New Indigenous art exhibit opens at TRU Williams Lake

TRU Williams Lake proudly hosts The Witness Blanket, an art piece by Carey Newman

TRU’s Williams Lake campus, in partnership with the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin, debuted a new Indigenous art exhibit on Nov. 27. The piece featured is titled “The Witness Blanket” and was created by the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and Indigenous artist Carey Newman.

“The Witness Blanket” is an art piece designed to tell the stories of Indigenous Peoples affected by residential schools. Constructed on a cedar frame, the exhibit features over 800 items, including a door from the infirmary at St. Michael’s Residential School in BC, dreamcatchers, a drum from Kwikwetlem First Nation, maps, photographs and more. The piece is designed to resemble a woven blanket, with the various items placed to appear like patchwork pieces.

Pat Biblow, administration and operations manager at TRU Williams Lake, expressed to the Omega how proud TRU is to host the piece.

“We’re just very proud to host it,” Biblow said. “It’s a very inspiring piece of art, and we’re glad that we can be a part of reconciliation.”

Originally, “The Witness Blanket” was scheduled to be displayed at the Williams Lake campus around the end of August. According to Biblow, however, its arrival was delayed due to the wildfires that swept across the province. With so many people on evacuation alert or orders, the difficult decision to postpone the exhibit temporarily was made. The Witness Blanket had to be delayed. Biblow said that TRU Williams Lake was sympathetic to those in the community who had to be evacuated and, thus, understood the need for patience. In the end, however, it was worth the wait.

“When it arrived here, it came in various crates, so it was quite a process to put it together,” said Biblow. “The Canadian Museum of Human Rights came along to help us [set up] that piece.”

Biblow welcomes anyone wanting to view “The Witness Blanket,” explaining that it is available anytime the campus is open. The art exhibit will be featured from Nov. 27, 2023, until Jan. 6, 2024.

For individuals unable to experience the piece in person, “The Witness Blanket” can also be viewed online here.