Today we visited an exhibition at the Museum of Anthropology in Vancouver, Shame and Prejudice – A Story of Resilience. It was created by the brilliant artist Kent Monkman as a project for the Art Museum at the University of Toronto in 2014. Kent is a Canadian First Nations artist of Cree Ancestry whose maternal Grandmother was a survivor of the Brandon residential school in Manitoba. He writes, “I could not think of any history paintings that conveyed or authorized Indigenous experience into the canon of art History…Could my own paintings reach forward a hundred and fifty years to tell our history of the colonization of our people?” The answer is that with his moving and powerful paintings indeed they have. He is a true master in the same tradition as Giotto, Caravaggio and Picasso.
I could write so much more about how this exhibition has affected me particularly after the completion of my leaves drawn to represent the children separated from their parents by the US Government. After seeing Kent’s work today and seeing his painting The Scream with the children being taken from their parents by our own Canadian Government and placed in residential schools hundreds of miles away from their families and homes, I realize that my own work is no way complete.
Today I have reembarked on the leaf drawings once again so that the final piece will include an acknowledgment of our own shameful history to represent how Canada failed the children of this country in a manner as cruel and inhuman as the treatment of the children of families seeking asylum by our neighbours to the south.
This week’s Photo Challenge: Delta from Erica asks us to “explore the ways in which a single photograph can express time, while only showing us a small portion of any given moment.”These photos are from a recent visit to a memorable exhibition at Vancouver’s Museum of Anthropology entitled Traces of Words: Art and Calligraphy from Asia. Part of the exhibit includes an amazing interactive world from ultra technologists teamLab, founded by Toshiyuki Inoko in 2001, which “seeks to navigate the confluence of art, technology, design and the natural world.” This short edited video I took will explain why the photos seemed to fit this week’s challenge since the magic walls capture only “a small portion of any given moment.” To learn about the exhibit and to see a stunning video of teamLab’s interactive world I recommend visiting the Museum’s website here.
To complement Ben Huberman’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Heritage this week with his photo and description of the moving Reconciliation Pole on the University of British Columbia campus here in Vancouver these photos are also from the UBC Campus and the magnificent Museum of Anthropolgy. I have previously posted about the late great Haida artist Bill Reid’s The Raven and The First Men, which has pride of place in the Museum. Today’s images are a selection from that same visit, which I made on Remembrance Day, 2014.MOA web site
“The Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia is world-renowned for its collections, research, teaching, public programs, and community connections…MOA houses one of the world’s finest collections of Northwest Coast First People’s art in an award-winning building designed by Canadian architect Arthur Erickson. Opened in 1976, the concrete and glass structure is based on the post-and-beam structures of northern Northwest Coast First Nations. MOA’s Great Hall displays huge totem poles, feast dishes, and canoes from the Kwakwaka’wakw, Nisga’a, Gitxsan, Haida, and Coast Salish peoples, while smaller pieces in gold, silver, argillite, wood, and other materials are exhibited elsewhere in the galleries.”
This magnificent carving by the late great Haida artist Bill Reid, entitled The Raven and The First Men, can be seen in the Bill Reid Rotunda of the Museum of Anthropology on the campus of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.
It seems the perfect photographic way with which to celebrate National Aboriginal Day today.