At The Edge Of Canada: Indigenous Research
March 12, 2018
Today our guest is Tsimshian-Gitksan/Cree-Métis artist Skeena Reece. Her show “Sweetgrass and Honey” has been running at the Plug-In Institute of Contemporary Art in downtown Winnipeg since January 20 and is set to wrap on March 18. Skeena gives us a virual tour of the exhibit, one that has been billed as a “survey of sorts” of some of her most recognizable work with the addition of some new work, too. The focal point of the exhibit is a mock living room set-up slightly off-centre, pointing intentionally away from an awe-inspiring wall mural commissioned from Wuikinuxv-Klahoose multimedia artist Bracken Hanuse Corlett. It is not until you sit in that chair does one feel the full weight of the stories and ideas and feelings that are compiled in the show. There are a number of other powerful pieces in “Sweetgrass and Honey” that Skeena commissioned like a series of pictures of Skeena with photoshopped scenes of colonial resistance on her body illustrated by Kwakwaka’wakw artist Gord Hill and a mischievous and satirical portrait of Skeena done by settler artist Collin Elder. Skeena and I chat about the artistic process, how commissioning art works as a form, the affective energy of “Sweetgrass and Honey”, and she shares the profound influence James Luna had on her as an Indigenous artist.
We dedicate the show to the memory and spirit of James Luna who passed away on March 4.