A crowd outside Totest Aleng

Artist residencies expand economic and artistic opportunities for local Indigenous artists by providing space and resources to develop their practice through pursuing self-driven projects.


Artists in Residence

Roxanne Charles and Chalise McCallum of Semiahmoo First Nation are the inaugural artists-in-residence for Totest Aleng: Indigenous Learning House.

From July through October 2023, they are working together and with members of their community to paint a yellow cedar bentwood chest for the “Honouring Our Grandmothers Healing Journey” project. The project is an opportunity for healing and is a way to honour Semiahmoo community members tragically lost and to celebrate the strength, power, and resistance that is still here.

Se ne si’le – My Grandmother - Exhibit

Previous works by Roxanne Charles and Chalise McCallum, and those fostered through their residency, are on display for a limited time from September 16 - October 5 at the Crescent Beach Gallery, located at 12160 Beecher Street, Surrey.

Honouring Our Grandmothers  Healing Journey


About the Artists

Roxanne and Chalise will also be learning from each other, exploring formal design and cultural knowledge in areas of drawing, carving, weaving, storytelling, beading, and jewelry design. Their time will be dedicated to exploring and revitalizing Salish Design within the Semiahmoo community.

Roxanne Charles

 Roxanne Charles - Surrey's Urban Sprawl, 2014
The Artist Roxanne Charles at Surrey's Urban Sprawl

Roxanne Charles of Semiahmoo First Nation is a cultural historian employing means of visual representation, oral history, and ceremony. Methods which have been utilized by Semiahma People for thousands of years. Her work explores and documents a variety of issues that reflect her daily life such as spirituality, identity, urbanization, trauma, and various forms of systemic violence.

Ey Skway'el Si'am & Kwel nek wel
Now Chalise McCallum

Bead work by Chalise McCallum-Dolan
Bead work by Chalise McCallum-Dolan

"I am a blue-collar momma, to two beautiful children who make me so happy. I think it is very important to first acknowledge those that have raised me, given me daily inspiration, unconditional love and encouragement, while also challenging my rebellious teen years haha! The hyphen in my name is to address both sides of my lineage - my mom, a residential school and cancer survivor from Stz'uminus first nation, and my late dad from Semiahmoo First Nation.

Like many people I picked up a new hobby, beading, during the 2020 pandemic. The pandemic gave me a lot of home time to self reflect. I knew in my heart I needed to ignite passion: with much determination and patience, I taught myself to bead! I feel a moral obligation to learn for those who couldn't and the future generations that can!"

About the Project

Honouring Our Grandmothers Logo

Honouring our Grandmothers

Honouring our Grandmothers Healing Journey is a multi-year, multi-generational project. The heart of this journey are the stories told by the thirteen Indigenous artists who, through the visual artwork they place on their cedar bentwood traveling message chests, share their relationships with their grandmothers, families, nations, ancestors, and Mother Earth.

Learn more about the movement here.

Call for Interest

Are you an Indigenous artist interested in learning more about residency, project, or program opportunities?
Email totestaleng@surrey.ca.