Friday, September 5, 2008 to Saturday, October 4, 2008

    • Friday, September 5, 2008
    GALLERY 101 PROUDLY PRESENTS: IN COLLABORATION WITH THE ABORIGINAL CURATORIAL COLLECTIVE CO-PRESENTED BY THE FOREMAN GALLERY, BISHOP’S UNIVERSITY, LORE "The truth about stories is that that's all we are." - Thomas King There is much to be said about King’s statement; stories and storytelling are complex ideas that shape our perceptions, our lives and our choices. Evolving through oral traditions, diverse cultures and in/formalities, stories we hear and tell draw upon experiences and imagination interwoven with traces of history, politics, religion, and social idle talk to make sense of our relationship to place, faith and one another. The principle of orality, the verbal expression of ideas that stimulate social communication, is a vigorous event that incites our senses through the act of listening and the power of sound. The spoken narrative develops culture and is communal, extending from generation to generation. The orator or storyteller has a great ability to entice our imagination to experience knowledge, locate memory and preserve testimony. However, the development and implementation of literacy -- a writing system and print beyond mnemonic devices, challenged, conflated and reduced the oral tradition in magnitude amid a Western purview. In the exhibition LORE, artists Duane Linklater, Tania Willard and Jason Lujan focus and source their artwork on the enduring, diverse and powerful forms of storytelling and oral traditions significant within First Nations cultures and beyond to reverse the reputed demeanor. As each artist contends and agrees with Thomas King’s insight that, “Stories are wondrous things,” they are also aware, mindful and respect the notion that “…they are dangerous…For once a story is told, it cannot be called back. Once told, it is loose in the world.” Linklater, Lujan and Willard are storytellers in their own right, contributing voice to narratives visually. The story, storyteller and unending significance of the oral tradition provide a foundation for the artists to seek out the dichotomy of universal realities that rely upon myths, as well as facts on fictions. By examining lore that hinges upon a colonial worldview, Linklater and Willard appropriate and translate master narratives in order to deconstruct dominant voices and beliefs embedded in a Western conscience. Even as these narratives have been disseminated, not only orally, but extensively though Western produced text and media, they continue to have a profound effect at all societal levels. In their illustrative works, they lure construed dominant narratives to the “other” side to de-contextualize erroneous perceptions and re-constitute the criticality of the Indigenous voice and others pertinent to expanding societies limitations of belief. Linklater’s work focuses on the premise of the captivity narrative depicted in popular 18th and 19th century literature, such as The Abduction of Daniel Boone's Daughter by the Indians by Charles Ferdinand Wimar (1853) or The Redeemed Captive Returning to Zion by Rev. John Williams (1706), which have constructed, bore and eroticized stereotypes of the “savage” within Euro-American/Canadian colonial discourse. In his eight paintings that make up Narrative of My Captivity, Linklater lavishly yet delicately exaggerates a tension and aura resulting in a whimsical fairy-tale book aesthetic. He says, “The intent of these paintings is to sabotage these stereotypes by appropriating and re-contextualizing images from European contexts and histories in subtle ways. These paintings shall evoke a variety of responses from viewers and open a dialogue for further discussions of de-constructing stereotypes of Native peoples in contemporary society.” The conceptual framework surrounding Tania Willard’s The Old Ones, positions Indigenous and colonizing cultures in opposition to each other to seek out a balance as well as resistance to the colonial project. Through paintings (RIP and Spiritual Survivor), printmaking (Thunderbird) and bookwork (Dreaming Terra Incognito), Willard emphasizes an abrupt interruption in common beliefs and reality between the two cultures that is still misunderstood today. By juxtaposing and disturbing reality with myth, spirituality and superstition represented globally, Willard is able to breakdown the hierarchal structure of the master narrative. Willard combines oral tradition, history and ethnography to emphasize the power of voice and belief that strengthens survival and spirit. Jason Lujan’s multimedia piece From One Dream To Another follows a young Indigenous girl’s journey through the forest to the allure of the urban landscape and buzz of a global/glocal community. In a dreamlike state, she finally arrives, lost amidst the concrete. The narrative lucidly explores and toys with identity transitions through notions of shape shifting, cultural assimilation and hybridization. By utilizing a series of long exposure photographs that are animated with graphic overlays and sound, Lujan gently emphasizes metaphor, popular allegory and unique positions of cultural power inherently sought out. From One Dream to Another can be viewed as a cautionary tale, a forewarning relevant to the disposition and structure of lore that translates universally. Together, the works in LORE bring about a opportunity to criticize, manipulate, strategize and re-consider the impact and traditions developed through orality and the art of storytelling. The works massage the timeless lore accumulated over generations that still linger unspoken in our minds. Architectural and visual-arts critic John Bentley Mays reminds us we have stories to teach us, stories to heal us, stories to warn us, and stories to lead us. There are still many stories to be told and resolved. Ryan Rice, Curator 2008 Ryan Rice, a Mohawk of Kahnawake, Quebec is an independent curator. Rice received a Master of Arts degree in Curatorial Studies from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, New York, graduated from Concordia University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and received an Associate of Fine Arts from the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has worked for the past 12 years within the museum/art gallery milieu as an educator, intern, technician, curator (assistant, guest, resident, independent and Chief) at the Iroquois Indian Museum, Canadian Museum of Civilization, Indian Art Centre (DIAND), Carleton University Art Gallery and the Walter Phillips Gallery. Rice is a co-founder /coordinator of Nation To Nation (, a First Nations artist collective and co-founder and chair of the Aboriginal Curatorial Collective ( In 2008, Rice will tour his exhibitions ANTHEM: Perspectives on Home and Native Land and Oh So Iroquois, and will be opening new exhibitions in Lethbridge, Alberta, Toronto, Ontario and Montreal, Quebec. Bibliography: King, Thomas, The Truth About Stories (A Native Narrative), House of Anansi Press, 2003 Linklater, Duane, Artist Statement – Correspondance via email 2008 Lujan, Jason, Artist Statement – Correspondance via email 2008 Willard, Tania, Artist Statement – Correspondance via email 2008