Revolutionize me (and you, and you, and you)

Brenda Croft

    Research output: Book/ReportTextual Creative Work

    Abstract

    Playing off the popular 2004 film Supersize Me, which followed filmmaker Morgan Spurlock's thirty- day fast food diet, the catalogue Decolonize Me (Ottawa Art Gallery, 2012) inverts the passive stance uncovered by Spurlock's exploration of North American consumption habits and calls on indigenous artists, writers, and activists to determine their place in contemporary society by decolonizing its institutions and methodologies. Heather Igloliorte (Inuit), an assistant professor of art history at Concordia University in Montreal, curated the exhibition, which featured the work of six indigenous artists: Sonny Assu (Ligwilda'xw), Jordan Bennett (Mi'kmaw), Cheryl L'Hirondelle (Métis/Cree/German), Nigit'stil Norbert (Gwich'in), Barry Pottle (Inuit), and Bear Witness (Cayuga). The catalogue presents the work accompanied by the artists' statements in English, French, and the artist's traditional language alongside essays by Igloliorte, Australian curator and writer Brenda Croft (Gurindji/Malngin/Mudpurra) and curator and art historian Steven Loft (Mohawk). A rarity some twenty years ago when both the National Gallery of Canada and the Canadian Museum of Civilization presented Land Spirit Power and Indigena as critical responses to the Columbus quincentenary, exhibitions of contemporary art by indigenous artists have become regular features of Canadian public art galleries. Yet, such soft inclusionsto use the words of Lee-Ann Martin and Lynda Jessuphave not resulted in the revision of institutional practices that would produce the systemic changes necessary to begin decolonizing art institutions (i.e., curatorial departments, regular acquisitions, training, and revision of collecting mandates). While the artists included in Decolonize Me might be familiar from recent exhibitions, the catalogue essays bring a resoundingly critical perspective on the state of contemporary indigenous art in the twenty-first century.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationCanada
    Publication statusPublished - 2018

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