, including the 2002 Georgie Award, 2005 FANS Award, 2012 Order of British Columbia, 2013 Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Award, 2016 BC Achievement Award, and the Arthur G. Hayden Medal at the 31st annual International Bridge Conference Awards.
James (Nexw’Kalus-Xwalacktun) Harry is of Squamish Nation (Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw) 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 (Aan’yas) Harry is of Squamish Nation (Skwxwú7mesh Úxwumixw) and European descent (Scottish and German). He attended Emily Carr University of Art + Design and the Vancouver Film School, specializing in game design. He works as a 3D artist specializing 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.