Join the Campbell River Art Gallery in Spirit Square on Saturday, April 1st for a demonstration on how to traditionally brain tan a hide, facilitated by Mu’la artist Shawn Decaire. 

At this demonstration Decaire will discuss the traditional, pre-contact, way of processing raw hide to tanned leather, while discussing Indigenous historical and ceremonial uses of the finished material. In connection with the current exhibition Mu’la, Decaire wishes to create a space of knowledge sharing and community connection.

The event will take place from 12-2 p.m. in Spirit Square. To register and go here.

Decaire will also be hosting a ceremonial fire and feast on Saturday, April 29th from 3-5 p.m.

The event will start at the Campbell River Spit with a ceremonial fire.

Decaire said the ceremony will “pay respect to Goliath and the relationship with Jorge Lewis and myself, and to send Goliath back to the spirit world.” Goliath is the drum featured in Mu’la that Decaire made with Lewis in 2013. 

Following the ceremony everyone is invited to gather at the gallery at 4 p.m. for a feast at the Campbell River Art Gallery.

For more information or to register for the event go here.

Shawn Decaire will be burning his drum ‘Goliath’, created with Jorge Lewis, in a ceremony at the Spit on April 29th. The drum is currently on display at the Campbell River Art Gallery as part of the exhibition Mu’la.

Shawn Decaire descends from the We Wai Kai tribe of the Laxwaxdaxw Nation.

In 1999 he lived as a member of the homeless population on the streets of the downtown eastside, after which he went home and began to heal from addiction by learning his cultural ways in art and song. Over the last 20+ years he has learned to carve by hand and chainsaw, make traditional bentwood boxes, design and paint in his cultural way, process animal skins to make traditional leather and hand drums, and harvest and gather traditional foods and barks. All these practices were taught to him by different Kwakwaka’wakw Elders. Shawn Deciare was the Walter Morgan Studio artist in residence for 2022.

Mu’la is exhibiting at the Campbell River Art Gallery until April 29th. Curated by Nadine Bariteau, it features the work of four artists. 

“What I learned is that all together we are strong,” said Mu’la curator Nadine Bariteau. “It’s the only way we can grow and succeed. I’m grateful to have learn this and found a group of humans that wanted to do the same.”

Mu’la means Gratitude in Kwak̓wala. This state of appreciation fosters a sense of our collective responsibility and shared humanity. Each artist’s work is a manifestation of their gratitude. Charles Jules’ gratitude goes to the people of the Hive, the space where he practices his art. Jennifer Joseph another one of the Mu’la artists is truly grateful for the teachings passed down from her ancestors, particularly those shared by her mother and grandmother with whom she learned to weave. John “Guy” Sharkey’s gratitude goes toward Beau Dick, his mentor for 30 years, who taught him the traditional way of carving. Finally, Shawn wants to pay tribute to the late Jorge Lewis who taught him 20 years ago to make his very first Manat’si (drum).

The Campbell River Art Gallery is open Thursday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.