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Global Affairs Canada have acquired Ace’s large scale paper work Traditional (2021) for their permanent collection and will be exhibited in Canadian diplomatic missions abroad in 2023.
Over the past several months, Tania Poggione, Director of Heffel (Montreal), has been working closely with Global Affairs Canada on the acquisition and submission through in-person meetings and coordination of professional high resolution images, written documentation and a video short (catalogue and video). Directly following the exhibition run of Encoding Culture II: The Works of Barry Ace at Heffel (Toronto), the work was crated and shipped to Global Affairs Canada in Gatineau, Quebec.
For Ace, the work Traditional is deeply rooted in its form, function and materiality, where materiality encompasses not only the contemporaneity of the artist and presentation of a culture-based paper regalia work, but also in its physicality and use of disparate materials incorporated to transform the viewer’s aesthetic experience. In this hyper-digital and cyber-age, we have become increasingly disconnected from our ability to fully experience and comprehend the mnemonic qualities of the hand-made and our ability to decipher the experiential of its sensory and intellectual engagement. Traditional attempts to bridge this precipice between our material and immaterial realms through embedded mnemonic code and cultural similes represented in the juxtaposition of glass beads and electronic components as a confluence of the historical and contemporary. The introduction and integration of antiquated capacitors, resistors, light-emitting diodes and circuit boards represent the bi-product and refuse of contemporary technological colonization in the digital age. When read together, these materials subtly retain a distinct Anishinaabeg aesthetic, yet simultaneously they challenge the predominant western social science containment of Indigenous cultures that is deeply rooted in racialized hierarchical classification systems where any notions of modernity disrupt these Western monolithic canons of subjugation. Traditional intentionally troubles the viewers constructed Western concepts of “craft versus high art”, where any signs of modernity in Indigenous cultural arts clearly challenges the dominant social science theories of control and cultural stasis.