Why Art Matters: Art, SFU and Aboriginal Reconciliation

SFU Galleries and SFU First Nations Studies present “Why Art Matters: Art, SFU and Aboriginal Reconciliation with Dana Claxton, Richard William Hill and John O’Brian”.

Art is essential to our understanding of the world's rapidly shifting cultural, political and environmental topography and offers ways of thinking toward various futures. Simon Fraser University recently released a report from its Aboriginal Reconciliation Council that articulates art as an essential component in the dialogue around reconciliation and calls for a meaningful engagement with the work shown on campus.

A large number of works from the SFU Art Collection are publically displayed on SFU's Burnaby campus. Works that are insensitive to Indigenous culture and history, such as those by Canadian artists Charles Comfort and John Innes, are currently installed alongside works that approach questions of Indigenous identity and politics by Marianne Nicolson, Bill Reid and Edgar Heap of Birds.

When a large mural by Charles Comfort entitled British Columbia Pageant (1951) was installed at SFU in 2004 it was met with protests from faculty and students opposed to its representation of Indigenous history in this province. Since that time, there have been works installed in response to the controversy in order to create dialogue, but there is a larger question now as to whether the work should be removed. Embedded within this discussion is the original commission of the mural by TD Bank and SFU's acquisition of it in the early 2000s, raising questions of institutional power and responsibility.

Bringing together artist Dana Claxton and the art historians/curators Richard William Hill and John O'Brian, this panel considers why and how art matters in this discussion. Beyond illustration and propaganda, how does art's complex thinking support our changing landscape and the representation of Indigenous culture? In the context of a pedagogical institution, what is art's role?“

Date : 2018-03-2970 views
Department : Art Gallery
Category : SFU Events
Keyword : Art, First Nations