Cathy Busby, WE CALL, 2017 (detail of mock-up). Image courtesy the artist.
Cathy Busby: WE CALL
May 20, 2017 - Apr 28, 2018
Cathy Busby edits and re-composes public documents to provoke close readings of how speech acts and linguistic gestures are enacted and circulated. She has produced text-based installations and printed matter that draw attention to the ways that governments obfuscate their accountability towards Indigenous rights and title in public address, policy and service. This series includes We Are Sorry (2008-10), Budget Cuts (2012), Cut and Muzzled (2014) and Taking Up the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action (2016).
In dialogue with these works, WE CALL is composed of selections from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s (TRC) 94 "Calls to Action". This document accompanies the 500-page report that synthesizes the TRC's inquiry into the inter-generational legacy of Canada's Indian Residential School System. Busby's selections highlight the ways that governmental, educational and cultural institutions are called on by the TRC to cultivate Indigenous leadership, stewardship and participation within structural systems. Through patterning and repetition, Busby's vivid floor-to-ceiling text painting makes these calls visible and persistent in the intellectual, social and bureaucratic life of SFU.
The work's title, WE CALL, abbreviates the address of each call to action to emphasize the mutual responsibility of the caller(s) to participate in enacting these structural shifts. In the coming year, Busby will collaborate with SFU faculty and students from disciplines frequently addressed in the document to talk about how they can take up the TRC's calls to action through curriculum, critical dialogue and engaged learning.
WE CALL at the Teck Gallery parallels Busby's collaboration with the Gitksan Wet'suwet'en Education Society in Hazelton, BC to produce an iteration of the wall text painting on their campus.
Busby is a Canadian artist and activist based in Vancouver. Since the 1980s, her practice has addressed local political conditions and social structures as they express critical global issues. Busby was a Fulbright Scholar at New York University and holds a PhD in Communication from Concordia University. She is currently an Adjunct Professor of Visual Art at UBC.
Curated by Amy Kazymerchyk