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Artist Talk with Marianne Nicolson

/ Exhibitions - Programs

Waterline Marianne Nicolson 2015 glass wood shell inlay LED light mechanism box with cover Museum purchase 20162a c

Join us Thursday, September 27 to hear from Marianne Nicolson, the artist behind BMA’s current exhibition Waterline.

From July 27 to November 25, Waterline will be on view in the Arrington Gallery and offers visitors the chance to enjoy the serenity of its tranquil movement. As the sole work of art in this exhibition, Waterline embodies the sacred past of the Pacific Northwest Native American culture, and proudly embraces the contemporary use of technology in art to create a unique experience.

Born in Comox, British Columbia, Nicolson is of Scottish and Dzawada̱’enux̱w First Nations descent. She knew from an early age that she wanted to be an artist and continued to pursue this dream through her education. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, master’s degrees in fine arts, linguistics, and anthropology, and finally, a doctorate in linguistics, anthropology, and art history from the University of Victoria. Through her education and dedication, Nicolson continuously invested in her passion for art, linguistics, and culture. All of her pieces, from set designs to art installations, express the influence of her membership in the Kwakwaka’wakw Nations and a focus on land, water, and social justice.

Nicolson’s work mixes her Kwakwaka’wakw heritage with the traditions of Western art. Each piece, including Waterline, invites contemplation and encourages conversation. Waterline depicts the rising and falling of the river that runs through Nicolson’s home of Kingcome. In 2010, Kingcome experienced a devastating flood that reminded the villagers about the threat of the water to their culture. Waterline embodies this fear and awe of the river through peaceful movement that eventually causes the shadows it projects on the walls to disappear. Beholding the fluid movement of Waterline, the viewer becomes an active part of the exhibition, simultaneously witnessing the fear and experiencing the beauty of the water.

During this special artist talk on September 27 at 6PM, Nicolson will discuss the forms and symbols in Waterline.


Waterline has been made possible by the City of Birmingham and The Lydia Eustis Rogers Fund.