The long-anticipated UnSettled exhibition catalogue is fresh off the press!
“For too long, the absence of representations of Two-Spirit people, art, and being from contemporary popular culture has been equally embedded in hegemonic practices of colonization. With “Unsettled” I will explore the art of being of *Two-Spirit artists, and in turn, expose the issues of historical extermination of Two-Spirit people, the lack of alternative aboriginal sexuality and gender in contemporary Western culture/media, the Two-Spirit movement, and future as a part of the reclamation of Two-Spirit identity and practice.” Adrian Stimson – Too Two-Spirited for you: The absence and presence of Two-Spirit people in Western Culture and media (2005)
UnSettled was curated Adrian Stimson for the Queer Arts Festival in 2017 and installed at the Roundhouse in Vancouver. This exhibition is the world’s first entirely Two-Spirit exhibition and the landmark publication documents the artist and images of the artworks as well as thoughtful curatorial essays. The term “Two-Spirit” is used by many Indigenous people to describe their gender, sexual and spiritual identity that is often inclusive of all Indigenous LGBTQ+ in reclaiming and restoring traditional concepts suppressed by colonial heteronormativity. UnSettled presents work from a Two-Spirit perspective, exploring contemporary roles and experiences, as well providing a platform for innovation and experimentation at the intersection between the Indigenous and queer art milieux. UnSettled deploys artistic and critical discourse to focus on Two-Spirit resilience with work addressing power, representation, sexuality, language, body, tradition, memory, colonial narratives, and knowledge sharing.
The exhibition featured Ace’s Bandolier for Alain Brosseau (2017), an honouring work in memoriam of a young 33-year old waiter who worked at the Chateau Laurier in Ottawa in 1989. Alain was murdered just prior to midnight as he walked home through Major’s Hill Park. In the 1980s, Major’s Hill Park was a gay cruising area and was a prime target for regular beatings, robberies and on-going harassment by aggressive homophobes and the Ottawa police. During the summer of 1989, seven other men “mysteriously” fell from the cliffs in Major’s Hill Park and two men died: John Miller (36) and Peter Vainola (37). It is unlikely that the murder of Alain would have sparked such public outrage had he been a gay man. Alain was, in fact, straight. Alain’s murder drove home the salient point that anyone can be a victim of homophobia or hate crimes. (more info)
The digital version of the catalogue is available for free download here.
Queer Arts Festival Vancouver (more info)
Ahasiw Maskegon-Iskwew (1958-2006), Aiyyana Maracle (1950-2016), Barry Ace, T’uy’t’tanat – Cease Wyss, Dayna Danger, George Littlechild, Jessie Short, John Powell, Michelle Sylliboy, Mike MacDonald (1941-2006), Raven John, Richard Heikkilä-Sawan, Robert Houle, Rosalie Favell, Thirza Jean Cuthand, Ursula Johnson, Wanda Nanibush, Vanessa Dion Fletcher.