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Zulis Yalte

Page history last edited by Caffyn Kelley 13 years, 1 month ago

Zulis Yalte



Zulis Yalte is an artist who lives on Gabriola Island. She describes her recent installation: "Border Crossings" below.


Her email is zulis@shaw.ca


Her work was included in the "Artists of Conscience" exhibition in Victoria in 2006.





Artist's Statement: Border Crossings: A Conceptual Sculptural Installation





Dedicated to


Alfred Kristiansen, friend through the ages who encourages my artist self to live.



Appreciation to:


The Spiritual presences surrounding me with their love always


All of the community members of the Cowichan Tribes who welcomed me into their homes so that I learned of mould and the illnesses it causes. These homes first resulted in illness for me and for another nurse before me… the truth will come out and hopefully your health problems will be treated appropriately.


To my colleague Dana Brown who has shared a parallel health journey in the same Health Canada residence/nursing station and has great disability – thanks for having the courage to make contact, speak out and for believing in yourself, trusting your knowing and researching. We found each other because we both did this, maybe other nurses will find the courage to stand up and speak too.


To Joy, my family and the steadfast friends who have remained constant through all weathers and given unconditional love.


Gilah Yelin Hirsch for encouraging my exploration and healing through art.


To the few physicians who did give me time to speak and who looked deeper… thank you for your respect, compassion and belief in what I was saying. I am grateful.


My Professors:


*Isobel Dawson, who saw me, believed in me and encouraged me.

*Pamela Moss and Michael Prince, who gave me the latitude to create a sculpture vs. a paper, and Pamela who heard me home.

*Gweneth Doane for enduring support of my being who I am, following my heart.

*Peter Cole who held the space for me to discover new me-ness and who taught me so much about research, imperialism and holding others able.

*Richard Atleo who shared a vision of new possibility, valued me and gave me the truth.

*Pat O’Riley whose book taught and conversations kindly showed me my imperialistic values.

*Robert Dalton and Karin for the generous use of studio space and support while creating


To my furry companions Tansy and Genu who rode the wild ride with me when the body going was/is tough and scary, and helped me remember I could trust the unfolding.


To all of the people still in mould homes, offices, hospitals, schools - trust your body’s knowing and get out.



Border Crossings


This installation arose from the exploration of self/identity in relation to concepts of community, power and social change in my first year of graduate school. Being a twin spirited person; or as society names, a lesbian, by birth, not political choice, I have walked a path that recognizes marginalization. Coming from a poor family in a community where I experienced multilevel abuse, there was further marginalization. New dimensions of marginalization are revealed, as I become an aging woman with a limiting health condition.


Since my earliest memory, I have been gifted with sensitivities that allow me to know my teachers and supporters of the invisible world. Throughout the years, deep healing has ensued in collaboration with my guidance. As a result I have developed healing skills that allow me to assist others who have experienced physical and emotional trauma. This has brought me to the academy to ‘credential’ the work I do, an integration of counselling, energy and shamanic work. In the course of my learning, and with reflection upon what community and power is, I have explored the multidimensional aspects of being, and have experience of community and power that moves beyond the linear, logical world of the academic community.


The figures of the installation and what is written on and in the bodies, depicts some of that reflection, as well as the very real ‘coming up’ against the institution, as a result of the disabling health experience due to the occupational exposure to mould and mould toxins. In my journey through my body’s response to the mould/ toxins and my Kafkaesque experiences with the employer- Health Canada, WCB, Labor Canada and the medical profession, I have a new understanding of how our society is constructed. This understanding alarms me as we experience the neo-liberal cutbacks that attack the most vulnerable in our society. In my experience with the institution, as someone who has some strength and skills to navigate the system, and having met wall after wall, I cannot but be alarmed for those more vulnerable. I feel alarm also at the BC government and medical profession denial of a very real problem…. that of environmental toxins and the profound negative health impact they have.


Yet there is hope. Community for me constitutes all of the visible, and invisible world, all of creation. I have tried to depict this interconnectedness through illuminating the figures. Community is represented by the oppressor, oppressed or marginalized, the shamanic person who transcends the dichotomy of the paradox, the stone people, the living earth and waters, the tree people and the heron to symbolize all beings. Within each figure the dark and the light is depicted. The installation is an exploration of all of this, of the crossing of borders between self/other, other/other, oppressor/oppressed, male/female, white/color, separate/united, visible/invisible, conscious/unconscious, this reality/non-ordinary reality, wanting to live/wanting to die and all of the paradox that makes the whole, that is out there and within all at the same time, for each one of us. If we are willing to take responsibility for being conscious, for owning the dark and light that we are, we can make choices from a place of power within, as opposed to power over. We are a reflection of each other, not separate but connected all of the time. When we honor this, are conscious of this and make choices out of this consciousness, we can effect positive change that will assist in bringing our world, inner and outer, to balance.


Zulis Yalte Written: May 2004


This work, the writing on the bodies continues to be in process. Please honour this process by noting that images and writing are copyright Zulis Yalte and may not be reproduced without permission of the artist. Thank you.





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