Reproduction of the Witness Blanket on display at Harbourfront branch in downtown Nanaimo

July 2, 2021


Friday, July 2, 2021, Nanaimo, BC – A reproduction of the Witness Blanket, a powerful art installation recognizing the atrocities of the Residential School era, is now on display at the Nanaimo Harbourfront branch of Vancouver Island Regional Library (VIRL).

“We are honoured to have this important piece on display in our branch,” says Anthony Martin, Manager of the Nanaimo Harbourfront library. “The importance of this piece, especially in light of the recent and ongoing discoveries at former residential schools, cannot be overstated. I encourage everyone who is able to visit the branch to experience this visceral, evocative, and thoughtful representation of a dark and deeply traumatizing legacy in this country.”

Created by master carver Carey Newman, the Witness Blanket honours the children of the residential school era and symbolizes ongoing reconciliation. Its cedar-framed artwork, inspired by a woven blanket, includes representations of hundreds of objects recovered from 77 communities across Canada where residential schools were located.

The original Witness Blanket is currently undergoing conservation at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) in Winnipeg, after touring Canada for three years. The installation at the Harbourfront branch is a reproduction of the original, developed in partnership by Newman and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights (CMHR) to allow additional venues to share its stories and messages.

The Witness Blanket will remain on display at the branch until September 13.


For more information
David Carson, Director, Corporate Communications and Strategic Initiatives
Vancouver Island Regional Library