Shannon Garden-Smith, In a hare’s form (series), pressed plant clippings, watercolour pigment, gelatin, wire, lamp cord, lightbulb, 2021.

Oxygen Art Centre is excited to announce the opening of dig a hole in the garden, a duo exhibition featuring artists Shannon Garden-Smith (Tkaronto/Toronto) and T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss (Skwxwu7mesh/Sto:Lo/Hawaiian/Swiss) on Saturday 11, June 2022.

Taking its name from Yoko Ono’s Cloud Piece (1963), dig a hole in the garden is an exhibition that explores plant collection as a material and cultural practice, with an interest in plant uses for pleasure, community resilience, and healing. The exhibition features works by artists Shannon Garden-Smith and T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss, as well as a temporary library presented both online and in person that will be linked with an online reading group.

The exhibition features Garden-Smith’s pigment stained gelatin lamp shades, In A Hare’s Form (2021), and a new site-specific gelatin installation that will shift throughout the exhibition’s duration. Through a form of alchemy, Garden-Smith transforms plant materials from detritus to sculptural blossoms. Theresa Wang describes the decorative light fixtures as suspending “various dried and pressed flora collected on the artist’s walks over the seasons, bringing (once) living things into the living milieu. In this way, these works consider ornamentation as not only a way to confound the passage of time, but also as a record of the durational and interspatial acts of foraging, gathering, and conserving.”

Artist, ethnobotanist, educator, and activist T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss will develop an herbarium during their time in the region. The herbarium will feature plant matter Indigenous to the region, as well as printed takeaways for visitors to create their own herbarium at home. In addition, Wyss transforms the small garden bed outside Oxygen’s facility, extending the exhibition outdoors. 

In writing about Wyss’s permaculture space in x̱aw̓s shew̓áy̓ New Growth (2019), Oscar Domingo Rajme observes that it “is a space where alternative forms of working and being together are not only made possible through the garden’s intention of being a communal place, but especially through what its existence implies. For a moment, it has broken the city’s colonial architectural desire to normalize the theft of land and to erase the histories and traditions of the Coast Salish peoples.” 

dig a hole in the garden also features a temporary library in the gallery space featuring texts that will be discussed through a reading group that will meet all five Wednesdays throughout the exhibition. Notes from the reading group discussions, as well as access to readings will be available on Oxygen’s website and on site.

The exhibition is co-curated by Greta Hamilton and Julia Prudhomme, and will be on view from 11 June – 16 July 2022. Oxygen Art Centre is an artist-run centre located at #3-320 Vernon Street, Nelson, BC via alleyway entrance. The exhibition will be open to the public Wednesdays to Saturdays from 1 to 5 pm. Prior to your visit please review Oxygen’s COVID-19 prevention protocols on their website.

Oxygen Art Centre