MOTHLIKE/silvery-blue – Celebrating nature with artist Amy-Claire Huestis

Protecting biodiversity in ecological areas currently under threat, due to human development and expansion, is an important focus for artist Amy-Claire Huestis and her collaborators. Huestis displays MOTHLIKE/silvery-blue at the Richmond Gallery, June 29–Aug 20.

The exhibit draws particular attention to the proposed expansion of the Roberts Bank Terminal in Delta, B.C., adjacent to Brunswick Point.

Communal connection with nature

Huestis’ work celebrates human kinship with birds and the interconnectedness of all things. MOTHLIKE/silvery-blue is a rich framework for communal connection with nature. In 2022, Huestis, with the help of her collaborators, led a site-specific performance at Hwlhits’um (Brunswick Point /Canoe Pass) – a place of critical ecological importance for migratory birds within the Key Biodiversity Area of the Fraser River Estuary, on the ancestral and present-day lands of the Coast Salish Peoples.

Carried through this storytelling exhibition is the mytho-poetic tale of Silvery Blue, a fictional character who embodies the land. The artworks in the exhibition are fashioned to be re-animated through dance, sound performance, and community participation – through this, a story cycle unfolds of Silvery Blue’s transformation from woman to butterfly to land. Huestis has created educational and intergenerational community partnerships and programs to facilitate kinship to the more-than-human world.

MOTHLIKE/Silvery-blue by Amy-Claire Huestis. | Photo by Amy-Claire Huestis.

Huestis has also built a “Nest-work” in the back gallery as a place for communal action and knowledge that includes bird-friendly window treatments, artworks, and live footage of a barn owl nest box from Richmond Park’s Nest Box Program. The Nest-work will house gatherings, performances and storytelling activities on birds and the river estuary.

The artworks are made with ecologically friendly materials including recycled packing materials, foam, and fabrics, natural pigments, and honest cotton. Sound design and composition by Huestis’s main collaborator, Omar Zubair, plays throughout the gallery.

For the exhibition, the artists followed an experimental score for the summer solstice composed of walks on the dike trail, a participatory public performance at Garry Point Park, and a dance performance in the Gallery. Artworks, recordings, and costumes from the 2022 and 2023 performances are also featured.

The Delta Animal Resistance: Children’s Storytime + Performance

As part of the summer solstice celebration, Huestis, Omar Zubair and OWL (Orphaned Wildlife Rehab) have organized a July 8 meet with a live owl and storytelling performance, for children aged 7-12, of Huestis’ children’s book The Delta Animal Resistance. Admission is free.

Book cover, The Delta Animal Resistance. | Photo courtesy of Amy-Claire Huestis.

Huestis will also perform with sound designer and composer Omar Zubair in an active storytime for the audience. OWL educators will be present to teach the public about owls. Live footage of an active barn owl nest located in Richmond will also be available.

Each family will be entitled to a Four Ways to Care for Birds children’s activity book, and learn about bird-friendly actions for children:

1. Imagine how a bird sees the world.

2. Keep cats indoors.

3. Make windows safe.

4. Join the Delta Animal Resistance League.

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