Vertical Gallery Inaugural Exhibition: Canned Regalia
Artist: Cathi Charles Wherry (Anishnabe)
Curator: Brigitte Potter-Mäl
Date: October 7 to 30, 1993
"Last year I participated in a traditional Thanksgiving gathering at my father's home reserve in Rama, Ontario. During these three days and nights of meeting with relations, ceremonial drumming and dancing, I had a strong desire for regalia appropriate for this important and beautiful occasion.
"The day we left the reserve, my uncles, cousin and I drove to some special places in the neighbouring area. At one point, we stopped at a commercial native art gallery in which there [was] a small museum. My uncle took me over to a glass case and pointed out a beaded buckskin dress. The lineage o the tag revealed that it had once belonged to an aunt who was very significant to me when I was a child.
"Like many First Nations People, I am discovering pieces of information, stories and images which are often in the possession of others. This deepens my understanding of where I come from and who I am. This often difficult experience was underscored as I stood their in my jeans and t-shirt looking at a part of my family's history."
"Artist's Statement", Open Space Archives, Victoria, B.C. (Box 23, File 1992: V1)
Cathi Charles Wherry is an artist of First Nations Anishnabe descent born in Port Hope, Ontario. She completed her BFA in Visual Arts at the University of Victoria not long after this exhibition. Her work explores issues of identity and reconciliation of her mixed Anishnabe and European ancestry.
In its original form ,The Vertical Gallery at Open Space was a site-specific installation venue on the lower landing of the centre's entrance. Specifically planned to feature Victoria artist's work, it was designed as a vitrine: a wall-mounted six-foot by three-foot glassed-in cabinet with portable shelves. For the inaugural exhibition the Vertical Gallery featured Canned Regalia, which consisted of rows of quart jars containing miniature representations of glass and hair dresses, suspended from the jar mouth.