Saturday, January 22, 2011
Here is the updated chart. Not too much has changed, but we have met new people and added them. When making the chart Jessie and I had to decide on some parameters, if you're curious about your place in the universe here is what we decided. We are limiting the chart to people that we have "met" at Close Encounters. We are defining "met" as some exchange of names and conversation. I have generally connected people to Jessie and myself by who introduced us. Some people we already knew and some we took the bold gesture of introducing ourselves to. Originally we wanted Jimmie Durham to be at the centre because of his sculpture titled Pole to Mark the Centre of the World (at Winnipeg), inspite of the fact that he is not physically present.
We took a break for lunch after the discussion, and many people headed to the Paddle House Restaurant, a quasi-mythical Winnipeg eatery on the top floor of the Hudson's Bay Company. Here Vanessa and I discovered yet another reason for disliking HBC .
After lunch, we returned to the WAG for the second session. A discussion between Rebecca Belmore and Lee-Ann Martin gave a brief retrospective of Rebecca's work. The talk, Lee-Ann noted, had been unofficially titled "out in the cold" by the pair. It was equally well-attended and the audience responded with a myriad of questions regarding Rebecca's work.
For reasons beyond our control, the sole camera we had between the two of us has decided not to work. I (Jessie) did some drawings to provide a visual record of the event. I (Jessie) would like to think that these are somewhat inspired by the Ledger drawings that many artists have referenced, although I cannot help but notice a similarity to Canadian court room drawings. This was not intentional.
I picked out this Quote from Nadia Myre because I thought it was one of the most pognant things she said in her talk. At First it seems a little funny and out of place considering that two of Myre’s larger projects, The Scar Project and TheForgiveness Project (Pardoner Moi) are both based around people telling personal narratives. However I think it makes perfect sense. Personal stories can be interesting and reveling, they can move the reader; they are a window into another person. But I believe that we can never really know, never really understand other peoples experiences. Sharing is grate but one person can only understand someone else story from there own perspective. They will never really know it. The work is not about story it’s about what happens to us when we tell a story.
"My materials are the boss. I'm not the boss."
I think that everyone can relate to this comment, we are constantly
bested by the materials in our lives. Whether you’re slicing bred and
can only get your slices so thin (and in wedges), or you’re waiting
for your car windshield to defrost in the cold, our material
forum of the work follow. In her talk HeavyShield spoke of both the
In Marry-Ann Barkhouse’s work the viewer encounters a world of animals. Beavers, horses and donkeys are the main players. Barkhouse represents the contrary by having the people curiously absent from her installations. The viewer questions, where do I fit into this world of
*all drawings by Jessie Short, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011
Blogging in the unknown: Scott Benesiinaabandan’s unSacred and the Windigokaan at Gallery 1C03, University of Winnipeg
Jessie: I’ve always been nervous about revealing myself to other people. That’s part of the reason why I dropped out of art school. I wasn’t comfortable with being critiqued, especially when it came to my work. It felt too personal, too close to home. It has taken me a long time to feel comfortable showing my work to others. Learning that this blog is actually being forwarded around the Aboriginal arts group, and read (?) is both exciting and terrifying.
Vanessa: Being engaged and having an exchange with your group or community is scary. One of the reasons is, for me the fear of being judged. But when I’m nervous about doing something, I like to know that there are people who are going to be looking for it. I feel like I have a sense of responsibility towards them, and my work will be better. Also, I know when I’m scared or nervous, it’s probably because I’m about to learn something.
Jessie: Yes. It’s like the Windigokaan, it is the unknown, which is the thing that scares many people the most. I don’t just want to repeat what I’ve seen and heard here. I want to show an engagement with the work, but there is the fear of people disagreeing with what I have said.
Vanessa: I only want to speak about what I know. The artists, curators and viewer in the exhibitions have their knowledge and perspectives. But people will always disagree.
Jessie: I feel that this relates back to Scott Benesiinaabandan’s exhibition, but I can’t quite articulate it.
Vanessa: It is related. As Scott explained in his talk today, the image (un)sacred clown (2010) is a mirror. You’ll see in it your fear, what scares you. In that way, it’s a reflection of yourself and everyone sees something different.
Jessie: My view of this image is of a solitary figure. It’s the focus of everyone’s attention, it is exposed.
Vanessa: The figure looks very confined. It has this mask that it looks like it can See, but can’t Speak.
Jessie: You know, I realize that when I’m scared of something, it’s never as bad as I expect it to be. The Windigokaan challenges us to move beyond those fears, those self-imposed limitations.
Vanessa: It’s not just about fear.
Jessie: It breaks us out of patterns.
Vanessa: The contrary is a way of making us more aware. By considering the contrary, it helps us think about other possible ways of being.
Thursday, January 20, 2011
We met so many people that our heads were spinning. The following is a brief attempt to map out the connections between ourselves and the other people involved in Contemporary Indigenous art that we met, at these events. As artists and curators, we wanted to create a visual representation of our colleagues. The connections within and between our Aboriginal communities are reflective of those we have within this tight-knit arts community. The Chart is a work in progress, as are our growing relationships within this community.