Healing Struggles at the Contemporary Aboriginal Art Biennale

We liked Tracy May Chambers [artiste métisse de Hamilton, en Ontario] Intervention on the John A. Memorial. MacDonald, rather than Canada, but the city of Montreal did not give us the mandate,” BACA Director and Curator launched Mike Patten.

Tracy-Mae Chambers, who ended up showing a more modest version of her project at Art Mr, is about therapy. Her idea was to wrap what was left of the MacDonald monument, which was not dismantled in 2020. “She would have put it in a cocoon, as Mike Patten identifies. It was appropriate to think about history, about what we could do with these monuments.”

But the admin hardly sorry. Because this refusal, which in no way surprised him, gave reason for the Earth’s return movement. Under this name, indigenous peoples claim stewardship of traditional lands and ecosystems, hoping to heal the wounds of the past. He is also under this name with the number 6And BACA edition, in progress since the end of April. “BACA is not so much about the issue of land ownership as it is about the stories [qui y ont lieu] “And about protecting the land by communities,” says Mike Patten. Alexandra Nordstrom, a visiting scholar and doctoral student in art history, adds.

This year, the Indigenous Biennale brings together more than 50 artists, spread across seven locations, including one in Quebec and one in Sherbrooke. duty He visited the first three galleries that opened on the island of Montreal with Mike Patten and Alexandra Nordstrom, both members of the Saskatchewan Aboriginal community – a Zajim Anishinabek nation, a Poundmaker Cree Nation.

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Political activity: Art MûrRue Saint-Hubert

“The Gregg Deal movie is really good,” said Mike Patten, upon arriving on the second floor of Art Mr. He describes the identity crisis that the city makes us live through. How to be aboriginal? How do we preserve cultural heritage when everyone wears the same clothes, listens to the same music, and does the same activities? »

The last American Indian on Earth (2016) documents the urban performances of Deal in deceptively traditional costumes—they’re made in China, he says, at the beginning of the film. The people he meets are mistaken, trapped in their stereotypes, and marvel at this “real Indian”. Work is essential to BACA.

“It is a powerful call for dialogue that speaks to contemporary indigenous life and touches upon many issues with a sense of humour,” says Biennale curator.

The section in Art Mr is the most militant, and intersects with the theme of rock, “the meeting point and support of peoples who have been dispossessed of their ancestral lands.” Camille Seaman’s photos were taken with the community of Standing Rock, North Dakota, opposed to the passage of the oil pipeline. in the series Asiniy Iskwew (Woman of the Rocks, in Cree) Laurie Blondeau poses alongside a boulder that was blasted with dynamite in 1966 by the Saskatchewan government to create an artificial lake.

Aboriginal hope relies as much on dialogue as on the principle of rebirth, which Duane Isaacs confidently illustrates in his series of portraits marked with a flaming mask. Alexandra Nordstrom notes that “fire is renewal, life comes from something dangerous.”

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Future Quai 5160Verdun

Futurism oversees the business at Maison de la culture Quai 5160. “We sow the seeds of the future,” says Mike Patten, in front of a blueberry, a symbol of survival that is part of the work of Susan Blitt, and in front of the film by Kate and Devin Runeberg, focus on denouncing “prophecies of this Type deep World Health Organization [fomentent] colonial prejudices”.

In Verdun, objects by Chandra Melting Tallow are found alongside an augmented reality sculpture by Quinn Hopkins. Textile traditions mingle with immaterial techniques, and artists’ past and future nourish.

“I am optimistic, comments the commissioner. Yes, terrible things remain, but people are more aware of them. Our role at BACA is to share our stories, to expose the situation, in order to help improve it.”

“We have to set ourselves up for the future,” continues Alexandra Nordstrom, who describes herself as an optimist activist. I recently read that Aboriginal people are the fastest growing in Canada. It encourages me to continue the discussions. »

Harvest Gallery Stuart Holpoint Claire

Among the tons of landscapes in photos, video, painting, and sculpting (or assembling beads) two bags stand out, the work of Olivia Whitting. In their words worthy of the motto (Bread and Dignity), they symbolize the exhibition at the Pointe Claire Cultural Centre.

“When I approached the artist, she was working on this. They are like bags for harvest. I built the presentation out of this idea,” said Mike Patten. Here the idea of ​​nature reigns supreme: A Nourishing Land with Erin Gingrich, A Healing Space with Jeffrey Gibson, A Passage Area with Sky Hobinka.

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Mike Patten has a special weak spot in Alaskan artist Gingrich’s wooden salmon. “She praises the food, it is very beautiful. She has a keen eye for detail. Look,” he said, pointing to something, and put down a little paragraph. »

earth return

Original Contemporary Art Biennale, different locations, different dates, baca.ca

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