Kepe'kek from the Narrows of the Great Harbour
September 30, 2017- January 21, 2018
Kepe'kek from the Narrows of the Great Harbour is a collaborative photo-based exhibition presented at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, as part of Photopolis, a Halifax photography festival held every three years in the city. To mark the 100th anniversary of the devastating Halifax Explosion in 1917, Photopolis established the Turtle Grove Project inviting Indigenous youth artists and makers, with support from established artists and the community, to participate in a unique opportunity to learn more about an early Mi'kmaq settlement by the Narrows that was destroyed the morning of December 6th - 100 years ago. Five remarkable Mi'kmaq youth responded to the call - Aiden Gillis, Brandy Bernard, Kehisha Wilmot, Sabrina DiMattia and William Johnson.
Over the past year, the youth have worked with emerging artist and youth mentor, Killa Mitchell-Atencio, and photo mentor Hannah Minzloff, with support from educators and leaders from the Mi’kmaq community, Photopolis, the Nova Scotia Museum of the Atlantic, the NS Archives, NSCAD University, and the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia, amongst others.
Kepe'kek presents a visual story about Turtle Grove - both collective and individual reflections. Through guided walks, photographic explorations, discussions and storytelling with researchers and historians, studio workshops, and visits to view related art and artifacts in the permanent collections of the various organizations, the youth learned more about their cultural heritage and this small Mi'kmaq community and its people.
In addition to photographs, the exhibition includes paintings, beadwork, maps, drawings, sculptural installations, and literary responses. Works by established contemporary artists Cathy Martin, Hannah Minzloff, Wilma Needham, and Alan Syliboy are also on view as well as an early watercolour attributed to William Eagar.
This exhibition is funded by the HRM 100th Anniversary Grant Program and the RBC Foundation.