Salish Weave Indigenous Legal Scholar Award

George and Christiane Smyth are passionate collectors of Coast Salish art. The couple bought their first pieces in 1999 to decorate their Victoria condo. They have since amassed one of the largest private collections of contemporary Coast Salish art in the world – the Salish Weave Collection. The Smyths are called activist collectors - spreading the art they collect publicly to raise awareness of Salish art. They also commission works and purchase large-scale works of art that they lend and gift to such institutions as the National Gallery of Canada, Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, University of British Columbia’s Museum of Anthropology, University of Victoria, Vancouver Island University, Simon Fraser University, Stanford, and Princeton. Artworks from The Salish Weave Collection have been part of major exhibitions locally, nationally and internationally.

Through the Salish Weave Fund at the Victoria Foundation, the Smyths have supported institutions to use the art for teaching and display purposes, “promoting this vibrant art form” and “contributing to the efforts of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).”

The gift to establish the Salish Weave Indigenous Legal Scholar Award at UVic is a further commitment to contribute to the efforts of the TRC in Canada. George and Christiane hope to lift up emergent Indigenous legal professionals as they take up the good work of learning inter-societal laws and legal orders to advance change in the legal system that delivers on the TRC’s 94 Calls to Action, including justice, equity, human rights, child wellness, and education.

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