Indigenous artist invites Burnaby residents to walk with her ancestors

Nicole Preissl is leading a series of workshops helping to connect people to local history and First Nations culture at Burnaby Art Gallery

Burnaby residents will have a unique chance to connect with local history and First Nations culture through an upcoming series of workshops with a local artist.

Nicole Preissl, an explorative designer of Sto:lo and Squamish descent, will lead three free workshops at Burnaby Art Gallery and Deer Lake Park as part of a research-commission project titled Walking With My Ancestors.

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Preissl began to introduce traditional artistic customs into her practice as a means of connecting to her culture. In her workshops, she passes along sacred teachings from elders and community members alike, while introducing people to natural ways of making with Indigenous materials.

Through storytelling, cedar rope making and a tour of the Indigenous plants in the area, the workshops will foster a greater appreciation for Indigenous knowledge and the land upon which Burnaby Art Gallery is situated.

In the first workshop, on Jan. 26, Preissl will teach the art of cedar rope making while engaging in discussions of place-making. The workshop runs from 1 to 3:30 p.m.

Nicole Preissl, rope making
Nicole Preissl will lead a workshop in cedar rope making on Jan. 26. - courtesy Nicole Preissl

“Every time I (make cedar) rope, I would always remember what my grandma told me. That the trees,  the plants and the land hold the memories and stories of our ancestors and will continue to do so forever. We just need to listen,” said Preissl, whose art is currently featured in the echoes exhibition at the Burnaby Art Gallery.

The theme of place-making is further explored in Preissl’s second workshop on March 15, Memories of the Land. Internationally renowned Squamish and Kwakwak’wakw artist Xwalacktun (Rick Harry) and other local guests will share their stories and insights from 1 to 3 p.m.

On March 28, Preissl will lead an Indigenous Plant Walk through Deer Lake Park. Participants will learn to identify Indigenous plants while engaging in conversations about stewardship, foraging and the ongoing story of place. It runs from 1 to 3 p.m.

Space is limited, so call the gallery at 604-297-4422 to register for the workshops.

Burnaby Art Gallery is at 6344 Deer Lake Ave. See www.burnabyartgallery.ca for details.

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