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Stunning basketry tells a story

The Surrey Museum’s latest exhibit, Baskets for Barter, opens Saturday, Sept. 29. - Photo courtesy of New Westminster Museum and Archives
The Surrey Museum’s latest exhibit, Baskets for Barter, opens Saturday, Sept. 29.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of New Westminster Museum and Archives

The Surrey Museum’s latest exhibit, Baskets for Barter, opening Saturday, Sept. 29, honours the tradition of Coast Salish basket weaving and exchange along the lower Fraser River.

Since time immemorial cedar has been used by the Coast Salish to create functional woven baskets used for food preparation, storage, ceremony and currency. With the arrival of new people in the 19th century, these baskets became collected as objects of desire and beauty.

Today, the basketry tradition continues and contemporary Coast Salish craftspeople express deep creativity and traditional knowledge in their skill.This exhibit combines beautiful examples of historic baskets with today’s community memories to tell an intimate aboriginal perspective of trade and exchange between aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities.

Working closely with the Musqueam and Stó:lō communities, the Surrey Museum presents its own baskets alongside exceptional examples of historic and contemporary Coast Salish baskets from the Musqueam Indian Band, Museum of Anthropology, Royal BC Museum, New Westminster Museum and Archives and private collections in the Lower Mainland. Baskets for Barter shows a wide range of baskets, from 3,500-year-old fragments to traditional baby carriers, berry collecting and storage baskets. This exhibit also shows less traditional forms such chairs, bottles and tables wrapped in the bark and roots of the Western redcedar tree. Through multimedia presentations this exhibit connects with the traditional knowledge, creativity and time aboriginal basket makers have applied to their craft for generations.

On Saturday, Sept. 29 from 1-2:15 p.m., meet local cedar basket weaver Todd DeVries as he shares the history of cedar weaving. Learn how cedar bark is harvested, processed andwoven into beautiful, functional items like baskets, hats and capes.

Then from 2:30-4 p.m., join Todd for an educational and creative cedar weaving workshop and find out about the unique properties and challenges of using cedar, while making a bracelet with prepared cedar strips. Fees are$10 and $24 respectively.

Throughout the fall, schools groups can schedule a visit to the gallery for a self-guided exploration of these educational exhibitions using specially created Discovery Sheets. Fee: $1/student. Please pre-register for all these programs at 604-592-6956.

Baskets for Barter’ is on display at the Surrey Museum until Dec. 22.

The Surrey Museum is located at 17710 56A Ave. For all of 2012, admission is being sponsored by the Friends of the Surrey Museum and Archives Society. For more information, call 604-592-6956 or visit www.surrey.ca/heritage

 

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