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AMBASSADORS – An Environmental Portrait Exhibt

Curated by Mixhaltsa7 Alison Pascal, Lil’wat Nation, AMBASSADORS is the first exhibit of its kind at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre. At first glance, stunning environmental portraits of Cultural Ambassadors who worked at the SLCC during the winter 2018.19 season fill Gallery 3. A handful of artistic creations made by featured Cultural Ambassadors are situated throughout the gallery, complementing the exhibit: inner cedar bark weavings, paintings, wood hand carvings, wool weavings, and buckskin regalia. Upon closer inspection, visitors lean in to biographies accompanying the portraits, and learn the stories of the faces peering back: these individuals are the family of the SLCC, and their interconnection with the exhibits throughout the SLCC, the land we reside on, and the stories that have been borrowed from our ancestors – this exhibit is part of our journey in sharing our stories in the present, and for the benefit of the future.

As described by Curator Mixhaltsa7 Alison Pascal:

AMBASSADORS is a celebration of the hard work and dedication that our staff put into making the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre a success. The exhibit was inspired by a photoshoot of the Cultural Sharing Team done the previous fall to showcase their new regalia. For this exhibit I wanted to include the whole team and to showcase our space both indoors and outdoors. We have created a second family here and I wanted to show the closeness of the team: I mixed each department up, and mixed up the locations of the photos. Ambassadors that are currently working at the Cultural Centre and that have created larger pieces got their own sections on the side of the gallery with larger photos.

[Photographer] Logan [Swayze] did an amazing job capturing the spirit of the team, every week I have a different favourite photo but I keep coming back to the same favourites. Those are showcased on the end wall; to me they highlight the Ambassadors’ personality and passion. I also added in smaller art pieces made by past participants to show the depth of the program and the variety of art styles Ambassadors work in. 

Photographer: Logan Swazye

The man behind the lens of this project is professional wedding and portrait photographer Logan Swayze. Swayze graduated photography school in 2001 and has been in Whistler for fifteen years. Swayze participated in this exhibit because of his deep appreciation for Canada’s first peoples and their rich cultures. This particular project presented an opportunity for Swayze to connect more deeply with Squamish Nation and Lil’wat Nation, getting to know the stewards of this land better. He wanted to show each individual in a unique way, to capture a little bit more about them and who they are. Says Swayze: “I was honoured to be a part of this project. It was humbling to see my images set amongst the beautiful regalia and artwork created by the Ambassadors.”

The team naturally opened up to Swayze; his ability to capture their passion and connection to the SLCC enriched the exhibit experience.

AMBASSADORS will remain on display until March 2020.

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