Cecil Dawson: Standing in the Gap

March – November, 2022

This award winning exhibit at the Museum at Campbell River explores the impacts of colonization through the experiences of one family, and one artist, Kwakwaka’wakw artist and Hereditary Chief G̱ixkastallasame-gi, or Cecil Dawson. His contemporary artworks interpret this hurtful history and its continuing impact upon our society today.

What does it mean, to be Standing in the Gap? For Cecil it is to hold a place for those to come, to keep the position, prerogatives, songs, dances and history of his family alive for future generations. Cecil shares that, “we had lost everything, but now we are taking it back,” and that, “like with the rings in a tree, you can see the hard years, they look different, they have left a mark, but we keep growing, we keep moving forward.”  This exhibition, through sharing the experiences and perspective of one family, aims to critically examine our past, and to shine a light on how we can move forward together into the future.

Further Reading

This article follows the story of how this impactful exhibition was developed. Blog Story: A Long Journey

Award winning exhibition. In  May of 2022, the BC Museum Association awarded Standing in the Gap with the Award of Merrit – Social Impact. This award “recognizes the significant contribution of an organization advocating for the advancement of an important social cause such as reconciliation, social justice, inclusiveness, accessibility, sustainable development, climate action, wellness, etc.” View Announcement


Presented by Arc’teryx Victoria, this film shares the story of Cecil Dawson and Cedar Étoile as told through the exhibit Standing in the Gap.  The short film premiered at the Museum and is available on Youtube.

Museum at Campbell River respectfully acknowledges the Liǧʷiɫdax̌ʷ First Nation, on whose traditional lands we work to preserve, interpret and share the collective human history of North Vancouver Island. The Liǧʷiɫdax̌ʷ First Nation is comprised of the We Wai Kai, Wei Wai Kum and Kwiakah First Nations. Our closest neighbors are the Coast Salish Xwemalhkwu, Klahoose and K’ómoks First Nations.

These nations have close connections to the land where Campbell River is located today.

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