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Rebecca Belmore: Blanket Statements

Rebecca Belmore The Indian Factory 2000 Performance detail Courtesy AKA Gallery / photo Bradlee LaRocque

For more than two decades, the blanket has been a keystone in the work of Rebecca Belmore. It is an object loaded with heavy significance for First Nations peoples—from the sinister history of the smallpox pandemic that devastated Aboriginal communities in the 18th century to the institutional corruption that has left many modern individuals literally and socially “out in the cold,” often with tragic consequences.

Curator and scholar Lee-Ann Martin sat down with Belmore in Winnipeg recently to unfold these troubled signifiers and their impacts on her work for a spring-issue feature interview. A selection of images gathered here reviews Belmore’s trenchant take on the conflicted legacies of tradition, protection, cover-up and disappearance represented by the blanket, including her latest work, The Blanket, a performance and video installation that debuted last year in the exhibition “Close Encounters: The Next 500 Years.”

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