Current Issue Cover

Close Encounters: The Future of First Nations Art

Canada’s first major visual-art event of 2011, “Close Encounters: The Next 500 Years,” brings together diverse national and international voices in a bold forecast of the future of aboriginal art. Curated by Candice Hopkins, Steve Loft, Lee-Ann Martin and Jenny Western, and taking place in several Winnipeg venues—109 Pacific Avenue, the Winnipeg Art Gallery and Plug In ICA, to name a few—“Close Encounters” aims to re-evaluate the relationship between Aboriginal and Western cultures. Keeping in mind the first 500 years of this relationship, a history rife with clash, resistance and disparity, participating artists present both utopian fantasies and darkly critical nightmares. US-based collective Postcommodity’s ominous Repellent Eye, a headlining work, is a 10-foot-wide “scare-eye balloon” that will float above Winnipeg, mimicking the environmentally friendly gardening contraption that keeps avian pests away—and suggesting said pest might, in this context, be Western civilization at large. Saskatoon’s Wally Dion proposes hybridity, constructing spectacular panels featuring tribal iconography composed of circuit boards. On that note, many of the works—true to the event’s spirit of inclusiveness—look backward and forward, locally and globally, such as New Zealander Lisa Reihana’s Digital Marae, a 10-years-and-running multimedia project that plays freely with gender, myth and genetics, seeing a future devoid of borders, whether actual or conceptual. (109 Pacific Ave, 300 Memorial Blvd, 460 Portage Ave & other sites, Winnipeg MB)

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Note: Fields denoted with (*) are required.