Unsettled Sites: Marianne Penner Bancroft, Wanda Nanibush, Tania Willard. Installation view at SFU Gallery, 2016. Photo: Blaine Campbell

Unsettled Sites: Marian Penner Bancroft, Wanda Nanibush, Tania Willard

May 7 - July 29, 2016
SFU Gallery

"I am using my arm to determine the length of the gaze."
-Eve Tuck and C. Ree, "A Glossary of Haunting" in Handbook of Autoethnography.

A traveller that passes through. A home that one leaves or returns to. A haunting. Unsettled Sites is a group exhibition that slips amongst the complex entanglements of belonging and refusal from both settler and Indigenous perspectives. The works disturb the ubiquity of settler colonialism, the violent cleaving of Indigenous inhabitants from the land through both physical removal and forced cultural assimilation--reserves and residential schools to name only two of many such policies. In presuming entitlement to the development and ownership of land, colonialism creates past and future ghosts to achieve and legitimize its aims. Conversely, by dwelling in the incommensurable, that which refuses easy consumption or erasure, the artists in the exhibition collapse the mythology of settlement.

In installation, photography and video, the authoritative fixity of representational media is betrayed as those bodies presumed to be contained--as ghosts, as pop culture signifiers one step removed from the referent--return to haunt the image as desiring bodies, as spectres, as present absences that make even the quotidian an uncertain experience. In mining the historical and present circumstances that mutually implicate us, the works in Unsettled Sites point to urgent questions of response and action: What does it mean to carry home with us? Can one both belong to a place and remain unsettled? What does an ethic of visiting look like? What does it mean to haunt the structures of settler colonialism? These creative acts of sovereignty and cohabitation exceed the colonial framework and open possibilities for alternate futures, though the path ahead may not be entirely clear, harmonious or prescriptive in its politics.

Marian Penner Bancroft works with photography, text, video, sculpture and sound. Recent work addresses issues of public history (both Canadian and European) and the construction of the visual imagination, particularly as they relate to music and mapping strategies in representing the landscape. Bancroft studied at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver School of Art, and Ryerson University. National and international exhibitions include those at Vancouver Art Gallery, Sala Uno in Rome, Italy, and Centre Culturel Canadien in Paris. Her work is in the collections of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, National Gallery of Canada, Burnaby Art Gallery, Belkin Gallery, Canada Council Art Bank, and Canada House in London, UK. Bancroft was the 2009 recipient of the City of Vancouver's Mayor’s Arts Award for Visual Art and the 2012 Audain Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts. She is a Professor Emeritus at Emily Carr University and is represented by the Republic Gallery.

Wanda Nanibush is an Anishinaabe-kwe image and word warrior, curator and community organizer living in her territory of Chimnissing. Currently, Nanibush is a guest curator at the Art Gallery of Ontario and is touring her exhibition The Fifth World, which opened January 2016 at the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery. The island life allows her to finish upcoming projects, including a film called A Love Letter to My People, also a documentary on Gerald Vizenor, and a book called Violence No More (Arp Press), as well as an anthology of Indigenous curatorial writing and more. She has an MA in Visual Studies from the University of Toronto and has taught doctoral courses on Indigenous history and politics at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto. 

Tania Willard, Secwepemc Nation, works within the shifting ideas around contemporary and traditional, often working with bodies of knowledge and skills that are conceptually linked to her interest in intersections between Aboriginal and other cultures. Willard has worked as an artist in residence with Gallery Gachet in Vancouver, Banff Centre's visual arts residency, and as a curator in residence with grunt gallery. Willard's work is in the collections of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Kamloops Art Gallery and Thompson Rivers University. Willard’s curatorial work includes Beat Nation: Art Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture, co-curated with Kathleen Ritter that toured from Vancouver Art Gallery to Montreal, Toronto, Kamloops, Halifax and Regina. Willard was the Aboriginal Curator in Residence at Kamloops Art Gallery until 2015. Current projects include, Rule of the Trees, a public art project at Commercial Broadway SkyTrain station and BUSH gallery, a conceptual land-based gallery grounded in Indigenous knowledges.

Tarah Hogue is a curator and writer of Dutch, French and Métis ancestry originally from the Prairies. She holds an MA in Art History, Critical and Curatorial Studies from the University of British Columbia and a BA(H) in Art History from Queen’s University. Since 2014 Hogue has been conducting research as well as coordinating exhibitions and programming as the Aboriginal Curatorial Resident at grunt gallery. She is lead curator on #callresponse with Maria Hupfield and Tania Willard along with invited artists Christi Belcourt, Ursula Johnson, and Laakkuluk Williamson-Bathory, a series of site-specific and socially engaged works that will be followed by an exhibition at grunt gallery in October 2016. Current projects include Cutting Copper: Indigenous Resurgent Practice (co-curator), a collaboration between grunt gallery and the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, Audain Aboriginal Curatorial Fellow with the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, writer-in-residence with VIVO Media Arts, and she has forthcoming texts for Inuit Art Quarterly, MICE Magazine and the 2016 MFA Graduate Exhibition at UBC on the work of Jeneen Frei Njootli. Hogue has curated exhibitions at the Satellite Gallery, Or Gallery and was co-curator of Witnesses: Art and Canada's Indian Residential Schools at the Morris and Helen Belkin Art Gallery, and NET-ETH: Going Out of the Darkness, organized by Malaspina Printmakers. In 2009 she co-founded the Gam Gallery, a Vancouver exhibition space, studio and boutique. 

Curated by Tarah Hogue


Opening Reception and Conversation with Tarah Hogue, Marian Penner Bancroft and Tania Willard
Saturday, May 7, 2016, 1pm
SFU Gallery, Burnaby (gallery opens at 12PM)

Walking Tour: Unsettled Sites
Saturday, May 28, 2016, 1pm
SFU Gallery, Burnaby

Reading and Walking Tour of Burnaby Mountain with Cease Wyss, Adam Gold, and Valeen Jules who will discuss the intersections of Indigenous plant knowledge and the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline protests. 

Support Material


Unsettled Sites: Conversation with curator Tarah Hogue and artists Marian Penner Bancroft and Tania Willard
Saturday, May 7 2016, 1pm
SFU Gallery, Burnaby