The Seventh: Artist Conversation
Coast Salish Design Principles and Intersectional Collaboration

November 25, 2023

KWÍKWI: Lauren Brevner and James Nexw’Kalus-Xwalacktun Harry in conversation with Xwalacktun Rick Harry, Tʼuyʼtʼtanat-Cease Wyss, and Tawx’sin Yexwulla Aaron Nelson-Moody, moderated by Jenn Jackson


Saturday, November 25, 2:00pm at the Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre located on the 2nd floor of Goldcorp Centre for the Arts (GCA) at Simon Fraser University. Join artists KWÍKWI: Lauren Brevner and James Nexw’Kalus-Xwalacktun Harry in conversation with Xwalacktun Rick Harry, Tʼuyʼtʼtanat-Cease Wyss, and Tawx’sin Yexwulla Aaron Nelson-Moody. Introduction and moderation by Or Gallery Director Jenn Jackson.


Together the artists will discuss Coast Salish design principles and intersectional collaboration as it relates to KWÍKWI: Lauren Brevner and James Nexw’Kalus-Xwalacktun Harry’s exhibition, The Seventh, on view at Or Gallery from October 13, 2023, to February 10, 2024. The artists will engage the exhibition’s principles of Indigenous representation and discuss land-based gestures in contemporary art.


This conversation is free and open to all, and is co-sponsored by Or Gallery, SFU Galleries, and the Audain Foundation. Registration is recommended but not required.

This event is free and open to all. Registration is recommended but not required.


Participant Bios

Artists Lauren Brevner and James Nexw’Kalus-Xwalacktun Harry have been collaborators since 2014. Brevner’s practice is deeply inspired by her Japanese and Trinidadian heritage as well as matriarchal influences, while Harry’s practice combines traditional Sḵwx̱wú7mesh histories, forms and designs. Under the name KWÍKWI, they create meditative compositions that invite cross-cultural dialogue and embrace multiple expressions of personal, political, social, and spiritual practices. Their work ranges from large-scale public artworks to intimate portraits, incorporates a wide breadth of materials and engages in bridging community through generous relationality.

Internationally recognized Sḵwx̱wú7mesh artist, Xwalacktun O.B.C., was born and raised in Squamish and carries with him the rich ancestries of his father (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation) and mother (Kwakwa̱ka̱ʼwakw Nation). He was given his Indigenous name by his father, Pekultn, who was a hereditary chief, originally from the Seymour Creek area in North Vancouver. Xwalacktun attended Emily Carr University and Capilano College and credits both with helping him acquire skills in starting his career. His endurance and deep commitment to community has propelled his practice as an artist. He has received numerous honors and awards including an Honorary Doctorate from Emily Carr University (2022), the BC Achievement Foundation Award of Distinction for Lifetime Achievement (2016), the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2013), and the Order of British Columbia (2012).

Healing, growth, and raising awareness of the environment are central themes in Xwalacktun’s work. His focus on traditional stories and lived experiences uphold the ways that ancient knowledge can be called upon to help heal individuals and community.

Artist, educator, and traditional storyteller Tawx’sin Yexwulla Aaron Nelson-Moody is a member of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh First Nation who lives and works in Capilano Village on the North Shore of Vancouver. His practice engages Coast Salish cultural revival through knowledge sharing and traditions of intercultural connection. Nelson-Moody has spent several decades working in regional schools and with local community groups on projects that engage Indigenous representation and visual sovereignty. He currently works as an Instructor in the Department of Fine Arts at Langara College where he teaches Indigenous woodcarving and principles of public art.

Nelson-Moody’s Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation name, Tawx’sin Yexwulla, means “Splashing Eagle.” According to stories, he was given the name after a canoe trip down the BC coast from Bella Bella, where his unique paddling style frequently soaked the paddlers sitting just behind him. The nickname stuck, and to this day most people call him “Splash.”

T’uy’t’tanat Cease Wyss is a Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Sto:lo, Hawaiian, and Swiss educator, interdisciplinary artist, Indigenous ethnobotanist and food security activist engaged in community based teaching and sharing. Wyss’s 30-year practice connects storytelling and collaborative initiatives through restoration of Indigenous plants and natural spaces. Wyss has been recognized for exchanging traditional knowledge in remediating relationships to land alongside themes of site-specific engagement, language revitalization, digital media, and weaving. Wyss has participated and exhibited at galleries, museums, festivals, and public space such as Vancouver Art Gallery, Morris, Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Contemporary Art Gallery, and the PuSh Festival. Their work can be found in various collections such as the National Library of Canada, Special Collections at the Walter Phillips Gallery, The Banff Centre, and the Vancouver Public Library. Since 2019 they have led the transformation of x̱aw̓s shew̓áy̓ New Growth «新生林» an urban Indigenous garden located in Vancouver BC. They have received numerous honours and awards including an Honorary Doctorate from Emily Carr University (2022), City of Vancouver Artist Studio Award (2022-2025), the City of Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award for film and new media (2010).