The House of The Ghosts, 2008
Photo: Trevor Mills, Vancouver Art Gallery
|Marianne Nicolson, a member of the Dzawada’enuxw Tribe of the
Kwakwaka’wakw Nation, first came to prominence in 1998 when she scaled a vertical
rock face in Kingcome Inlet to paint a 28 x 38-foot pictograph—the first in the inlet for
over sixty years—to mark the continued vitality of her ancestral village of Gwa’yi.
In a similarly monumental gesture, Nicolson’s site-specific project The House of the
Ghosts imaginatively transforms the Georgia Street façade of the Vancouver Art Gallery
into a Northwest Coast ceremonial house. Using high-powered lighting, Nicolson will
project the vision of a house front and totem poles onto the Gallery façade from dusk
to dawn every night. By altering the Gallery in this way, the building itself becomes a
site of cultural exchange, emphasizing its importance as a transformative space while
wryly commenting on its historic role as a courthouse and jail where, decades ago, First
Nations peoples were punished for defying the government’s Potlach ban. Nicolson sees
this work as a positive and symbolic reassertion of a culture in a place where it was once
forbidden, in a gesture that speaks to the vibrancy of Kwakwaka’wakw culture and the
need to sustain it.
The House of the Ghosts is a site-specific artwork illuminating the Georgia Street facade of the Vancouver Art Gallery from dusk to dawn every night.
This site-specific project is organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and curated by Daina Augaitis, chief curator/associate director. It is generously supported by the Audain Foundation.
The Audain Fondation