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Urban Myths: Aboriginal Artists in the City
Karsh-Masson Gallery July 10, 2000 to September 24, 2000
Ottawa: the capital of Canada, our home and Algonkin land. Ottawa and the sites/sights for which it is famed-Parliament Hill, Byward Market, Rideau Hall, national museums, Chateau Laurier, beds of tulips, Rideau Canal-lie within territory never ceded by the Algonkins. As the city of Ottawa began to take shape in the mid-nineteenth century, the Algonkins were “settled” on reserves. Their historic displacement from the site of present-day Ottawa paved the way for the process of building a capital city.
Urban Myths is motivated by this metaphor of visibility and invisibility. What we see in the metropolitan environment-buildings, monuments, parks, street names, neighbourhoods-reflects and reproduces societal values. Yet there is little in the Ottawa landscape that valorizes or affirms the existence of its Aboriginal inhabitants. In the realm of public art, there is only the Indian Scout statue in Major’s Hill Park, and several totem poles scattered throughout the city.
The nine artists in Urban Myths do not pretend to offer straightforward answers to the complex issues. What they do is make eclectic, compelling and often humorous works that comment on what it means to inhabit that urban landscape: its opportunities, tanglements, attachments, realities. They traverse an expansive range of topics-from authenticity and technology to history and identity.
The Ottawa Xpress: Urban myths: Aboriginal Artists in the City
English Version (Downloadable PDF)