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Namgis First Nation


The ‘Namgis First Nation is a First Nations band government on northern Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada, and on adjoining islands in the southern Queen Charlotte Strait region. It is a member of the Musgamagw Tsawataineuk Tribal Council, along with the Kwicksutaineuk-ah-kwa-mish First Nation and the Tsawataineuk First Nation. The people speak Kwak’wala, part of the Wakashan languages of the Northwest Coast.

The territory of the ‘Namgis First Nation spans the islands of the southern Queen Charlotte Strait (Malcolm Island and Cormorant Island), which include the town of Alert Bay and the former utopian community of Sointula, established by Finnish immigrants. Both communities are offshore across Broughton Strait from the town of Port McNeill, which is on Vancouver Island. The majority of ‘Namgis First Nation territory, however, spans the basin of the Nimpkish River and Nimpkish Lake and adjoining parts of the interior of northern Vancouver Island.

The main village of the ‘Namgis is Yalis, on Cormorant Island adjacent to Alert Bay. The original village site was at a place called Xwalkw on the north side of the mouth the Nimpkish River, which in the Kwak’wala language is called Gwani.

artist portrait

Alex Robertson

Carver, Engraver, & Jewellery Maker

In 1967, I was born in Alert Bay, BC, in the Kwakwaka’wakw territory, where I would eventually witness the carving and raising of the world’s tallest totem pole. My ancestors were from all over this area; they were Kwagiulth, Namgis, Blackfoot, and from the Nimkish River. I am a proud member of the Namgis tribe. My great grandfather Spruce Martin, great-great uncle Mungo Martin  and others in my family have inspired my work…thanks to Godfrey Bruce who recognized my interest in carving and drawing and encouraged me to create my first cedar mask – a grouse. I continue to develop my engraving, painting and drum-making skills and believe that through art, I can teach my children and others about our traditional culture, which helps to preserve and celebrate the ways of our ancestors. God bless all those who cannot be here today.


This show will be both video and audio and reflects and reports on unique arts and culture within local and global communities. Interviews with artists, photographers, videographers, and other visual artists will be up close and personal talking about their work and where their passion comes from. The show will be both in your community and global highlighting the contrasts of art and culture in Canada and around the world.


Contemporary portrait artist Lisa Penz opens Pop-up Gallery in Mount Pleasant

Vancouver, British Columbia – August 29, 2011

Lisa Penz, contemporary portrait artist today announced that she will open her own pop-up gallery for the month of October, in Mount Pleasant area of Vancouver. The pop-up gallery will be located at 196 Kingsway at 10th Avenue, Vancouver in the Cantu building. Here, Lisa will unveil her brave new series “Indulgence”, a provocative extension of her unique female portrayals. Lisa will use this “pop-up” forum to both expose the works of talented female artists and promote Vancouver as a player in the contemporary art world arena.

POP gallery will also be showcasing the works of other talented emerging female artists that will kick off with an elaborate opening reception — helping to shift Vancouver’s reputation of being a “no-fun” city to one that is more aligned with its cosmopolitan vision. “There is so much young artistic talent in this city without a lot of the opportunities available to demonstrate it. I want the experience for everyone that visits to the gallery to be fun, engaging, and visceral.”

Ms. Penz is recognized for capturing beauty in mysterious circumstances. On the surface, her portraits hint at fairytales, while thematically, they go much deeper. For POP Gallery, Penz continues to evolve her alluring style, combining her narratives with elements of indulgence in the form of confectionery to entice the viewer into realizing their own temptations and choices –leading the viewer down a dark path or to a pathway of enlightenment. According to Penz, “The viewer [of my paintings] always has a choice: they decide the outcome of the subject in the painting. I want them to choose their own adventure, that’s the really exciting part of the process for me. A painting becomes a unique story for each individual that they can own, and I want them to own that.”

Penz’s “Indulgence” collection will be available for viewing at POP Gallery October 4th – 30th. Opening night reception October 6th. To receive a link to the advanced online preview for the show and for all other details, email


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