Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation Basketball: Photographs by Alana Paterson opens at The Polygon Gallery on Saturday, April 13, produced in collaboration with the Capture Photography Festival. Over the past few years, BC-based photojournalist Alana Paterson has become deeply invested in gender inequality and women’s civil liberties. Paterson’s recent works focus on women’s empowerment through sport, particularly young women at the beginning of their careers. Currently, women represent only 7% of sportspeople seen, heard, or read about in the media, and only 4% of sports coverage focuses primarily on women. Paterson’s images shed light on this disparity while celebrating women’s strength and resilience in a male-dominated field.
For her most recent project, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation Basketball (2018), Paterson was invited to shoot the young women’s half of the Junior All Native Basketball Tournament (JANT), held at the Chief Joe Mathias Centre in North Vancouver. The tournament is made up of over 83 teams from 50 nations. JANT serves to empower its team members and reinforce that they are strong, resilient young people and talented athletes. Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation team players include (from top to bottom in group photo) Arionna Natrall, Paiton Mack, Shonteya Williams, Penelope Sparrow, Eden Joseph, Sarai Baker, Aquilina Broomfield, and Lydia Dawson.
After working closely with the team over the past year, the photographer has captured each team member's empowered energy , countering identities weighted with the dark history of colonization. Paterson's images work to empower young Indigenous women, in light of the dark history of colonization and continuing racism. The project reveals the sense of strength, perseverance, and passion for which Indigenous "Warrior Women" are renowned.
Alana Paterson is a North Vancouver-based photographer. Her work has been featured in numerous magazines and publications, and her photojournalism has appeared in The New York Times, The Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star. Paterson was named one of Magenta Foundation's top emerging photographers in 2018. Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation Basketball marks her first solo exhibition.
Images from Paterson's series will also be on view at the Stadium-Chinatown Station on the Skytrain in Vancouver as part of the Capture Photography Festival, until 2020. Supported by a London Drugs printing grant.
Saturday, April 13 at 1pm: Opening Reception
Every Saturday at 2pm: Weekly exhibition tours
Please note: there will be no exhibition tour on Saturday, May 4 and 11.
Images: Alana Paterson, from the series Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation Basketball, 2018