Talk Sweet to Me: Critical Fear and Indigenous Art
ABSTRACT / A few years ago, Australian Aboriginal artist Vernon Ah Kee lamented the “dearth of criticism of Aboriginal art” and suggested that the reason “no-one had ever criticized his work” was because “they were afraid.” Many Indigenous artists reckon that the lack of critical engagement is the barrier that keeps their art in a bubble at the edge of the art world pond. However, there is great anxiety that bursting this protective sphere would lead to assimilation, a shift from Indigenous art to mere art, from Indigenous artist to mere artist. In order to unlock the Ah Kee paradox we need to understand the difference between Customary, Aboriginal, and Indigenous art and then map Indigenous art’s changing relation to the dominant art world, particularly its reception, interpretation, and evaluation through critical art writing, and the rise of a parallel Indigenous art world with its own artists, curators, critical writers, spaces, protocols, and discourse. This talk concerns Indigenous critical writing about Indigenous art; non-Indigenous writing about Indigenous art; and, especially, critical art writing and critical oral performance outside of the mainstream publishing structure.
BIOGRAPHY / David Garneau is a Métis artist, curator, writer and Associate Professor of Visual Arts at the University of Regina. He recently co-curated (with Michelle LaVallee) Moving Forward, Never Forgetting at the Mackenzie Art Gallery in Regina and With Secrecy and Despatch (with Tess Allas) for the Campbelltown Art Centre in Sydney, Australia. Garneau has given numerous talks in Australia, New Zealand the United States, as well as throughout Canada. He is part of the SSHRC-funded research project Creative Conciliations, and is working on public art projects in Edmonton. His paintings are in numerous public and private collections.
New Modes of Publishing and Distribution
Sky Goodden, Walter Scott, Emmanuel Iduma, David Garneau, Kristy Trinier
September 17, 2:00 – 3:50 PM
Engineered Air Theatre, 234 9 Avenue SW