gilakas’la / čɛčɛ haθɛč, We are deeply grateful for, and respectfully acknowledge that the lands upon which we and all our Central Island Artists produce their creative work are the unceded traditional territory of Puntledge, Eiksan, K’ómoks, Homalco and Tla’amin first nations, and the Te’mexw Treaty Association.

Elke River

Artist’s Statement: As children, we know that nature is a part of us and that we are a part of nature. Yet as we age, this intuitive piece of knowledge is often lost from our understanding. Elke River believes that we can rekindle our innate connection to nature through inquisitive immersion within our surrounding green spaces, whether out in the wilderness or nestled in an urban setting. Her paintings stem from daily rambles in the forest and along the shoreline, drawing from the detailed curiosities offered up by Mother Nature. A vibrant palette allows her to explore the complex colors that are sometimes overlooked in a muted west coast environment. These works are a playful study of biological forms found within forest and marine habitats. The imagery invites a visual celebration of nature’s treasures that have fallen from trees, washed up on shore, or flown down from the sky. Some specimens are given the spotlight while others lurk in the lush tangle of nature.

Bio: Born in Miami, Florida, Elke grew up making art alongside her mother, a painter, and graphic designer. From a young age, she was fascinated with the animals and natural habitats that surrounded her. Exploring mangroves and coral reefs shifted to mountains and temperate rainforests when she moved with her family to coastal British Columbia at the age of ten. She eventually earned a BSc in Natural Resources Conservation and later a Bachelor of Education. While pursuing a career in conservation and then education, Elke continued to paint, both as a creative outlet and an educational tool. She currently lives on Quadra Island where she makes art, raises her two wild kids, and teaches nature-based art programs to children.

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