SMGAN (cedar), embarks on a rare opportunity to trace the steps of Indigenous artist Tina Robinson. Her journey began from a dream leading her to hear her ancestors call to preserve the art of chilkat weaving and her traditional Sm’algyax language. Carrying on the tradition of storytelling through contemporary times, she shares a story of a bear encounter in the heart of the woods while skilfully navigating through the forest. Filmed in Lax Kwa’laams on the unceded territories of Ts’mysen Nation, this short experimental documentary captures the first step of the traditional Indigenous art form of chilkat weaving: the harvest. Robinson harvests yellow cedar which will later be turned into warp, a spool knee spun with wool and cedar for weaving. The natural beauty of mother Earth’s sacred space unfolds through this artist’s process, traditional practice and contemporary narrative. Harvesting cedar is not only significant to art practices but also is an act to preserve the rights to land. Once a tree is culturally modified, it can never be cut down and becomes an indication that the land belongs to the First people. This work highlights Robinson’s work and commitment to preserve her culture as an Indigenous artist and a mother of three who strives to pass on the knowledge of her ancestry to her children. Documenting cultural and creative practices through story-telling in modern times gives rise to the voices and the stories of our ancestors. A history that teaches us of our past to help us become the architects of our future, especially in these times of great change.
This work features artist: Tina Robinson.
Giselle Liu merges her embodied practices as a choreographer with her visual expressions to capture poetic movements of nature and humanity. After working 11 years abroad she’s returned to Canada to pursue an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts at Simon Fraser University. She strives to transform the powerful energy of human stories within a creative process into a visually embodied poetic experience to its viewers. Her research asks how movement uncovers our embodied interconnectedness with matter and energy.
She acknowledges that she is residing and working on the unceded traditional territories of the Ts’msyen Nation.