Xapayay: Tree of Life 2020

A Message from Tasha Faye Evans, Curator

Vision Prayers

Community Intention Healing

When we were first sent into isolation the threat of unwellness sweeping across these Coast Salish Lands and Waters was terrifying. Not everyone was going to be ok. My first impulse had me running to the woods and into the lap of my favorite cedar tree. I could breathe there and was reminded that we have been here before. These Coast Salish Lands and Waters know viruses and death.  I  was reminded that we survived and continue to survive because this is our home. Not everyone understands the sacred relationship we have with the natural world let alone the medicines and ancient whispers of a cedar tree. The Xapayay: Tree of Life Online Gallery showcases the expression of five Coast Salish artists and the critical role cedar plays in ensuring the health and well-being of all of our relations.

However,  as isolation continued it became clear that the pause in this colonial machine was opening space for an Indigenous future to reclaim.

We have been given an opportunity during this time to re-imagine our world and our relationship to all of our relations. As we sit in this global stillness the invitation has been to look out our window and see the universe as it exists without business-as-usual being in the way. Our lives have been stripped to necessity and essential service. Our values have  been realigned to a collective responsibility to care for each other and the future of all of our relations. Each artist in this exhibition is a leader in their own community. Their work provides insight into a world where Cedar is our tree of life,  our sacred ancestor, a healer. Their expressions are an invitation to re-member ourselves to the sacred relationship we have to the natural world. Their work invites us to re-emerge from this moment walking with reverence for the teachings that are present in every step we take on this Earth.

As we re-enter our lives, may we stand as tall as the trees, may our roots unfurl and our arms raise like Cedar boughs towards the sky. Walk gently, in kindness. Give.