Bob Soderlund's Nuu-Chah-Nulth photo exhibit: How we are – how we want to be…
An exhibition of First Nation photography takes place at the Alberni Valley museum in Port Alberni this month.
A photography exhibition encompassing 25 years of Nuu-chah-nulth culture is running at the Alberni Valley Museum until January 26th. The exhibit, "How We Are, How We Want To Be," is a collection of the career works of photographer Bob "Suds" Soderlund who was the editor of the Ha-Shilth-Sa first nations newspaper for 25 years. This is the first complete showing of his works and is a very special opportunity to look back through a quarter century of cultural and intimate moments of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth. They also document the political growth and cultural change during this critical time period. The Ha Shilth Sa existed as an independent media source for Nuu Chah Nulth for 30 years. This exhibit provides an opportunity to consider the role specialized media can play, as a source of documentation and communication, in cultivating political change.
The Ha-Shilth-Sa was started in 1974 by George Watts who was then chair of the ntc. George asked Bob if he would be interested in volunteering to be a photographer as it was an avid hobby of Bobs. This was the beginning of an amazing journey for Bob that took him to all the nooks and crannies of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth territory. "I always had my camera with me," said Soderlund. "It was enjoyable and educational, going to people's places and events."
The exhibit curators are Dawn Foxcroft and Kelly Poirier, both members of the Tseshaht First Nation. For them the photographs on exhibit speak to events they experienced as children and are now, as adults, able to reflect upon and recognize as telling the important story of cultural change. The idea came to them 3 years ago and has been a work in progress for them ever since. "Through our whole lives we have seen these photos," said Foxcroft-Poirier. "They are a tremendous legacy, not only to the Nuu-chah-nulth but to the entire community. We felt they should be shared and celebrated."
The exhibit photos cover most of the Nuu-Chah-Nulth territory, with depictions of dancers in ceremonial costumes, food fishing, sporting events, political protests and daily family life.
The exhibition is open to the public Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10 am to 5 pm, Thursdays to 8 pm at the Echo Centre, 4255 Wallace Street in Port Alberni. Call (250) 720-2523 for more information.
Bob Soderlund photo exhibit of Nuu-Na-Nulth photographs he took over 25 years of work as editor of the Ha-Shilth-Sa first nations newspaper.