👽 Artwork by Sonny Assu. Digital intervention on an A.Y Jackson painting. Presented in collaboration with the Contemporary Native Art Biennial (BACA). This is part of our new exhibition "Juxtaposition" at Galerie Blanc curated by myself.
Sonny Assu (Liǥwildaʼx̱w/Kwakwaka’wakw) is an interdisciplinary artist based in Campbell River, British Columbia. Through his diverse practice, spanning painting, sculpture, photography, digital art, and printmaking, he explores his family history and the experiences of being an Indigenous person in a colonial state. The works exhibited here, taken from the Interventions On The Imaginary series, show scenes that seem incongruous at first sight: brightly coloured ovoid shapes inspired by Northwest Coast traditional iconography are superimposed on digital reproductions of famous Canadian paintings. Mordant yet insightful titles indicate the subversive nature of this project to the viewer. Challenging myths and stereotypes perpetuated by conventional representations of our country and its inhabitants, Assu’s interventions highlight the settler narrative underlying these artworks. Not only does the artist disrupt the colonial gaze, but he also confronts the portrayal of Indigenous peoples as a vanishing race by relying on today’s language and technology. His work has been accepted into various institutions, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Seattle Art Museum and the Vancouver Art Gallery.
These sketches by A.Y. Jackson are wonderful examples of his artistic principles as a founding member of The Group of Seven. The Group believed in boldly painting the Canadian landscape which had been considered too rugged by previous artists. Inspired by Tom Thomson, Jackson and other members of the Group of Seven would undertake trips into Canada's wilderness to sketch and paint the landscape of Georgian Bay, Algonquin Park and Algoma. Here we have sketches of Canada, by a significant Canadian and in a uniquely Canadian style.