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“Dark sands and salt grass” by Photographer Rachel Foster

A selection of polaroid emulsion lifts by UK-raised, Vancouver-based artist and photographer Rachel Foster. Foster refers to herself as a white British settler and reflects on the implications of occupancy, the sensitive history between Canada and Britain, and the ecological and socioeconomic impact of colonial and capitalist attitudes on the Canadian landscape. Her work is also inspired by her job as a field technician for non-profit and government bird research. Over the last five years Foster has worked as a bird bander, collecting data of migrating songbirds for the biologists at the Iona Island Bird Observatory (IBBO) in Iona Beach Regional Park, located just north of the Vancouver Airport.

During this time Foster has become familiar with the unique flows of the area, located on the unceded land of the Musqueam on the Fraser River estuary, xʷəyeyət (Iona Island). Despite the relentless development and pollution, xʷəyeyət still nurtures freshwater wetlands, saltgrass meadows, and rare dune grass ecosystems. This series aims to portray the mosaic of xʷəyeyət – freshwater wetland, estuarine meadow, mudflat, forest, and invasive plant encroachment – to evoke the special diversity and resilience of a sensitive ecosystem cocooned within industries that threaten to expand and further alter its structure. See more images from “Dark sands and salt grass” below.

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