Library, Archives and Bookstore
July 7 – 23, 2022
Curated by Niki Boytchuk-Hale

What are you reading? is a curatorial invitation to engage with materials drawn from Union Gallery’s resource library. In tandem with the exhibition, Imagining Sustainable Futures, curator Niki Boytchuk-Hale brings together a collection of catalogues and newspapers alongside her own designs inspired by the texts. The selected readings emphasize and address global issues including areas of social inequality, climate change, and environmental protection. Viewers are encouraged to lean in and sit with the hopeful, the scary, and everything in between.

Image: Exhibition view, What are you reading?, 2022 | Photo: Chris Miner

My reading list confronts humanity’s role in the discussions of the environment and the climate crisis. It has been a disheartening transition becoming a young adult and realizing that the responsibility of urgent sustainable climate action is swiftly shifting from the generations before me, to my own. This anxiety can be incapacitating, but it is not without hope.

The selected texts primarily address the urgency of climate action by asking the reader to pause and reflect on the tremendous opportunity we have to live on planet Earth. Featuring Indigenous artists and writers, this iteration of What are you reading? centres Indigenous knowledge systems and teachings stemming from the understanding that all things are living. It is through stories that we can listen and learn about present-day decisions with the next seven generations in mind. It is also through art that we can be drawn in and feel empathy, anger, inspiration. The catalogues in What are you reading? are accompanied by graphic design posters that I’ve created with quotes pulled from their original book counterparts.

Pause for a moment to inspect the art, feel pulled to open a text, or spend the remainder of the day thinking about a quote that inspired reflection and action.

Image: Exhibition view, What are you reading? 2022 | Photo: Chris Miner

Niki Boytchuk-Hale

Niki Boytchuk-Hale is entering her fourth year of Undergraduate studies at Queen’s University, where she is concurrently completing a BFA and B.Ed. Niki uses her artistic practice in printmaking and painting to reflect on her relationship with land and water as a Coast Salish and settler woman. She engages in Indigenous rights advocacy through community-building projects, such as her mural on a reimagined campus consent culture, A Love That Clings.