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May 7 to June 18, 2022
Opening: Saturday, May 7, 2022 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Land Back : Lori Blondeau, Raven Chacon, Tracey-Mae Chambers, Gregg Deal, Jeremy Dennis, Duane Isaac, Ursula Johnson, Cheryl L’Hirondelle , Logan MacDonald, Meagan Musseau, Camille Seaman, Julia Rose Sutherland
Curator: Michael Patten
The Biennial of Contemporary Native Art (BACA) – 6th edition

Free shuttle to Sherbrooke on April 28.
Departure from Montreal at 2:30 p.m. from the Art Mature gallery.

Free shuttle to Pointe-Claire on May 8.
Departure from Montreal at 1:00 p.m. from the Art Mature gallery.

Art Mûr gallery
5826, rue St-Hubert
Montreal, (Quebec) Canada, H2S 2L7

Since time immemorial, indigenous peoples have preserved biodiversity despite the continued growth of the human population. Shortly after the time of first contact with Europeans, indigenous communities were stripped of their ancestral lands; the Land Back movement aims to restore governance and stewardship of the land for a sustainable future.

If Land Back is intended as a call to action, a return to fairness in stolen territory, it also opens up to a certain questioning. How can we best protect biodiversity, land and water? The first step would be to return the land to its traditional and legitimate protectors. The revaluation of indigenous knowledge goes beyond symbolic gestures of recognition or inclusion; it aims to significantly modify practices and structures.

The motif of the rock traces an Ariadne’s thread between the practices of several artists presented. This is posed as a marker of meaning, but also of territory; a sort of meeting point and support for these peoples dispossessed of their ancestral territories. The rock is solid, but it can be fragmented.

In her photographic series Asiniy Iskwew (“Rock Woman” in Cree), Lori Blondeau addresses the destruction of Mistaseni – a 400-tonne sacred rock and staging ground for the South Saskatchewan River Dam Project. Carefully choosing her location, she captures her self-portrait; standing on a rock, wearing a red dress, looking defiant. Through these photographs, the artist pays tribute to the resilience of Indigenous women in the face of systemic violence. In this echo, Meagan Musseau, with a poetic gesture, patiently weaves long ribbons of tulle hanging from a root system, while these are carried away by the wind. The artist thus anchors his gesture in the territory and deepens his relationship with it.

Photographer Camille Seaman extensively documented the 2016 Standing Rock protest in North Dakota. This rally had positioned itself against the passage of the Dakota Access pipeline, which was completed in 2017. One of these photographs bears the title Protect & Serve (The Corporations), this one shows a Protestant alone facing a heavily armed police convoy.

At the same time, other artists join in this more politically engaged discourse with very striking imagery. Without mincing words, Julia Rose Sutherland uses the technique of embroidery of porcupine quills to write protest activist slogans in her series Rest in peace Rodney Levi. Gregg Deal, in his work The Last American Indian on Earth, develops a discourse on Indigenous identity and the racist stereotypes associated with it by documenting his encounter with average Americans, as he portrays a stereotypical version of a person native.

For his part, Jeremy Dennis, in his series Nothing Happened Here, exposes in a raw way the violence left by colonialism, using the bloody arrow as a symbol. Duane Issac, also through photography, articulates a discourse on the connection that connects Indigenous bodies to their lands and how the well-being of one is intimately linked to the survival of the other.

Strongly representative of the Land Back movement, these productions are placed as symbols of strength and resistance.

We recognize that the BACA takes place on unceded Indigenous territory and that the Kanien’kehá:ka Nation is the guardian of the lands and waters we share today. Tiohtiá:ke / Montreal is historically known as a gathering place for many First Nations. Today a diverse population resides there. The BACA recognizes the importance of links with the past, present and future in the current relations between Aboriginals and non-Aboriginals within the Montreal community.

The Biennial of Contemporary Native Art (BACA) would like to thank the Canada Council for the Arts, the Government of Quebec (Council of Arts and Letters of Quebec, Investment Fund for the Outreach of the Metropolis), Tourisme Montréal, the Council of arts de Montréal, Art Mûr and its other distribution partners.

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