Preservation (2015) was the second participatory event in a series exploring food as a metaphor for urban displacement in Vancouver through a 3 year project with Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver.
Preservation comprised of an urban foraging expedition culminating in jam making, experimental mapping and a discussion exploring local foods, cultural preservation and the continuing effects of colonisation in contemporary Vancouver.
The event used the non-native Blackberry as a metaphor to open up a discussion on colonial narratives related to the area around the Burrard Marina Field House site, which is located on unceded Indigenous land belonging to the Coast Salish peoples, including the territories of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish),Stó:lō and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.
The event featured two local guest collaborators; Lori Snyder, an Indigenous Herbalist specialising in urban foraging for wild, edible and medicinal plants and her partner, Steve Snyder who has been a master jam maker for the last 15 years.
This two-day event began with a special introductory talk led by Lori focussing on the native blackberry, the introduced blackberry, and other native plants. Participants then foraged on the banks surrounding the Field House, which are covered with wild Himalayan Blackberries – an invasive, “colonising”, non-native species in Vancouver.
On the second day, local master jam maker, Steve Synder led a jam making session with the collected Blackberries. While communally making jam, discussion focussed on the act of preserving these locally dominant berries, questioning whose culture is in fact preserved and how this can be linked to colonial narratives. This discussion culminated in an experimental mapping of our dialogue to create jam labels.
Read a piece on the project by one of the participants here
More information on the history of the Burrard Marina site here