Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

Panel Discussion: What Water Teaches

Panel Discussion: What Water Teaches

Saturday, November 12, 2022 

1 – 3 pm PST 

Register HERE.

Centre A is pleased to present a panel discussion, What Water Teaches, encompassing water’s health, agency, and role in intergenerational dialogues in relation to Indigenous epistemologies and community building as part of the ongoing work towards climate justice through decolonization. The conversation will be held between Kayah George ‘Halth Leah’, Audrey Siegl, and Rita Wong. The online program is presented in conjunction with Centre A’s current exhibition, Ed Pien: Tracing Water.

Kayah George ‘Halth-Leah’ (she/they) carries the teachings of her Tulalip and Tsleil-Waututh Nations and has been on the front lines fighting against the Trans Mountain pipeline for more than half of her life. She is a young Indigenous environmental leader, activist, and filmmaker. Kayah has spoken globally about climate justice and shared the teachings of her nations to honor and care for the earth. She has worked with several environmental organizations, including Indigenous Climate Action (an Indigenous-led organization guided by a diverse group of Indigenous knowledge keepers, water protectors, and land defenders), to build capacity for an Indigenous-led divestment movement. Kayah is currently working on a short film that shares the intrinsic connection the Tsleil-Waututh people have to the ‘Burrard’ Inlet.

Audrey Siegl works with teachings and medicines passed on to her from her Musqueam family and ancestors. Lots of this medicine comes from the healing work she was blessed to witness and was shared with her by the Old Timers who raised her. The connections that they made, the ways they loved, cared & made a place for her in this world are why and how she does what she does. She has worked extensively with teachings and medicines across Turtle Island and is rooted in West Coast and Musqueam medicines. She is proud and honoured to carry on the work of her grandparents and ancestors.

Rita Wong is a poet-scholar who attends to the relationships between water justice, ecology, and decolonization. She has co-edited an anthology with Dorothy Christian entitled Downstream: Reimagining Water, based on a gathering that brought together elders, artists, scientists, writers, scholars, students and activists around the urgent need to care for the waters that give us life. A recipient of the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and the Asian Canadian Writers’ Workshop Emerging Writer Award, Wong is the author of current, climate (Wilfrid Laurier UP 2021), beholden (Talonbooks, 2018, with Fred Wah), undercurrent (Nightwood, 2015), perpetual (Nightwood, 2015, with Cindy Mochizuki), sybil unrest (Line Books, 2008, with Larissa Lai), forage (Nightwood, short-listed for the 2008 Asian American Literary Award for Poetry, winner of Canada Reads Poetry 2011), and monkeypuzzle (Press Gang, 1998).

Wong works to support Indigenous communities’ efforts towards justice and health for water, having witnessed such work at the Peace River, the Wedzin Kwa, Ada’itsx/Fairy Creek, the Columbia River, the Fraser River, the Salish Sea, and the Arctic Ocean watershed. She understands that when these waterways are healthy, life will be healthy too, and that we cannot afford to endanger and pollute the waters that sustain our lives.


Accessibility: The gallery is wheelchair and walker accessible. If you have specific accessibility needs, please contact us at (604) 683-8326 or [email protected]

Centre A is situated on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. We honour, respect, and give thanks to our hosts.