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Fri. April 21 - Fungi and Fairy Creek at the AGGV

And go inside a blacksmith’s forge on the Westshore

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The Root Cellar

Good morning !

The Sidney LitFest is in full swing. It kicked off last night and continues tonight with a panel discussion. Saturday will be jam-packed with readings, panels, and writing workshops. The festival takes place at the Mary Winspear Centre and details can be found here.

The Capital Daily Team

Art Gallery of Greater Victoria’s newest exhibition on mushrooms includes a slice of Fairy Creek

Pacheedaht First Nation Elder Bill Jones poses for cameras in front of a slab of old growth. Photo: Michael John Lo / Capital Daily

Fairy Creek land defenders took centre stage at the opening of Symbiosis, the latest exhibition at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (AGGV). The exhibit opened on April 1, but will be free to visitors next week from April 27 to May 3.

Two years in the making, Symbiosis, which will be at the gallery until Oct. 29, started as a shared love of fungi by co-curators Jaimie Isaac and Mel Granley.

Perhaps the largest—certainly the heaviest—work on display is a 3,000-pound Douglas fir old-growth stump “cookie” that was previously at the Fairy Creek blockades. After being cut from a tree in 2020, the stump was repurposed by land defenders as a blockade and sleeping dragon anchor, and has since appeared at events and protests as far as Montreal.

“It’s likely the crudest and most graphic demonstration of our art—the destruction of our land,” said Pacheedaht Elder Bill Jones, who presented the stump along with Angela “Rainbow Eyes” Davidson on opening day.

“Our art is our creativity. I think that’s mankind’s biggest gift that we have to re-nurture,” Jones said. “And by doing that, we have to start in the simplest form, by preserving and caring for our land, and our forests.”

Isaac said that the gallery invited the Dzunuḵ̓wa Society to present the old-growth stump as an exhibition piece to bring together the relationship between mushrooms and old-growth forests.

“You can’t have a show on symbiosis and relationships between forests, mushrooms, and fungi ecosystems without addressing some of the local circumstances that are happening within those realms,” she said.

“It would be remiss not to bring in stories and experiences from the land defenders that are protecting the very thing that we are talking about in the exhibition.”

Capital Bulletin

☁️ Today’s weather: Cloudy with a 30% chance of showers with showers forecasted for the evening. High 10C / low 7C.

📚 UVic launches new degree: The bachelor of science in climate science will prepare students for turning climate science into action in the future. The program launches in May.


Inside a blacksmith’s forge on the Westshore

Blacksmith Jake James at work in his forge in Metchosin. Photo: James MacDonald

The ground shakes with every hammer blow as the red hot steel warps and stretches under the massive 1929 power hammer. The five feet of concrete below the hammer thumps again and again as blacksmith Jake James takes a narrow piece of steel and slowly moulds it like plasticine into an organic, twirling, sculpture-like object.

Tucked at the bottom of a dead-end road in rural Metchosin, the workshop and forge could have easily been pulled from the early 20th century, or (with a few power tools and hammers removed) plucked from the early 12th. Not much has changed in the art and industry of blacksmithing since the turn of the first millennium, and besides the introduction of power hammers, propane forges, and some of the conveniences of the modern world; the techniques, tools, and artistry, remain remarkably similar.

Trained in his home country of England at one of the few formal blacksmithing schools in the world, James then travelled overseas to continue developing his skills.

“I did some blacksmithing in Sri Lanka, silver smithing in India, and then ended up here.” Working in the same space on the Westshore for the past 18 years, James has forged a niche around the Island and Western Canada.



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Capital Picks

🌈 Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat: This musical is a favourite for many and will be playing at McPherson Playhouse from Friday, April 21 to Saturday, April 29 with matinee shows at 2pm and evening shows at 7:30pm. [Details/Tickets]

🐷 Pink Floyd tribute at the Royal: PIGS, a Canadian Pink Floyd tribute band, will be performing all the fan-favourite songs on its Fearless 2023 tour. [Tickets]

🏡 Condo for sale: Luxury 2-bed + den condo at Dockside Green, featuring two separate outdoor patios with harbour views. View photos.*

🥁 Damian Graham and The Best Guys In Town: Enjoy some funky grooves with Damian Graham on drums, Joey Smith on guitar, Tony Genge on organ, and Ryan Oliver on saxophone and flute at Hermann’s. [Details]

⚕️ Protect your health. Get blood, DNA, and VO2max metrics from Healthspan Labs. Through aggressive screening Healthspan helps you catch disease early, before you have symptoms.*

🎼 Victoria Baroque’s Handel Chandos Anthems: Experience a night of anthems by a professional vocal ensemble at St. John the Divine at 7:30pm. [Details/Tickets]

🤝 Now hiring: Marketing Assistant (Canada Summer Jobs) at Pacific Opera Victoria.

*Sponsored Listing

In Other News

🏡 Last hurrah at the Point Ellice House
After announcing its closure on March 23, the last day of operation for Point Ellice House is upon us. Staff and volunteers will be on hand on April 22 to discuss the gardens, the historic house, and the achievements of the non-profit Vancouver Island Local History Society, which took over the site’s operations in 2019. Read about why the organization is returning the provincial heritage site back to the BC government in Capital Daily.

🪵 Totem pole carved in 340-year-old cedar log installed at Wilkinson Road Jail
The pole acknowledges the Lekwungen lands the facility sits on and was carved by 60-80 inmates at the jail. Max Henry, the Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre’s Indigenous cultural liaison, spearheaded the project. Tsawout First Nation artist Tom Lafontaine led the totem design and carving. [CHEK]

In Case You Missed It

🪧 Federal workers form picket lines in Esquimalt and View Royal: The public servants who represent several different unions started the strike Wednesday morning. [Thursday’s newsletter]

💸 Timothy Durkin ordered to pay $1M to the BCSC: Durkin has received sanctions from the BCSC that include a $600,000 fine and a $1M payment to the BC Securities Commission, as part of a case of fraud and lying to an investor. [Capital Daily]

👢 Put your best foot forward. Join the Belfry for a Fluevog Fundraiser on Thursday, Apr. 27 at 6:30pm at Fluevog, 566 Johnson. More information.*

*Sponsored Listing

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