New gallery exhibit commemorates 1970s inquiry
By Cheryl Minns, Arts Editor
Thunder in our Voices, the latest exhibit in the Amelia Douglas Gallery, showcases how powerful a group of people can be when they fight for what they believe in using only their voices. Curated by Drew Ann Wake, the exhibit features a collection of Linda MacCannell’s contemporary portraits of the participants who spoke during the Berger Inquiry.
The inquiry, led by Justice Thomas R. Berger in the 1970s, was to determine whether or not to run a proposed natural gas pipeline from Alaska, through BC down the Mackenzie Valley, and to Chicago. After local Aboriginal youths and elders testified how they felt the pipeline would affect the land, the proposal for the largest pipeline project in North America was declined. Wake and MacCannell covered the event as media, Wake as a journalist with CBC North, and MacCannell as a photographer.
“Each Saturday I edited a radio documentary with the most powerful speeches of the week—just voices, no commentary,” Wake wrote in her curator statement for the exhibit. “It was the most joyful job of my life.”
“In 2009, I was invited to take portraits of some of the participants who spoke at those historic hearings,” MacCannell wrote in her artist’s statement for the exhibit. “It was a privilege for me to be part of this continuing story.”
To launch the exhibit, the gallery held an opening reception on October 2, followed by a panel discussion titled The Legacy of the Berger Inquiry. The talk took place in the Laura C. Muir Performance Theatre with guest speakers Wake, Michael Asch, Glen Coulthard, and Peter Stephenson.
For more information on Thunder in Our Voices, check out the Douglas College library guide to the exhibit at Guides.DouglasCollege.ca/ThunderInOurVoices.
Thunder In Our Voices will be on display until October 23 at the Amelia Douglas Gallery on the fourth floor of the Douglas College New Westminster campus.