Above/featured: ‘Oh, How I Long for Home’ (2016).
I first saw this work warmly illuminating the empty concourse late at night in the Academic Quadrangle at my alma mater of Simon Fraser University. It’s great even more eyeballs can see this on display at the Vancouver Art Gallery.
Marianne Nicolson: Dzawada’enuxw, Scottish.
The Kwak’wala phrase “Wa’lasan xwalsa kan ne’kakwe” translates into the English title of this artwork, ‘Oh, How I Long for Home’, while also referencing the dawn. This double meaning could be interpreted as the rising sun ‘returning home’ each day and as a poetic assertion of Kwakwaka’wakw People’s sovereignty over their lands and waters, which includes Nicolson’s home community of Gwa’yi or Kingcome Inlet along the central coast of British Columbia in Canada. Yet the neon sign – which was, at one time, ubiquitous in the streets of Vancouver – is also a marker of urban life, a site of conflicted promise for Indigenous Peoples. Longing for home is an experience with which many can identify, one that’s further complicated when considering the unceded territories upon which British Columbia is built, and the impossibility of returning to a home prior to colonization.
“Transits and Returns” presents the work of 21 Indigenous artists whose practices are both rooted in the specificities of their cultures and routed via their travels. These forces of situatedness and mobility work in synergy and in tension with one another, shaping the multiple ways of understanding and being Indigenous today. Within the exhibition, these dual realities are explored through themes of movement, territory, kinship and representation, with many artworks inhabiting multiple categories. The resulting presentation foregrounds the creative sovereignty of each artist to determine their own articulations of the world, while also exploring the resonances between them.
Featuring artists from local First Nations, as well as those from communities located throughout the Pacific region (ranging from Alutiiq territory in the north to Māori lands in the south, with many mainland and island Nations in between), Transits and Returns traces wide-ranging experiences that are inclusive of both ancestral knowledges and global connections.
I made the photo above on 15 Oct 2019 with a Fujifilm X70 fixed-lens prime (18.5/28) with the following settings: 1/105-sec, f/4, and ISO4000. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-g4n.