“One of our responsibilities as human people is to find ways to enter into reciprocity with the more-than-human world. We can do it through gratitude, through ceremony, through land stewardship, science, art, and in everyday acts of practical reverence.”

Robin Wall Kimmerer from Braiding Sweetgrass

Upon entering this exhibition, visitors are invited to consider their own relationship with the natural world. Through the use of a variety of flora, each of these works is exploring ways of meaning making that are in alignment with nature.

The choice to use plants as subject matter and medium is an obvious parallel between the work by these three artists. But there is a second similarity that emerges the more you spend time with these pieces. Each artist showcases an inherent desire to share knowledge with the viewer. Cerman’s work merges science and art, and investigates new ways of learning about a plant’s DNA through sound. Mukherjee’s pieces allow the viewer to interact directly with the natural world, and explore self-sustaining ecosystems. Woo’s plant-dyed textiles allow us to contemplate environmentally sustainable ways of creating colour. 

These works are slow and contemplative, demonstrating each artist’s reverence for the connections between humans and plant life. As you walk around the space, spend some time examining these works and considering the nature of your own interactions with the world around you. 

Exhibition dates: September 4 – October 2, 2021

Where: Deer Lake Gallery, 6584 Deer Lake Ave, Burnaby, BC.

Gallery entry is drop-in and free (by donation).

Artist Series

Please join us for the activities we have planned for the exhibition! There is a mix of in-person and online events planned. All events may be transitioned to online through Zoom as Provincial Health Orders evolve.

Artist Talk with Laara Cerman

When: August 18, starting at 3:00pm

Where: Online and livestreamed at the Deer Lake Art Gallery

Online and in-person, listen to Laara Cerman talk about her collaboration with Dr. Scott Pownall to create Flora’s Song in C Minor.

Hearing an antique music box is one way to directly experience history as the preserved music has not degraded over time. We are now at the dawn of a new way to preserve history, that of life’s DNA. This talk will explore how Cerman came to create this installation, along with her current projects with her artist residency at the Cassiar Cannery

Natural Dye Techniques with Daphne Woo

When: September 17, starting at 6:00pm

Where: Deer Lake Gallery

Daphne Woo, the mind behind AMACATA, will lead participants through the natural dye techniques that she uses for her own creations.

This workshop is great for artists, looking to learn new techniques or further their knowledge of textiles and dyeing techniques.

Tabletop Gardening with Abhisek Mukherjee

When: September 25, starting at 10:00am

Where: Deer Lake Gallery

Create your own self-sustaining ecosystem with the expert, Abhisek Mukherjee. In this workshop, you will learn to forage and build a small tabletop garden for your home.

This workshop is well-suited for children, families and all-ages. Some outdoor activity will be required to forage for natural materials. Please dress appropriately for all weather.

About the artists

Abhisek Mukherjee (°1987, Kolkata , India) creates mixed media artworks, sculptures and installations. Abi currently lives and works in Burnaby. By exploring the concept of landscape in a nostalgic way. This collection of micro ecosystems investigates the dynamics of landscape, including the manipulation of its effects and the limits of spectacle based on our assumptions of what landscape means to us. 

Abi received a Bachelor of design in 2010 and Masters of design in 2016. He immigrated to BC in 2019 and practices his art at his residence in Burnaby. He considers the city like his muse, being abundant in nature reflective of his art form. His key purpose and ideology to create biophilic designs is to establish a connection between art and its collector.

His mixed media artworks establish a link between the landscape’s reality and that imagined by its conceiver. These works focus on concrete questions that determine our existence. By choosing mainly organic objects, he tries to develop forms that do not follow logical criteria, but are based only on subjective associations and formal parallels, which incite the viewer to make new personal associations. This results in the fact that the artist can easily imagine an own interpretation without being hindered by the historical reality. With Plato’s allegory of the cave in mind, he creates intense personal moments masterfully created by means of rules and omissions, acceptance and refusal.

Daphne Woo is the natural dye artist behind AMACATA. Her prior experience includes garment development for international sportswear brands, after graduating from KPU in 1995 with a Fashion Design & Technology diploma. Amid more than 20 years in the apparel industry, Daphne steadily grew weary of contributing to mass consumerism. In
2016, she made the leap out of corporate apparel. She craved to contribute towards solving a problem rather than feeding into a capitalistic mindset. Consequently, while AMACATA was born in 2010, it was rekindled in 2017 as a social venture, breathing with new purpose and joining the revolution against fast fashion. Working with natural textiles, and dyeing them exclusively with natural dyes, Daphne feels best equipped to offer her work as a medium to spark further awareness and conversation. She was first introduced to natural dyes and the craft of Shibori in 1991 from then CapU instructor and now dear friend, Yvonne Wakabayashi. Daphne observes regenerative ways of being & creating through appreciation for Nature, transience, and the quality of evolving beautiful things. Her
cumulative experience of having lived in The Netherlands for a decade, and then returning to her homeland of B.C., Canada, continues to shape her identity. As Daphne transitions from Product to Art, it seems more so that Art encourages her towards her authentic self.

Based in Vancouver, Canada, Laara Cerman’s work explores the intersection of art, science, and history through investigating patches of wildness that survive within suburban and urban landscapes.  Her explorations continue into the forests of British Columbia where she aims to teach herself how to see the diversity of the forest floor in the midst of an era where this knowledge has lost its priority but not its importance.  With an ongoing practice of collecting wild plant specimens, Laara is creating a digital herbarium documenting the life cycle of plants while learning about different aspects and uses of flora growing in Canada’s most biodiverse province.  Through learning about the role of plants in the ecosystem and the gifts they offer us, one becomes more conscious of the mutual connections of life and the importance of reciprocity between humans and the Earth.

Laara creates her photographs by capturing multiple digital images and then pieces them together in post-production, a skill she has mastered through working as a freelance retoucher in the commercial photography industry.  Currently, she creates her digital images using a regular, flatbed, office scanner rather than a sophisticated camera. Paradoxically, the crude scanner produces images that appear hyper-real in part due to their macro and larger-than-life clarity that emphasizes extreme detail one would normally have difficulty seeing with the naked eye. The images have an extremely narrow depth of field and low luminosity, making the subject appear to be floating in a black void of space, creating a feeling akin to a memento mori.

Recently Laara has begun exploring metalwork as a medium and has been creating public artwork for various municipalities around the Lower Mainland in B.C.  She is participating in a national, virtual residency: STEPS CreateSpace BIPOC Public Art Residency over a 10 month period in 2021 as a way to expand her public art practice. Laara is the only B.C. artist selected to participate in the CreateSpace residency amongst 10 artists across Canada.  For her residency project she has also been awarded the 2021 public art grant from Squamish Arts Council.