Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Burning Schoolhouses

Just in time for Canada Day...fireworks!  I'm happy to announce that I'll have some work up in an exhibition that will be a part of the Planet IndigenUS Festival in August.  The festival will take part mainly at Harbourfront Centre, but also at partner institution Woodland Cultural Centre in Brantford, Ontario.  The exhibition is a showcase of the work of students of the Aboriginal Visual Culture program at OCADU.  I am not in the Aboriginal Visual Culture program myself, but I'm grateful to have been invited by department head and incredible artist Bonnie Devine to take part anyway.  My piece is called Burning Schoolhouses-- more on them below.

Burning Schoolhouses, 2012
Fireworks, Japanese Kozo paper and adhesive
Installation dimensions variable
Each unit approximately 15cm X 14cm X 6cm

Burning Schoolhouses is a series of sculptural multiples inspired by the essay Confessions of a Born Again Pagan by Fred Kelly.  The multiples employ the use of the classic firework, The Burning Schoolhouse, to explore the explosive issue of residential schools just over fifteen years after the last residential school in Canada was closed in 1996.  The objects simultaneously connote a sense of celebration, violence and catharsis while embodying the complex and painful process of reconciliation for both aboriginal and non-aboriginal Canadians.

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