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Collaboration Residency

Marika Swan Collaboration Residency

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This project resulted in an original limited edition of hand printed woodcut relief prints produced in collaboration with Lee McKay at Malaspina’s studio on Granville Island.

  • File number: RESI1068

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Marika Echachis Swan / ƛ̓upinup is a mother and artist of mixed Tla-o-qui-aht, Scottish and Irish descent. Her main creative practice is woodblock printmaking, often layered with other visual arts techniques such as carving, stencil and photography. With no formal arts training, Marika has developed her own contemporary take on the iconic Nuu-chah-nulth aesthetic through mentorship, study and fearless experimentation. Her evocative work is a voice for Nuu-chah-nulth cultural values from an uncompromising, feminist perspective.

Currently based out of her home territory of Tla-o-qui-aht (surrounding Tofino, BC), Marika balances her creative practice with various community arts projects. For several years, Marika has been working closely with the development of the Carving on the Edge Festival creating an elevated platform to celebrate both the traditional and contemporary coastal carving arts. Through her work with the festival, Marika began developing a community led research project called The Nuu-chah-nulth Living Archive, locating and documenting the vast bodies of ancestral belongings and materials from her community that are now held in various museums and institutions all over the world. In it’s current evolution, it hosts information on hundreds of belongings, audio recordings, archival photos and songs on a private database for Nuu-chah-nulth community members, creating a virtual space for shared ownership and knowledge sharing. Through this project, Marika is actively creating deeper connections with local culture keepers to stimulate community discussion and cultural revitalization. The Nuu-chah-nulth Living Archive works in partnership with the Tla-o-qui-aht Repatriation Committee (of which Marika is a founding member) as well as various other local cultural education initiatives.

Through engaging with these ancestral treasures, Marika has studied traditional Tla-o-qui-aht form and style extensively. Following in the wake of artists like her father Joe David that took such sincere care in reviving the purity and perfection of classic traditional form, Marika continues to push the art form into new spaces. Still rooted in Nuu-chah-nulth world views, her work speaks directly to the stories that are relevant to her community now.