Arts & Culture

Richmond Art Gallery presents MOTHLIKE/silvery-blue

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 2:22 PDT, Thu June 8, 2023

Last Updated: 12:25 PDT, Tue July 4, 2023

From June 29 to Aug. 20, Richmond Art Gallery (RAG) presents MOTHLIKE/silvery-blue by artist Amy-Claire Huestis, whose Ladner-based practice is on the ancestral and present-day lands of the Coast Salish Peoples, including the Hul’qumi’num Mustimuhw (Hul'qumi'num Treaty Group of Seven Coast Salish Nations), Tsawwassen, and Musqueam.

The exhibition hopes to raise awareness about the delicate ecology of the stɑl'əw̓ (FraserRiver) estuary—the most important estuary in Western Canada—and the loss of biodiversity due to human behaviour and commercial expansion. This is a particularly timely exhibition given recent federal government approval of the Roberts Bank Terminal 2 in Delta. Scientists predict the port expansion will irreversibly harm the populations of Western Sandpipers, Southern Resident killer whales, and Chinook salmon.

“Amy-Claire Huestis’s work is in response to her daily walks along the waterway called Canoe Pass, listening to the chorus of local and migratory birds,” says Shaun Dacey, director of RAG and the exhibition’s curator. “This exhibition encourages visitors to become more than passive observers. They are asked to not only engage physically and emotionally with the pieces in the installation, but to explore the show’s themes beyond the Gallery’s walls with activities throughout Richmond.”

MOTHLIKE/silvery-blue tells the poetic narrative of a fictional character named Silvery Blue, who embodies the land. From June 13 to 29, Huestis and her collaborators will follow an experimental score composed of walks on the dike trail, a participatory public performance at Garry Point Park on the summer solstice, and a final dance performance in the gallery.

Artworks, recordings, and costumes from both a 2022 performance at Brunswick Point (Hwlhits'um) and the Richmond performances will be featured in the exhibition. The artworks are meant to be re-animated through dance, sound performance, and community participation — the public is invited to participate in order to unfold Silvery Blue’s transformation cycle from woman to butterfly to land.

The works in the exhibition are made with ecologically friendly materials, including recycled packing materials and foam, recycled fabrics, natural pigments, and eco-certified cotton. The performances involve the collaboration of numerous partners: conservationists at Birds Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada, anthropologists at UBC and Douglas College, Indigenous knowledge holders, a BC Choral Federation choir, and Huestis’s fellow artists.

This exhibition acts as a rich framework for communal connection with nature. It also includes bird-friendly window treatments, live footage of a barn owl nest box from Richmond Park’s Nest Box Program, children’s storytelling gatherings, collaborations with artists, and presentations by conservationists and scientists.

Visit to find out more about the exhibition. On June 21, the public is invited to participate in a special summer solstice performance at q̓ weyaʔχw (Garry Point) Park from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

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