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AFK Blog
Oct 03
The impact of our Gallery education

​In conjunction with this year's teaching exhibition Memory • History • Story, we're pleased to be offering educational opportunities for students to experience art and First Peoples Principles of Learning, first hand.

Xwalacktun image for exhibit.jpg

                                   Xwalacktun, Ambleside Park Swa’y’wi 

Recently, the B.C. Ministry of Education developed new curriculum with a focus to indigenize all areas of learning. This change means not only adding and altering content in the various subject areas but also the methods used to teach these subjects. The exhibit provides students, educators and others with a resource to look at the way we, as individuals and as larger communities, learn.

The exhibition highlights three main sections:

1.     The front of the gallery celebrates the First Nations' crafts, materials and processes. The cedar tree plays an integral role in the spiritual beliefs and the ceremonial life of coastal First Nations and is a natural resource in the production of material goods. Cedar, the well-known symbol of the Northwest Coast, is represented by the welcome pole and the weavings. Other materials presented are Caribou and horsehair, used in the masks and the needle work.

2.     The main section of the gallery portrays the First Peoples Principles of Learning by grouping works into the four chosen areas of learning:

  • Learning ultimately supports the well-being of the self, the family, the community, the land, the spirits and the ancestors.
  • Learning is holistic, reflexive, reflective, experiential and relational (focused on connectedness, on reciprocal relationships and a sense of place).
  • Learning is embedded in memory, history and story.
  • Learning requires exploration of one's identity.

3.     The Process Gallery honours the work of Kenojuak Ashevak and other Inuit artists. The focus on animals is evident in much of the work.

The Mezzanine Gallery features a selection of limited edition prints from our Indigenous artists. These prints are  available for purchase at our online print shop.

The art in the show is taken from the AFK teaching collection with the exception of three pieces that are on loan. Most of our Indigenous art is exhibited with the exception of a few pieces by artists already represented.

Windows to Canadian Art

Our program brings Grade 5 students to the Gordon Smith Gallery for a full day of art education and hands-on art learning. Each year, we create a curriculum that supports our teaching exhibition. Through this curriculum, we are able to weave together lessons from the themes of the art, stories of the artists and relevant Canadian cultural references. By presenting works of our Indigenous artists and their stories, we are able to share the experiences and insights of our First People with the next generation of Canadians.

This school year, the exhibition will welcome more than 45 classes or about 1,000 students, so if you see groups of young people in the gallery next time you visit, they may likely be part of an all-day Canadian cultural experience.

Outreach program

Not every class can make it into the gallery, so when funding is available, we take the gallery to schools. Through our outreach program, master art teachers Veis Dokhani and Catherine Schechter brings a work of art from our permanent collection to students at elementary schools. In this two-hour long program, social studies is blended with visual art skills to collectively support and enrich the students' curriculum. Through this outreach program, the students are introduced to the stories and perspectives of our Indigenous artists.

Teacher training

Through the generous support of the Edith Lando Foundation, we are able to offer focused teacher training this fall, bringing First Peoples Principles of Learning to up to 30 elementary teachers. These generalist educators will receive training that will allow them to incorporate more opportunities for visual learning into their lesson plans, reaching 600-plus students.

This year's teaching exhibition Memory• History• Story is an exceptional collection of art and an invaluable means to share the perspectives of Indigenous artists with our young people.






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