Pressure, Light, and Oxygen (Glenrose Cannery)

Pressure, Light, and Oxygen (Glenrose Cannery)

Exhibited in Views from the Southbank 1: Histories, Memories, Myths, curated by Jordan Strom at the Surrey Art Gallery, 2015

Two pieces from this series also exhibited in Flow: From the Movement of People to the Circulation of Information, curated by Jordan Strom at the Surrey Art Gallery, 2018


The large tapestry and 3 smaller framed collages are concerned with the Glenrose Cannery, a salmon cannery built on top of an ancient village site on the Fraser River. The title, “Pressure, Light, and Oxygen (Glenrose Cannery)” refers to how the tapestry was made and also the conditions affecting the visibility of material at the site. Pressure: paint rubbings, Light: cyanotypes, Oxygen: hand dyed indigo. This small area of land was used more or less continuously for around 9,000 years and encompasses the full range of human occupation on the Northwest coast, from the continuous First Nations presence to more recent European and Asian cannery workers (1896 -1980’s). The cannery was torn down, the shoreline capped with boulders, and the midden covered by a highway as part of the South Fraser Perimeter Road development between 2011-2014.

Sean Alward