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Super Phat Nish is a series addressing urban Indigenous experience, through the creation of a popular culture icon. Based on the Anishinaabe mythological trickster Nanabozho, SPN is a self-reflexive personification constantly transforming to engage, critique, and indiginize normative settler imagery. The shape-shifting SPN can be perceived as humorous and ironic, yet simultaneously, there is a subversive subtext that levels cultural critique against dominant narratives. SPN reclaims stereo-typical representations to challenge negative racial portrayals through a repositioning that coalesces with contemporary Indigenous urbanity. ‘Super Phat’ (cool and hip) combines with ‘Nish’ (cajoling street-smart term for Anishinaabe) to reference belonging and tribalism.
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CATALOGUE: Super Phat Nish. Art Gallery of Southern Manitoba, Brandon, Manitoba
Interview with curator Cathy Mattes