Boarder X

BoarderX-MAG install DBH4695x

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Jordan Bennett, Micheal Langan/Colonialism Skateboards (in collaboration with Kent Monkman), Bracken Hanuse Corlett, Roger Crait, Steven Davies, Mark Igloliorte, Mason Mashon, Meagan Musseau, Meghann O'Brien, Les Ramsay, and Amanda Strong

September 18 to November 15

Curated by Jaimie Isaac

Organized and circulated by Winnipeg Art Gallery

Boarder X presents contemporary work by artists from Indigenous nations across Canada who surf, skate, and snowboard. The exhibition reveals how these practices are vehicles to challenge conformity and status quo, as well as demonstrate knowledge and performed relationships with the land. Whether reading the urban terrain, making a cement jungle a playground, riding natural contours of white immovable mountains, or shredding the ever-changing waves, it's not about controlling land and water, but being humbled by their power.

Through painting, mixed media, carving, weaving, photography, performance, and video, the artists reflect cultural, political, environmental, and social perspectives, as well as critiques about the territories we occupy. Artworks in Boarder X present narratives and observations of traditions, movement, balance, and entanglements of space, place, and belonging. Mobilizing traditional histories, the works conceptually bridge the past and present with reinventions in carving, weaving, and performance. Video and photography capture the energy of boarding with unbridled motivation and physicality. The exhibition is an affirmation of cultural resilience and an acknowledgement of ongoing respect and reverence for the land.

With four public skateparks, Nanaimo is a Vancouver Island destination for skateboarding, set between the world-renowned mountains on the mainland and the surf culture on the Island's west coast. Boarder X is an exciting opportunity to celebrate the rich cultures surrounding these activities, through the perspectives of eleven Indigenous artists.

Skateboarding, surfing, and snowboarding are dynamic and expressive practices that bridge art and sport. To further build these connections we have made a mini half-pipe in our Art Lab education space that will be active throughout the run of the exhibition. Join us to experience this exciting project, and to celebrate our inquiry question: What moves?

We are also taking care to make sure your visit to the gallery is as safe as possible. Up to twelve visitors will be allowed in the gallery at one time, and everyone will be asked to wear masks, follow physical distancing, and safety protocols.

Everyone Welcome. Tuesdays to Thursdays: 12-5 PM, Fridays: 12-9 PM, Saturdays: 10-5 PM, and Sundays: 12-5 PM 

Image: Bracken Hanuse Corlett
Potlatch or Die
Photo by Don Hall courtesy of McKenzie Art Gallery
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       VIU Standard 1 2020

Boarder X Videos




All Ages All Play
Saturdays, September 19 - November 14

Drop by the Gallery, check out the Boarder X exhibition and join us in Art Lab between 10 AM-1 PM for artful activities and watch local skaters fly around Art Lab's half pipe!

Each Saturday during Boarder X there will be an art activity from button making and skateboard design to stickers and stencils.

All ages welcome

Recommended donation: $5 per person

There will be space for three families or groups at a time. Covid protocols will be in place including wearing masks and social distancing.

Tour, Skate & Make

Book your investigative tour of Boarder X and explore the intersections of art and boarding culture through the work of Indigenous artists. In Art Lab get an introduction to skating with a skateboard mentor on the newly installed mini half pipe, make a cool button, and design a skateboard graphic.

$90 (helmets included ) | 90 minutes | 10 person maximum

Contact the gallery to book: 250.754.1750 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Interested in skating the half pipe?

Book your hour with a friend (two person limit) and skate in Art Lab.

With a Mentor: Fridays 3-9 PM, Saturdays 10 AM-1 PM, Sundays 1-5 PM
Without a Mentor (for experienced Skaters): Tuesdays 1-5 PM, Thursdays 12-3 PM

Recommended donation: $5

Contact the gallery to book: 250.754.1750 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

All skate participants (or legal guardians if under 18) must fill out a skate liability waiver prior to skating the half pipe, which can be downloaded here: Boarder X - Release of Liability Form
You can fill out and email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. prior to your booking, or hard copies will be available to fill out at the Gallery if you are unable to print this form before you arrive.

Exhibition Tour

Join our staff for a guided tour through Boarder X. Learn more about how these artists in Boarder X and how their works have related skateboarding, surfing, and snowboarding to Indigenous ways of being .

$40 | 45 minutes

Contact the gallery to book: 250.754.1750 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Small Gatherings


Charlotte Zhang, The Lining, video, 2018. Collection of Nanaimo Art Gallery, donation of the artist.

Small Gatherings

Sheri Bakes
Tiwuxiwulh Tyrone Elliott
Carole Itter
Sara Robichaud
Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun
Charlotte Zhang

July 24 to August 30


At a time when many of us are in intense proximity with close family and friends but cannot gather with our broader communities to celebrate or even mourn together, we can find solace in small gatherings. In both being together and staying apart we are enacting practices of care. It is this relationship between gathering and care that is the core of this exhibition.

Small Gatherings brings together three artworks from the Nanaimo Art Gallery collection with works by three local artists. Through painting, cedar weaving, drawing, video, and sculpture, the works in the exhibition embody different approaches to gathering that are initiated in the process of making, and continue to speak through new gatherings with visitors in the gallery.

Small Gatherings is not only the first exhibition at the galley since the onset of the COVID 19 pandemic, but it is also the first exhibition in our 2020/2021 inquiry What moves?

We are also taking care to make sure your visit to the gallery is as safe as possible. A maximum of six visitors will be allowed in the gallery at one time, and everyone will be asked to follow physical distancing and safety protocols.

Everyone Welcome. Tue to Friday, 12 to 5pm, Sat 10am to 5pm, and starting August 2 - Sun 12 to 5pm

Tours: Small Gatherings in Small Gatherings

Join Art Education Coordinator Yvonne Vander Kooi for engaging tours of the exhibition for groups of up to 6 visitors.

By appointment: Tuesday - Friday, 12-5
Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 250 754 1750 ext.25 to book  

A Generational Retrospective

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A Generational Retrospective

Sandra Semchuk

February 7 - April 5, 2020
Join us for the Opening on Thursday, February 6, 7 PM
In A Generational Retrospective, Ukrainian-Canadian artist Sandra Semchuk shares stories that look beyond her own perspective and her own lifetime. The exhibition includes work made across almost fifty years of practice including early co-operative photographs made with her father, Martin Semchuk and her daughter, Rowenna Losin, and collaborations with her late husband, Rock Cree actor, orator and artist, James Nicholas, and with singer/composer, Jerry DesVoignes. The exhibition also includes recent video portraits dedicated to future generations that are made in collaboration with Vancouver Island-based Cree, Tsimshian, Gitksan, and M├ętis artist Skeena Reece. Also featured are photo and video installations that consider generations in relation to the ocean and the forest.
Sandra Semchuk has exhibited widely across Canada and internationally, and her works reside in the collections of the Vancouver Art Gallery, the National Gallery of Canada, and many others. She was a co-founder of the Photographers Gallery in Saskatoon, and was Associate Professor at Emily Carr University in Vancouver from 1987 until her recent retirement. In 2018 she was awarded the Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts.

A Generational Retrospective brings together works from Semchuk's lifelong dialogue across ages and cultures, and is the final show in a year in which Nanaimo Art Gallery asks the question "What are generations?"
Download Sandra Semchuk in conversation Nanaimo Art Gallery Curator Jesse Birch.

Image: Sandra Semchuk
Co-operative self-portrait, hand play, Rowenna and I, RR6, Saskatoon,Saskatchewan
Silver gelatin print


The Stories Were Not Told (Cancelled due to COVID)

Book Launch & Reading
April 4, 1 pm

In addition to her work as an artist, Semchuk has recently published The Stories Were Not Told, a book of writing and photographs that brings to light the experiences of Ukrainian Canadians during the First World War. Join us in the gallery for a special reading and book signing.
From 1914 to 1920, thousands of men who had immigrated to Canada from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Germany, and the Ottoman Empire were unjustly imprisoned as "enemy aliens," some with their families. Many communities in Canada where internees originated do not know these stories of Ukrainians, Germans, Bulgarians, Croatians, Czechs, Hungarians, Italians, Jews, Alevi Kurds, Armenians, Ottoman Turks, Poles, Romanians, Russians, Serbians, Slovaks, and Slovenes, amongst others. While most internees were Ukrainians, almost all were civilians.
The Stories Were Not Told presents this largely unrecognized event through photography, cultural theory, and personal testimony, including stories told at last by internees and their descendants. Semchuk describes how lives and society have been shaped by acts of legislated discrimination and how to move toward greater reconciliation, remembrance, and healing. This is necessary reading for anyone seeking to understand the cross-cultural and inter-generational consequences of Canada's first national internment operations.
The Stories Were Not Told is published by University of Alberta Press and has been made possible by a grant from the Endowment Council of the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund.


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150 Commercial Street
Nanaimo, British Columbia

+1 (250) 754-1750
Tue - Sat: 10 - 5 PM
Sun: 12 - 5 PM



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