An exhibit about cannabis culture in the Kootenays opens tonight at Touchstones Nelson.
The Grow Show, which runs until Feb. 27, explores the subject through many different lenses, including agriculture, economy, culture, politics and community perspectives via photography, video, art, artifacts and the written word.
“There is both enthusiasm and reticence to talk about cannabis culture in the Kootenays,” curator Arin Fay said in a news release. “There was a mixed bag of responses: nostalgia, bitterness, cautionary tales, collateral damage, gold-rush-fever and rose-coloured reminiscence, to name a few.”
These tales, combined with paraphernalia, recreated scenes, and placebo plants, convey a small part of its vast, complicated history, Fay says.
Perspectives are featured on both sides of the legal divide, and Fay, with support from the community, considered carefully the material that would be included, to ensure the narrative being presented is as even-handed as possible.
Fay said quite a few people who provided stories and statements asked not to be identified.
“The anonymous statements speak volumes that this is still something that is difficult to have a full fledged conversation about,” she says. “And some people are perfectly happy to own it and talk about it. It runs the gamut.”
Fay says while a show devoted to cannabis has been contemplated for years, she doesn’t think it would have been possible prior to legalization in 2018, for the community component wouldn’t have been as strong.
Fay says the show follows the successful Touchstones’ exhibition on the history of local mountain biking, which” set a standard and a template for a community curated exhibition. The formula was brilliant. Reaching out to the community and reflecting its reality in this space is really exciting.”
The Grow Show opens tonight from 7-9 p.m. Masks and proof of vaccination are required.