Alcheringa Gallery Blog

All the latest news and thoughts from the Alcheringa Gallery team

  • Gallery Assistant Job Opening


    Alcheringa Gallery ( ) seeks a self-motivated individual with a passion for indigenous art and culture. Some knowledge of art sales and public relations is an asset. Some on-the-job training will be provided. This position is for part-time employment in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

    The successful candidate will have many of these strengths:

    Arts Background

    • Enthusiasm for, and knowledge of indigenous arts and cultures, including those of    Canada's Northwest Coast, Australia, and/or Papua New Guinea
    • Exhibition experience (handling art, hanging work, exhibition change overs)

    Sales Experience

    • Skill at building and sustaining relationships with clients
    • Experience handling cash, as well as operating POS (debit/credit) machine

    Computer Skills

    • Knowledge of computers (mainly MacOS)
    • Good organizational skills (setting up file structures, naming structures, etc.)
    • High proficiency with Microsoft Office (Word, Excel)


    • Some knowledge of photography using a digital SLR camera, photographing artwork, using lighting, and image editing for print and digital publication (see above in computer skills)


    • Strong writer and confident speaker
    • Experience using and posting within social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)


    • Resilient sense of humour
    • Patience, resilience with interruptions
    • Ability to multi-task and keep on track with many assigned tasks
    • Willingness to work overtime when project deadlines require it and during show        changes
    • Willingness to work some holidays and weekends, and some evenings in summer
    • Good physical condition for moving and hanging heavy and awkward art objects
    • General maintenance and cleaning of gallery space

    DEADLINE for application is Friday, March 10th, 2017.

    START DATE will be approximately Friday, March 18th, 2017.

    We prefer digitally submitted applications with a pdf of your cover letter and resume sent to
    If physical application must be submitted, please bring or address applications to:


    Elaine Monds, Director

    Alcheringa Gallery

    621 Fort Street

    Victoria, BC


    V8W 1G1

    Tel: (250) 383-8224


    All applications will be considered; however, only those with whom an interview is requested will be contacted. A three-month probationary period may be requested with the offer of employment. We thank all applicants in advance.

  • Soaring High, Landing Hard by Rebecca Jewell

    June 4th - July 6th, 2016 Alcheringa Gallery 621 Fort St.
    Preview: Friday, June 3rd, 10am-6pm Opening: Saturday, June 4th, 2-5pm (artist in attendance)
    Artist Talk: Sunday, June 5th, at 2pm

    When Rebecca Jewell was 18 years old, she left her home in London England to live in Papua New Guinea for one year.
    ​ The experience had a powerful, far-reaching effect on the young woman. Three decades later, memories of that time continue to inspire her dual careers of artist and anthropologist. “I vividly recall the village men and women,” she recalls, “their dark-oiled skin glistening and bird of paradise feathers cascading from their headdresses.” The men hunted birds with magnificent plumage, hoping to acquire the special powers and beauty of the animal.


    Bird-Catcher’s Headdress, original with feathers and archival ink print, 19 1/4 x 28 in, 2014

    Returning to England, Jewell studied social anthropology, then completed a PhD in Natural History Illustration at London’s Royal College of Art.  Her thesis involved many detailed water colours of birds in the British Museum. Spending time with collections that included many extinct birds galvanized the artist's resolve to protect the remaining species. Today, Jewell’s fascination with feathers includes the study of capes, masks, shields and headdresses from Oceania in the British Museum, were she is Artist in Residence.

    ​Jewell adds historical context to the Deer Stalker's and Falconer’s headdresses (below) by using animal illustrations by John Audubon.  For Birds of America (ca.1840) Audubon researched and painted many species of birds in their natural habitats. After killing the birds with fine buck-shot, he wired them into natural looking poses in their habitat. The historical penchant for killing and cataloguing is questioned by Jewell in the exhibition.


    Deer-Stalker’s Headdress, original with feathers, 15 ¾ x 17 ¾ in, 2014


    Falconer’s Headdress, archival ink print, 16 7/8 x 17 ¾ in 2014

    Jewell’s new works at Alcheringa spotlight her technical innovations and expertise in a variety of mediums: detailed drawing, hand-colouring, collaged materials and pulled prints. Several of the artworks are available as both an original with printed feathers and a limited edition archival print.​  “Process is as important to me as product,” says Jewell.

    Jewell uses an etching press for her paper lithography prints. The images for her hand pulled prints come from a variety of sources: her own photos and drawings, historical illustrations from museums and naturalist field guides. On a laser photo-copy of the image she rolls on her inks, then puts the feather on top. If all goes well, the press transfers the image on to the feather. “This technique takes a lot of patience and planning,” she says. A successful final piece is photographed and made into limited edition archival prints. This printing technique celebrates the strength and delicacy of a feather and the marvellous design qualities that allow flight. Sustainably collected goose, swan and duck feathers are used. Her palette favours reddish-brown for historical subject matter and more flamboyant colours for the headdresses and capes.

    Cape of No Hope is modelled after Hawaiian feather capes from the British Museum collection. The subdued palette of sepia and brown reflects the sombre message: all the birds printed on the feathers are now extinct. Their names are printed on the feathers. There are also photos of eggs from extinct birds.
    ​“Making this image was very time consuming,” says Jewell, “as I could only print four feathers at a time.”


    Cape of No Hope, original with printed feathers, 37 3/8 x 47 3/8 in, 2014


    Blue Songbirds, Printed feathers, 34x37 in, 2015


    Songbirds, Printed feathers and collaged printed tissue, 30x38 in, 2015

    Malta has a long history of hunting migratory birds, as do several southern Mediterranean countries. Jewell visited Malta in 2012 with artists from Ghosts of Gone Birds. This group worked with Bird Life Malta to raise awareness of the issues. In 2015, a referendum to allow the spring hunting of protected birds (banned in Europe) was passed in Malta. “It is disappointing,” Jewell says, “but many Maltese view these activities as part of their cultural heritage and livelihood.” 

    Writing for National Geographic, American bird expert Jonathan Franzen described the coastal netting in Egypt. The nets capture birds along their migratory route from Europe to Africa - nearly 140 million birds each season or one in 20 migrant birds.
    ​Below right: Martha, the last Passenger Pigeon, died in 1914 and now resides in the Smithsonian Institution. In 100 years the North American pigeon population went from 3 billion to zero because of loss of habitat and hunting for meat. ​


    Birds in Victorian Cage, archival ink print, 28 3/8 x 24 3/8 in, 2014


    Martha, original with printed feathers, 34 1/4 x 25 5/8 in, 2014

    Oceania includes Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the many smaller islands in the Pacific Ocean.
    This 2016 sculpture is a 30 inch-high replica of a duck egg dyed blue. A photographic print was created from the original sculpture. The floating objects on the surface represent the migration of artifacts. On the egg are explorers, navigation tools, island maps, designs and treasures moving feely in the watery genesis. The barely visible feather outlines create texture on the surface. 


    Oceanic Egg, Fibreglass, mixed media, 75x55 cm, 2016


    Rebecca Jewell constructing Oceanic Egg

    Whitney was a wealthy philanthropist who funded expeditions researching biota of the Pacific Islands in the 1920‘s.
    Jewell modelled her print on the 75-ton schooner used on the trips to collect plants, artifacts and photographs. In 2014, Jewell held an Artist Residency in New York’s  American Museum of Natural History. She had access to to the 40,000 bird skins collected by scientists during the Whitney journeys.  “It was overwhelming in many ways,” she recalls, “drawers and drawers of study skins. But it has to be seen as part of our history, and the history of science. Unfortunately, though, some species were brought to extinction due to excessive collecting.”  The artist suggests another way to satisfy our human predilection to collect and classify. Why not create a “paper museum” with drawings and photos of living plants and animals? “This type of museum could be easily transported and displayed” she says, “and put an end to killing and preserving the actual species.”


    Whitney South Sea Expedition, archival art print, 32x28 in, 2014


    Rebecca Jewell with etching press in studio.

    Rebecca Hossack Gallery in London and New York represent the artist. Elaine Monds and Rebecca Hossack are colleagues who both exhibit artists from Australia and Papua New Guinea. Director Monds is delighted to present Jewell’s first solo show at Alcheringa.
    “Rebecca is a gifted artist with an important message,” she says. “Her exquisite details draw attention to some disquieting truths about our relationships with the natural world.” 


    Left: Alison, Emma, Darren and Elaine at Alcheringa Gallery.


    Alcheringa's spacious new location at 621 Fort St

    Alcheringa Gallery is open 7 days a week and located at 621 Fort Street, Victoria.
    For more info call (250) 383-8224 or visit  Alcheringa Gallery


    Written by Kate Cino, Art Openings - May 31, 2016

  • Help Bring 3 Papua New Guinea Artists to Canada!


  • Navigating New Directions

    Navigating New Directions

    Elaine M. Monds

    Director, Alcheringa Gallery

    Thirty-two years have passed since I first experienced waking at first light in a village on the Sepik River. I never imagined all those years ago that I would have the joy of returning over and over again to visit friends who have since become family. On those early visits before I had made personal connections, I was often invited to stay in the Spirit House. I still recall the intense pleasure of waking in Suapmeri to see through my net a shaft of sunlight illuminating the Orators Stool, as it stood according to tradition in the centre of the house. Architecturally, these superb buildings are ideally suited to the environment. It is rare to feel a breeze on the Sepik but the Spirit Houses are ventilated to capture the little there is, and the torrential tropical rain could pour in a solid curtain inches from my mattress leaving me deliciously dry beneath the sago roof. They have open ends and sides and on occasion flying foxes with such easy access cannot resist a flying exercise straight through the house. Secure under my net, I could just hear the swoosh of their wings overhead in the complete darkness of a Sepik night. Very occasionally the sound of a motorized canoe pierced the complete silence, but it was rare.

    Since then much has changed and the sound of a motor is a frequent interruption, but much of the gentle rhythm of village life continues in places such as Korogo and Palembei, where the culture is still celebrated and carving skills have remained strong. Changes brought by technology crept in slowly at first but in 2008 when the first cellular phone arrived, the outside world came with it.   I am told that this access has created both negative and positive change.   I personally have observed that possession of a means to communicate has assisted our artists to promote their work. It has also made them aware of opportunities as they arise for cultural exchange, and has enabled them to be part of a growing network of indigenous artists in the Pacific.

    The value of the cell phone once again asserted itself when I was contracted in August 2015 by the University of British Columbia to assist Dr. Carol Mayer by organizing a field trip to the Sepik. The purpose of this trip was to interview the artists whose work is part of their contemporary collection, and this simply would not have been viable without the ability to text directly to the artists at home in the villages.

    Since 2006, a number of artist exchanges to Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, have served to deepen the artists’ knowledge of their own culture. These visits provided opportunities to view, and even offer insights into, early Sepik works from the collections of the de Young Museum and the British Museum. At the same time, Teddy Balangu and Claytus Yambon were able to witness another contemporary aboriginal carving culture on the west coast of Canada. This sharing in turn led to experimentation with much softer woods such as yellow cedar, and new finishing materials such as bees wax. While working still within their Sepik tradition, the hand of the creators of most of the works in this exhibition can be recognized by their personal style.

    Joseph Kandimbu visited Stanford University in 1994 and, while there, contributed to the creation of the Papua New Guinea Sculpture Garden. While in residence there, he saw the Rodin Sculpture Garden in Cantor Arts Centre. As a result Joseph was credited with the creation of a Sepik version of ‘The Thinker’.   No one could doubt the profound effect this experience had upon him. Ever since, he has created figurative works undeniably Sepik, but mostly inspired by a memory of someone who has crossed his path, notably The Man from Tari (MOA collection), and The Wedding Guest (Museum der Weltkulturen collection), both inspired by people he had seen in his travels.

    For this exhibition, Joseph has been exploring the colonial past and as a result he has created two works. The first is a meticulously detailed carving of a Roman Centurion. As he explained, “I am a Catholic. I saw this in a book and I wanted to carve it”.   The second, entitled ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Angel’, was inspired by the famous photograph of an injured Australian soldier, Private George Whittington, being led along the Kokoda Trail by Rapahel Oimbari in 1942. The ‘Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels’ was the name given by Australian troops to a group of Papua New Guineans who, during World War II, courageously assisted and escorted injured Australian troops down the Kokoda trail.

    Kaua Gita's work was represented in the travelling collaborative show ‘Hailans to Ailans’ in 2009. Inspired by the late Trobriand painter Martin Morububuna's sensitive portrayal of a mother holding her baby as she returns home from the garden. Kaua saw the painting in the exhibition catalogue and was moved to carve a Sepik counterpart which he entitled, ‘Back from the Lake'. Edward Dumoi is known for drawing inspiration from the real world, be it village cats, storybook foxes or former Prime Minister, Michael Somare!

    2016 promises to be a year to celebrate the contemporary artists of the Sepik River. As the year unfolds we will be welcoming representative artists who will be travelling to Canada to participate in cultural events assisted by MOA, Pacific Peoples Partnership and Alcheringa. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Christensen Fund that has made this possible.

    Drawing on story telling, colonial history and every day life, these Modern Masters of the Sepik River are indeed Navigating New Directions.

    Click here to view online catalogue!

  • Exhibition Opening: lessLIE - smALL

    A festive time was had by all at the opening of smALL on Saturday October 4.

    Be sure to come on October 18 at 1pm when lessLIE will be at Alcheringa again to further reveal his thoughts behind these tiny conceptually rich works.

    A new serigraph print Salmon Water Ripples (edition 100) was released on the day of this celebratory event.

    smALL exhibition 2 600

    New Serigraph released at Exhibition Opening Reception 'Salmon Water Ripples' New Serigraph released at Exhibition Opening Reception 'Salmon Water Ripples'
    smALL exhibition 1 lessLIE - smALL Opening Reception

    smALL exhibition 3 600

  • Exhibition, "Perpetual Salish" showing at Legacy Gallery, curated by lessLIE

    An important new exhibition has opened at the University of Victoria’s Legacy Gallery. Showcasing part of George and Christiane Smyth’s spectacular collection titled “Salish Weave”

    We at Alcheringa first met George and Christiane in 1999 when they visited the gallery during an exhibition that honoured the work of several women artists including Susan Point. That introduction to the art of the Northwest Coast, and in particular the contemporary face of Salish Art, resulted in the beginning of their single minded dedication to the future of Coast Salish art and artists.

    This exhibition at Legacy Gallery showcases the work of several Coast Salish artists including Maynard Johnny Jr., lessLIE, John Marston, Susan Point and Dylan Thomas.

    Exhibition details are as follows:

    Perpetual Salish: Contemporary Coast Salish Art from the Salish Weave Collection

    August 15, 2014 to January 10, 2015

    Curated by lessLIE

    Legacy Art Gallery Downtown

    630 Yates Street

    In this exhibition the theme of perpetuation unifies the work of five contemporary Coast Salish artists who live and work in this region. The word perpetuation is meant to suggest a continuum of ideas and processes, which come from distinctive traditions that have existed over millennia. Perpetuation also infers some of the challenges that contemporary Coast Salish artists continue to face in the contexts of colonialism and assimilation as well as the dominance of other Indigenous traditions, which were often favoured by the art world, in both commercial and educational contexts. It is only in the last three decades that Coast Salish art has become more readily recognized by a wider audience as distinct from other Northwest Coast traditions.

    This exhibition presents a wide range of art forms and ideas, and visitors will gain a better understanding of the cultural and stylistic elements that unify and inspire these contemporary artists in their own artistic practices. Artists featured are Maynard Johnny Jr., lessLIE, John Marston, Susan Point and Dylan Thomas.

    Curator's Talk | Perpetual Salish

    With curator lessLIE

    Saturday September 27, 2014 | 2:00 pm

    Celebrate Culture Days at the Legacy Art Gallery Downtown | 630 Yates Street

    lessLIE - wHOLE w(((h)))orl(((d))) Serigraph lessLIE - wHOLE w(((h)))orl(((d))) Serigraph
  • University of Victoria’s Legacy Gallery features works by Coast Salish Artists Chris Paul and Maynard Johnny Jr.

    Salish Wind by Chris Paul Salish Wind by Chris Paul

    Chris Paul, whose work is featured in our latest exhibition, 'Where I Come From' will be part of this important showing at Legacy Gallery until January 10.  Stop by Legacy Gallery to learn more.

    Exhibition details as follows:

     August 15, 2014 to January 10, 2015

    Curated in collaboration by Caroline Riedel, Justine Auben Drummond & Dr. Andrea Walsh

    Legacy Art Gallery Downtown

    630 Yates Street | Small Gallery

    This exhibition honours Coast Salish artists Chris Paul, Maynard Johnny Jr., and knitters May Sam and the Olsen family (Adam, Joni, and their mother Sylvia) who were part of the University of Victoria's Artist in Residence Program through the Department of Anthropology between 2011 and 2013. During their 3 month residency they taught students about their own artistic practices as well as aspects of Coast Salish history and contemporary culture. The exhibit illustrates the teaching methodology and experience of students and artists in collaboration along with examples of the artists' work.

    The Artist in Residence Program is facilitated by Dr. Andrea Walsh, who teaches the Anthropology of Art, and the program is supported by donors George and Christiane Smyth.

  • Honouring a PNG Master Carver and dear friend, Michael Timbin

    Michael Timbin, Master Carver with unfinished carvings, Palambei Village, Papua New Guinea. Michael Timbin, Master Carver with carvings in progress, Palambei Village, Papua New Guinea. Photo by Sandy Colony

    We are mourning the untimely loss of master carver Michael Timbin at the age of 39.

    He was widely recognized for his distinctive sculpture based on traditional myth.  His work was selected for inclusion in the exhibition Paradise Lost?, held as part of the Pacific Arts Association conference at MOA in August of 2013.  For more information on this exhibit, you will be redirected here:

    One of Timbin's masterworks, "Pasinawai and Pasindawa" One of Timbins masterworks, "Pasinawai and Pasindawa"

    We at Alcheringa Gallery have been privileged to work with the Timbin family of master carvers since 1992.

    Michael Timbin with his family and Alcheringa Gallery Owner/Director, Elaine Monds in Palembei Village, 2011 Michael Timbin with his family and Alcheringa Gallery Director, Elaine Monds, in Palembei Village, 2011
  • Coast Salish artist lessLIE creates winning design for the London Chancery Project



    "Natural Vision", the winning design by lessLIE "Natural Vision", the winning design by lessLIE

    Earlier this year, a process was begun to solicit artist designs for carpet commissions to be used in the upcoming renovation and expansion of Canada House in London. Canadian High Commissioner, Gordon Campbell, envisioned that each of Canada's provinces and territories would be represented and showcased within the High Commission meeting rooms.  Every meeting room will be named for a specific province or territory. The furnishings, materials, and artwork contained within the individual meeting room, will be created or sourced from the respective province.  Each custom hand-tufted area carpet will be designed by a local artist depicting the “Nature and Climate” of that region. Salish artist LesslIE was one of five artists from British Columbia asked to submit a carpet design.

    The selection of the winning design was made by the London Consolidation Project Governance Board, and lessLIE’s design was chosen to be used in the creation of the carpet for the BC room.

    “I am delighted that so many talented Canadian designers were eager to participate in helping us to create a revitalized Canada House that truly reflects the very best of our country and captures the unique traits of every province and territory. I congratulate all of our competition winners. Their work will be a great addition to the revitalized Canada House on Trafalgar Square.”
    -   Gordon Campbell

    Congratulations lessLIE !

    Coast Salish artist, lessLIE Coast Salish artist, lessLIE


    Alcheringa Gallery will be hosting an exhibition of new works by lessLIE entitled smALL and will be opening on October 4th of 2014.   This exhibition will feature a selection of diminutive works alongside some of lessLIE's larger pieces.

    Please join us on that day for our opening reception  between 2-5 pm.


  • Ravenous Exhibition Article by Kate Cino

    A special thank you to Kate Cino for writing this article for our upcoming exhibition, Ravenous. Please click here to read the article!

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