Join us Saturday, Jan. 27, to celebrate the opening of RETURN, a convergent artistic program that brings together the politicized lens-based work of contemporary feminist photographers Nancy Bleck (Vancouver) and Eileen Leier (Kamloops).

The day begins with a community make art project from 11am to 1pm. Click here for more details.

At 1pm there will be an artist talk followed by a reception.

The collective experiences of solidarity, resistance and healing journeys are at the forefront of these knowledge-sharing documentation/witness projects. In preparation for their exhibition, Nancy and Eileen have travelled to the Comox Valley to spend time on the land and with the CVAG curatorial staff, sharing their experiences and perspectives. The idea of returning is the pivotal concept of this thematic program – within each return there is change, over time and in relation to shifting contexts and perspectives.

Eileen Leier will present Sqlelten7úw’i – Red Salmon – Sockeye: reconsidering the Adams River Run, which looks at local salmon stream ecologies and is comprised of extensive photographic and video documentation of the recurring salmon returns at Roderick Haig-Brown provincial park. Juxtaposed against this powerful narrative, the artist asks the viewer to consider the equally prevalent associated phenomena – that of amassed urban tourist constructs – assembled kiosks, food vendors and souvenir tents. This project, activates a dialogue of particular relevance to the Comox Valley as a hot-bed of aquaculture.

Nancy Bleck will present new projects woven together with select works from five portfolios, produced over a 20-year span. In her most recent body of work Uniting Condor and Eagle Nations in ceremony she documented historic signing of treaties of these two nations coming together to restore and protect Mother Earth. Children of Tomorrow, done in collaboration with the Tsiel Waututh Nation, is an exhibition that looks at the practice of sustainability across generations and shared between cultures. She is co-founder of the Uts’am Witness Project done in collaboration with the Squamish Nation that connects wilderness conservation with the First Nations culture, art and social justice. Nancy’s work deeply investigates contemporary concepts of land, water, stewardship, community, health and violence.

Comox Valley Art Gallery