dig a hole in the garden

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 (Tkaronto/Toronto), and T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss (Skwxwu7mesh/ Sto:Lo/ Hawaiian/ Swiss), 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” (2022).


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《新生林》” (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” (2020).


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 1:00 – 5:00 PM. Prior to your visit please review Oxygen’s COVID-19 prevention protocols on their website.


This exhibition is generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts, the British Columbia Arts Council, and Columbia Kootenay Cultural Alliance.



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



Artist Bios:


T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss



T’uy’t’tanat-Cease Wyss is an interdisciplinary artist who works with digital media, writing, performance and land based remediations as her multi-disciplinary arts practice. She is a community engaged and public artist and ethnobotanist. Her works range over 30 years and have always focussed on sustainability, permaculture techniques, Coast Salish Cultural elements and have included themes of ethnobotany, indigenous language revival, Salish weaving and digital media technology. Cease has focussed on connecting her Polynesian roots to her Salish roots through weaving and digital media projects and on raising visibility towards land based works.


Her collaboration with Anne Riley with “A Constellation of Remediation” and “For the Radical Love of Butterflies” have been tremendous examples of how indigenous communities need to unite through a cultural lens in order to raise awareness about sustainability and protecting species at risk, as well as recognition of our part in the colonial destruction as well as the potential remediation and restoration of ecosystems. Anne and Cease were long-listed for the 2021 Sobey Art Award for their work on “A Constellation of Remediation” and “For the Radical Love of Butterflies”. Cease dedicates time to the IM4 Lab at ECUAD as both an advisor and developer, where she has been expanding her practice of animation and Futurisms projects, building on AR [Augmented Reality] development using Blender, Unity and Spark AR.


Shannon Garden-Smith


Shannon Garden-Smith (she/her) is an uninvited settler of Scottish, Irish, and British heritage and an artist living and working between Tkaronto/Toronto and Stratford, Canada. She completed an MFA at the University of Guelph (’17) and a BA at the University of Toronto (’12). Working primarily in sculpture and installation, Garden-Smith’s recent projects focus on the surfaces that clad contemporary built space and their material-social impact. She has recently shown work with The Bows (Mohkínstsis/Calgary, AB), Franz Kaka (Toronto, ON), Gallery TPW (Toronto, ON), Christie Contemporary (Toronto, ON), Pumice Raft (Toronto, ON), Modern Fuel (Kingston, ON), and TIER: The Institute for Endotic Research (Berlin). 




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