The exhibit features colourful, new artwork alongside artifacts dating back 12,000 years. (Museum of Surrey)

‘We Are Kwantlen’ opens at Museum of Surrey

New exhibit curated by Seyem’ Qwantlen Business Group featured in Indigenous Hall

The Indigenous Hall at the Museum of Surrey is home to a new exhibit.

“We Are Kwantlen,” curated by the Seyem’ Qwantlen Business Group, is visually striking, offering a balance of artifacts — some of which are 12,000 years old — and colourful, new artworks.

The theme of the exhibit is “dialogue and reflection, emphasizing the connection of modern people with an ancient past,” according to a media release. Members of the Kwantlen First Nation are profiled in the space, pairing moving black-and-white portraits with quotes that reflect on the ties between past and present.

“The Indigenous Hall tells the stories of Surrey’s Indigenous Nations,” said Museum Manager Lynn Saffery. “They are here, now, and are sharing their beliefs, identities and understandings of the world. We have a lot to learn from them.”

The new Indigenous Hall, which was part of the museum’s recent $15.7-million expansion, is an eye-catching space in itself. It features floor-to-ceiling trees and a wooden canoe hanging from the ceiling. The space was designed and blessed by Katzie First Nation, Kwantlen First Nation and Semiahmoo First Nation.

After viewing We Are Kwantlen, museum-goers can also tour the facility’s permanent exhibits, which are located near the Indigenous Hall on the second floor. “Dinosaurs Unearthed,” a feature exhibit that includes full-size animatronic dinosaurs, is on display until March 31. Visitors can also see “Diverse Francophones,” a unique showcase of Surrey’s Haitian and Mauritian francophone communities, on until May 26.

The Museum of Surrey is located in downtown Cloverdale at 17710 56A Ave. Admission to the Museum of Surrey is free, as it is sponsored by the Friends of the Museum and Archives Society.

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