Saltbox 2020: Contemporary Arts Festival


Lou Sheppard, Colour Guard, Atlantic Flyway, 2020


Grenfell Art Gallery is pleased to present the third iteration of Saltbox: Contemporary Arts Festival featuring artist-in-residence Lou Sheppard. Join us for an exciting schedule of in person and remote events co-curated by D’Arcy Wilson and Matthew Hills, including Biscuit Box Cabaret a virtual performance-art-open-mic event, and a new community collaborative score, Colour Guard, Atlantic Flyway by Lou Sheppard premiering in Corner Brook’s Margaret Bowater Park.

See Grenfell Art Gallery website for and social media channels for all links. All times listed are Newfoundland Standard Time.

Wed 25 Nov, 7:30 pm – Launch Artist Talk: Lou Sheppard
Join on Zoom

Lou Sheppard is an interdisciplinary artist working in audio, performance and installation based practice. They have exhibited in Canada and internationally, notably in the Toronto Biennial, the Antarctic Biennale and the Antarctic Pavilion in Venice. Sheppard received the Emerging Atlantic Artist Award in 2017, and has twice been longlisted for the Sobey Art Award (2018, 2020) receiving an international residency award in 2018. Sheppard’s artistic research reflects their background in critical theory and social activism. They are interested in languages, both as systems of notation and communication, as well as systems that structure and enact power. By looking to authoritative texts like taxonomies, environmental data, diagnostic criteria, and government policy, their work attempts to make these systems and structures of power legible. Using processes of metaphor, translation, semiotic shift, and close reading, their work is evidenced through written, graphic and visual scores. The performance of these scores often leads them to collaborate with communities and with other artists, including musicians, visual artists and performing artists. Sheppard lives on the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’Kmaq, Mi’kmaki/Nova Scotia.

Thurs 26 Nov, 8 pm – Biscuit Box Cabaret!
Join on Zoom


Biscuit Box Cabaret, 2018. Photo: Faune Ybarra

We invite you to join Biscuit Box Cabaret for a virtual performance-art-open-mic event, transcending the thresholds of biscuit boxes everywhere!

Do you have a performance art piece you’ve been wanting to test in front of a live audience? Biscuit Box is an open mic for performance and experimental artists to share what they have been working on with a live audience. Anyone is welcome to participate, but performances should be limited to approximately 5 minutes in length. Details for how to participate as a performer can be found on the Grenfell Art Gallery website.

Please note that this is not a paid professional event, but rather a platform for play, testing, and to connect with a wider audience.

Sat 28 Nov, 5:05 pm, Margaret Bowater Park – Colour Guard, Atlantic Flyway

As the culmination of Saltbox, award-winning artist Lou Sheppard will be debuting Colour Guard, Atlantic Flyway, a live community collaborative performance at dusk in Margaret Bowater Park. Admission is free and all are welcome. This is a social distanced event. Margaret Bowater is an accessible venue; however, due to public health restrictions public bathrooms are unavailable for use.

Colour Guard, Atlantic Flyway has been developed site responsively, in conceiving of the performance Lou writes:

“Zugunruhe, or migratory restlessness, is an 19th-century ornithological term describing a strange phenomenon found in caged birds. During spring and fall birds would flutter against the bars of their cages in their migratory directions, proving to researchers that the urge to migrate is innate, not circumstantial, and that birds possess an internal navigation system similar to a compass.

We are at the precipice of the next mass extinction event, heralded by the loss of migratory bird populations along the Atlantic Flyway. The fluttering of zugunruhe echoes the lost populations of birds missing from their annual migrations, those preserved in museums, those who have gone extinct. How might we remember these lost birds? How do we mourn our current climate crisis? From within a capitalist industrialized present how do we hold a militarized, colonial history to account? When the rituals and memorials of this history are re-membered and re-performed can we see what future has been irrevocably changed and lost?

Traditionally a colour guard is a prestigious unit within a state military charged with protection of powerful symbols such as flags and regimental colours. Members of a military colour guard wave brightly coloured flags, throwing and twirling sparkling batons to signal the army’s presence and give hope to lost soldiers in the battlefield. A wing fluttering against a cage, a baton twirling restlessly at dusk. Colour Guard, Atlantic Flyway is a performance and installation at Margaret Bowater Park, honouring these species that have been lost, and signalling to those still left.”


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The Grenfell Art Gallery is in traditional Mi’kmaw territory, we acknowledge with respect and gratitude the diverse histories and cultures of the Beothuk, Mi’kmaq, Innu, and Inuit of our province.

Saltbox is made possible with the generous support of Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council, and the Canada Council for the Arts. We are grateful for the crucial ongoing support of our community, corporate, and private donors.

Grenfell Art Gallery | Memorial University of Newfoundland
Corner Brook, NL A2H 5G4 | t 709.637.6209