September 8 – October 7, 2023

The Days of Augusta

Photographs by Robert Keziere

Opening Reception: Friday, September 8th at 5pm
Film Screening + Dialogue: Saturday, September 30th at 7pm (More Information)

The Days of Augusta is an exhibition that brings together photographs, audio and text that shares the story of Augusta, a Soda Creek Elder who died in 1978. Christened “Mary Augusta Tappage,” Augusta was born on February 11, 1888 in Soda Creek, BC. She was the daughter of Christopher [Alex] Tappage, a Shuswap Chief, and Mary Ann Longshem, a Mètis woman. She attended the St. Joseph’s Mission residential school south of Williams Lake and was married at 15. Widowed as a young woman, Augusta raised her own children, taught herself midwifery skills and helped raise many other children in the area. 

In 1973 Robert Keziere’s black and white photographs of Augusta were published in the book The Days of Augusta, accompanying stories in poetry and prose by Augusta of her extraordinary life – together forming a vignette of a passing way of life in BC’s Cariboo Country. In 2014 this series of photographs, along with audio recorded by Jean Speare and Keziere of Augusta singing and telling stories, was included in an exhibition at the Penticton Art Gallery, and subsequently travelled to five communities in the Interior. The exhibition at the Arts Center is a revisioning and remounting of The Days of Augusta. It includes Keziere’s audio recordings of Augusta sharing stories, playing the harmonica and singing cowboy songs, as well as a selection of photographs that have never been seen publicly.

On September 30th, alongside a dialogue, we will host a screening of Augusta, a film by Ann Wheeler. Made in 1976, this short documentary offers an intimate portrait of Augusta.

Robert Keziere was born in Vancouver in 1937. He has maintained an artistic practice while also photographing art and exhibition installations by other artists, on behalf of the artists and for galleries, museums, private collections and publishers. His personal work has taken the form of focused photographic essays on a theme or subject. Among his many projects, Keziere was the official photographer for the first Greenpeace expedition, launched from Vancouver in 1971 and documenting a protest against American underground nuclear testing in Amchitka, Alaska. From 1976 to 1982 he served as head photographer at the Vancouver Art Gallery, and has worked with many contemporary artists to assist in the creation of their art.

The SCAC would like to thank our generous sponsors who make our ongoing work possible: the SCAC Membership, the District of Sechelt, the BC Arts Council, the SC Community Forest Fund, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Sunshine Coast Community Foundation and the Sunshine Coast Credit Union.