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Julia Trops: Bridging Cultures

  • Penticton Art Gallery 199 Marina Way Penticton Canada (map)

Project Room Gallery

“This project pushes my boundaries in disclosure of experiences that are deeply personal but necessary to acknowledge for change to occur at a level that is meaningful for one’s existence in my community and my country. I believe many of the concepts I was exposed to while conducting community work as a cultural worker in the Okanagan are important to explore and to share. Those concepts are not from the Indigenous culture, but from my own. Through my role as a volunteer cultural worker, I realized I was afforded a unique opportunity to deconstruct, infer, and reassemble these experiences in order to critique, expand and empower other reconciliators. Throughout my Master’s degree I have come to understand the concentration and exploration of white privilege and relevant theories and frameworks are important for development of a greater Canadian cultural context of living.

I do not have all the answers just yet, and I may never have them. It has also been made very clear in my discussions, readings with and from other Settlers that many do not support decolonization, and many have very little awareness of the impacts on the Indigenous Peoples in Canada. It is my hope that these works will provide a context for understanding and increase discussions surrounding these issues. Perhaps some will become more in touch with cultural tolerance instead of resorting to “they should just get over it” and righting those wrongs from the past and currently ongoing. For others, this won’t be very comfortable or desirable. Considering the sadness and distress already given and being experienced by the Indigenous Peoples today, how can that Settler discomfort be rationalized except through the realities of white privilege and white fragility?

This exhibition is a stage, a space between where the attendee becomes the performer with the performance on the inside through self-reflexivity. Feedback from the attendees is very important and encouraged, whether positive or negative, with all responses valid. By stepping onto this stage, into the interstices between Indigenous and Settler is a way for one to bridge the cultures and lead to a greater understanding for both.”

Click here to listen to Julia’s artist statement.

Julia Trops grew up in Calgary before joining the Canadian air force a career that allowed her to spend time in the majority of Canada’s provinces and peacekeeping in the Middle East. After retiring from the military, she pursued her dream of obtaining a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio at the University of Lethbridge, graduating with Distinction. This was followed by a move to Kelowna where she established a successful studio practice at the Rotary Centre for the Arts.

In 2014 Julia was instrumental in the creation of an arts council in Westbank that featured equally both Indigenous and non-Indigenous representation and at the same time she enrolled in the En’owkin Centre’s Nsyilxcən language program. In 2017 was presented with an Okanagan Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement for her contributions in the arts in the Okanagan. In 2019, Julia will complete her Masters of Arts Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies at Royal Roads and this exhibition is the culmination of this process. Julia lives and works in Victoria, B.C.

Opening Reception | May 17th | 7:00-9:00pm

Artist Talk + Tour | May 18th | 2:00-3:00pm