This exhibition presents a more extensive selection of Alana Paterson’s Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation Basketball (2018) series, also installed as the 2019 TransLink Public Art Project at Stadium–Chinatown Station from April 2019 to March 2020.
Over the past few years, BC-based photojournalist Alana Paterson has become deeply invested in issues of gender inequality and women’s civil liberties. Paterson’s recent works focus on women’s empowerment through sport, particularly young women at the beginning of their careers. Currently, women represent only 7 percent of sportspeople seen, heard, or read about in the media, and only 4 percent of sports coverage focuses primarily on women. Paterson’s images shed light on this disparity while celebrating women’s strength and resilience in a male-dominated field.
For her most recent project, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Nation Basketball, Paterson was invited to shoot with the young women’s half of the Junior All Native Basketball Tournament (JANT), held in Vancouver in 2018. The tournament is made up of over eighty-three teams from fifty nations with U13 and U17 divisions. JANT serves to empower its team members and reinforce that they are strong, resilient young women and talented athletes.
After working closely with the team over the past year, the artist has captured each team member’s energy, portraying them as direct, playful and fierce. Paterson’s images work to empower young Indigenous women in the face of continuing racism and intergenerational trauma caused by a dark history of colonization and the residential school system in Canada. The project both captures a visual identity of Indigenous women through sport and revitalizes the sense of strength, perseverance, and passion for which Indigenous “Warrior Women” are renowned.
Supported by a London Drugs Printing Grant