We each determine what we put out into the world, either alone or in solidarity. As with echoes, one cannot be certain that anyone is listening, but one’s voice is always returning back to them—the echo offering assurance of one’s existence and place. echoes debuts recent acquisitions by four of Canada’s leading Indigenous artists: Rebecca Belmore, Lori Blondeau, Raymond Boisjoly and Duane Linklater. The lens-based works in the exhibition make layered references to history, tradition and contemporary culture, each asserting a strong presence while resisting a totalizing gaze. Reverberations of loss and recuperation are expressed in everyday gestures or in symbols that serve as a reminder of collective values. Through their respective works, each artist claims space for imagining a multitude of ways of being—insisting on the complexity of authorship and authenticity.
Curated by Sandra Fraser, Curator (Collections)
Rebecca Belmore (b. 1960) was born in Upsala, Ontario and is currently living in Vancouver, British Columbia. She attended the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto and is internationally recognized for her performance and installation art. Since 1987, her multi-disciplinary work has addressed history, place and identity through the media of sculpture, installation, video and performance. Belmore was Canada's official representative at the 2005 Venice Biennale. Her work has appeared in numerous exhibitions both nationally and internationally including two solo touring exhibitions, The Named and the Unnamed, Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Vancouver (2002); and 33 Pieces, Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto at Mississauga (2001).
Lori Blondeau (b. 1964) is a performance artist and curator based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She completed her MFA at the University of Saskatchewan. She is also a co-founder and current director (2008) of Canada's innovative aboriginal arts organization, TRIBE. Lori's work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, most recently she performed at the 2007 Venice Biennale. Blondeau is known for humorous cabaret-style performances that interrogate stereotypes of Native women, particularly the Indian Princess and Squaw. Through this work, she explores the influences of these images in popular culture, media, and art history, and their effect on Aboriginal self-identy, self-image and self-definition. Irreverent performance personas such as COSMOSQUAW, Betty Daybird, the Lonely Surfer Squaw, and Belle Sauvage, take an ironic view of cultural stereotypes, resisting, displacing and negating them through satire and role reversal. In her performance work, Blondeau is interested not only in satirical alter-egos but the agency of memory and the power of minimal repetitive gestures, something that also can be seen in the proposed acquisition.
Raymond Boisjoly (b. 1981) is an Indigenous artist of Haida and Québécois descent who lives and works in Vancouver. He has exhibited extensively across Canada and internationally in both solo and group exhibitions. Boisjoly investigates the ways images, objects, materials and language continue to define Indigenous art and artists, with particular attention to colonial contexts. In 2016 he was a recipient of the VIVA Award, presented by the Jack and Doris Shadbolt Foundation for the Visual Arts, Vancouver and is one of the five artists shortlisted for the 2017 Sobey Art Award. Boisjoly is an Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Studio in the Department of Visual Art and Material Practice at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. He is represented by Catriona Jeffries, Vancouver.
Duane Linklater (b. 1976) works in performance, installation, film and other media, through which he addresses issues of cultural loss and recovery as well as authenticity, appropriation and authorship. Linklater is Omaskêko Cree, from Moose Cree First Nation in Northern Ontario and is currently based in North Bay, Ontario. Linklater attended the Milton Avery Graduate School of Arts at Bard College in upstate New York, USA, where he completed his Master of Fine Arts degree in Film and Video. Linklater was the recipient of the 2013 Sobey Art Award.
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