Welcome to Alcheringa Gallery. Leaders in Northwest Coast Contemporary Indigenous Fine Art.


  • Alcheringa Gallery announces new ownership.

    Alcheringa Gallery is delighted to announce the change of ownership from Founder and Director Elaine Monds, to Mark & Mary Loria. Mark is a well known local arts and culture advocate and leader, and his wife Mary Loria is a ceramic artist and educator. Elaine, through Alcheringa Gallery, has been promoting Indigenous art and artists from the Pacific Rim including Papua New Guinea, Australia, and Canada for the past 30 years, establishing Alcheringa as one of the top Indigenous art galleries in the world.

    6. Elaine in Canoe on Sepik River

    Alcheringa is a word borrowed from the language of the Aranda people of Central Australia:
    ‘It relates to the times of the Spirit Ancestors who, in their epic
    journeys, created the land. It is the sacred past that is ever
    present. It is ongoing creation time. It is eternity touching time.
    It is the eternal now. Alcheringa (Dreaming) is not an obsolete relic
    of a faded culture. It is a dynamic psycho-spiritual system that is very
    much alive. It is an interpretation of the human condition. It states we
    live in time but not only in time, that we are derived from some
    mysterious presence that is bearing down on us. Our condition is to
    live in encounter with this all-present mystery, the Sacred.’*

    In the very literal world in which we live our daily lives it is difficult to wrap our minds around an abstraction such as the concept of the ‘Dreamtime’ but it applies equally to each of the indigenous cultures represented in the gallery.

    02 Kambot - Elaine and story boards 2Stemming from her early life experience and intimate exposure to Indigenous culture while growing up in Kenya, Elaine already had a heightened sensitivity to artistic expression based on Aboriginal spirituality. This was a fitting preparation for the work she has embraced for the better part of thirty years beginning in the early eighties with expeditions to the Sepik River of Papua New Guinea. Her passion for, and exposure to, these artists served to inspire the creation of Alcheringa Gallery as it developed to embrace other areas of the Pacific Rim, namely indigenous Australia and since the late eighties the Northwest Coast of Canada .

    Throughout her career as a curator, writer and gallery director, Elaine has supported hundreds of artists and their cultural art forms, particularly the revival of Northwest Coast art in the 1980’s and more recently with the rebirth of contemporary Coast Salish art in BC. Elaine has also championed emerging Coast Salish artists onto the national stage and has worked with some of Northwest Coast’s most pre-eminent established artists.Elaine + John at Yamok market copy     Elaine also established Alcheringa as an international space for cross-cultural experiences. Beginning in 1986, Alcheringa has partnered with many public art and academic institutions to promote and exhibit indigenous art. Hosted by the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria as part of the cultural festival that accompanied the Commonwealth Games in 1993, Elaine co-curated a catalogued exhibition ‘Epama Epam’ with art work drawn from seven different areas of art creation in Aboriginal Australia.

    This work culminated with the instrumental documentary film Killer Whale & Crocodile in 2007 which brought together the stories of a Coast Salish carver and a carver from the Sepik River of Papua New Guinea. In 2009 the international exhibition ‘Hailans to Allans’ saw artists from the Northwest Coast of Canada and Papua New Guinea exhibiting together in London, UK and Victoria, BC.

    4f0dd6dc-dda1-4590-bf85-fb00a69b471c     Elaine’s decision to retire was not an easy one, given the strong relationships she created with artists, curators, and collectors. Her biggest hope is for Alcheringa to carry on its mission and continue operations in the same way - promoting and supporting contemporary Indigenous art.

    Mark Loria has been working with Elaine over the last several months to ensure the best possible transition. Mark brings to Alcheringa many years of arts and cultural leadership experience with the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Glenbow Museum (Calgary), Institute of Modern Art (Australia), and Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea. Mark has worked closely with leading indigenous artists from Australia and Canada and most recently completed two significant local public art projects with two prominent Coast Salish artists.

    Mark and MaryMark is an artist himself with a BFA in Visual Art from the University of Calgary, majoring in printmaking, and also holds an arts management certificate from Capilano University.

    Mary Loria is a local ceramic artist who holds a BA in Art History from the University of Calgary as well as studying ceramics at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. Mary is a sessional ceramics instructor in Art Education at the University of Victoria as well as the Arts Centre at Cedar Hill.

    Mark will be taking over as Director, with Elaine remaining in an advisory role effective December 1, 2018. Elaine and Mark will be working closely together especially with the introduction to artists and in their continued promotion to the public. Alcheringa Gallery operations will continue in the same way it has done for decades - with respect, creativity, and admiration for indigenous art and meaning.

    Mark and Elaine invite current artists, collectors and friends to a Holiday Open House on December 15th from 4pm to 6pm at the gallery to celebrate Alcheringa Gallery. Elaine will be unable to attend as she will be flying to New Zealand to welcome into the world her new grand baby.

    For more information please contact Alcheringa Gallery.

    Alcheringa Gallery respectfully acknowledges that we operate our business on the unceded traditional territory of the Lekwungen and Coast Salish Indigenous peoples, including Esquimalt, Songhees, and W̱SÁNEĆ First Nations.


  • Gallery Assistant Job Opening


    Alcheringa Gallery (www.alcheringa-gallery.com ) 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 alcheringa@islandnet.com
    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

    Email: alcheringa@islandnet.com

    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.

  • 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, "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.

  • 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.


  • Pacific People's Partnership Event

    Pacific Peoples’ Partnership Presents A Screening Of Isolated And The Homecoming Performance Of Pedalling For Papua


    Isolated Documentary GraphicIsolated follows elite world surfers on a journey to find remote waves around the islands of Indonesia, where they discover West Papua and its human rights atrocities, unethical mining corporations and political injustice. Pedalling for Papua is an international bicycling and performance tour which concluded in December 2013. Campaigner Jeremy Bally travelled nearly 20,000 kilometers on bicycle to share the story of West Papua around the world. Bally has returned home to share his experiences on the road, as well as the performance itself, with local audiences. The performance and movie event is an opportunity for audiences to see many sides of this complex, tragic and beautiful story through the eyes of explorers, athletes and storytellers.

    The Tour includes stops in Victoria, Tofino and Vancouver as follows:

    February 13, 2014 - VICTORIA | Victoria Event Centre (1415 Broad Street, Victoria BC), Door at 6:30 pm Show at 7:00 pm Tickets $10 in Advance or $15 at the Door. A free lunch and learn event will also be held at noon at the University of Victoria, Centre for Asia Pacific Initiatives.

    February 15, 2014 - TOFINO | Clayoquot Sound Community Theatre (380 Campbell Street) Door at 8:00 pm Show at 8:30 pm. Tickets $8 www.tofinofilmfestival.com

    February 17, 2014 - VANCOUVER | At the Djavad Mowafaghian Cinema (Gold Corp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hasting Street), Door at 6:30 pm Show at 7:00 pm. Tickets $10 in Advance or $15 at the Door

    To get advanced tickets click here. 

    Any funds raised will enable PPP and local Papuan counterparts to establish five women's cooperatives in West Papua serving a network of over 2000 West Papuan women. PPP is grateful to our Tour Partners: LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, Media-Net, Open Cinema, Tofino Film Festival, Aarrow Productions, Centre for Asia Pacific Initiatives, British Columbia Council for International Cooperation, Something Kreative, Constant Arts Society, the Province of British Columbia, and Rika Oceanscapes and Design.

    For more information please email or call 250-381-4131

    The press release can be downloaded here.


    Xenaleken First Nations Art ForumTODAY at the ART GALLERY of GREATER VICTORIA

    In collaboration with the City of Victoria, the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria is hosting a First Nations Artist Forum today, Saturday, November 9 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm.

  • Urban Thunderbirds/Ravens in a Material World

    Urban Thunderbirds and Ravens ExhibitionSEPT 20 - JAN 12
    Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

    Co-curated by lessLIE, Rande Cook and Nicole Stanbridge | Ker and Centennial Galleries

    This exhibition highlights new and recent works from Coast Salish artists lessLIE and Dylan Thomas, and Kwakwaka’wakw artists Rande Cook and Francis Dick. The work encompasses personal stories, community histories and exploration of current events offering a unique view of First Nations art production in this region.

    Varied in their approaches, the work selected for this exhibition references cross-cultural forms, re-appropriation of North American visual culture, and an honouring of individuals and ideas from the cultural history of the Coast Salish and Kwakwaka’wakw communities. The themes explored by the artists range from intimate personal narratives, and extend to broader mainstream issues functioning as social commentary. The works reflect urban First Nations identity from the unique perspective of these four artists.

    Rande Cook | New York Series, 2013 | Photo by Luke Marston

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