Dana Claxton: Made To Be Ready. Installation view, Audain Gallery, 2016. Photo: Blaine Campbell.

Dana Claxton: Made To Be Ready

January 14 - March 12, 2016
Audain Gallery

Dana Claxton's practice explores the spiritual, political and cultural life of Indigenous peoples of the Americas, specifically those of Plains First Nations. Her films, videos, photographs, multi-channel installations and performances critique the representation of Indigenous people within Western anthropology, art and entertainment.

Claxton's new photographs and video works in Made To Be Ready are informed by her attention to Indigenous womanhood and sovereignty. Drawing on the ideas of Anishinaabe writer and scholar Gerald Vizenor, particularly his notion of survivance which unifies survival and resilience as a means of resistance, Claxton's photos picture Indigenous women commanding their own mediation of cultural, political and spiritual ways of being and doing.

The women in these works captivate the life force of Lakota cultural belongings that are to be actively used in domestic work, warfare, social space and ritual. They counter the commodification of Indigenous aesthetics and the preservation of "artifacts." The works are charged with Claxton's concept of the Indigenous made-to-be-ready, which draws attention to the everyday aura of aesthetic forms, inverting the concept of the modernist ready-made and its attention to the aesthetic aura of everyday forms.

Claxton is from the Lakota First Nations-Wood Mountain reserve in Southwest Saskatchewan. She lives and works in Vancouver, where she is an Associate Professor in the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory at the University of British Columbia. Her work has been shown internationally at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis; Eiteljorg Museum, Indianapolis; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney. She's participated in the 17th Biennale of Sydney, 2010; La Biennale de Montréal, 2007; and Le Havre biennale d'art contemporain, 2006.

Curated by Amy Kazymerchyk.


Opening Reception
Wednesday, January 13, 7 - 9pm
Audain Gallery

Intertextual Reading Group: Lindsay Lachance facilitates Monique Mojica's "Stories From the Body: Blood Memory and Organic Texts" (2011)
Wednesday, February 3, 6 - 8pm
Audain Gallery

Intertextual: Art in Dialogue is an ongoing reading group held across a range of visual art institutions in Vancouver that takes place between January and October 2016. The group aims to connect a series of readings that provoke dialogue about how art and its ideas are written, circulated, contested and rewritten. Texts are distributed at the event and read aloud; discussion is open to all and no prior preparation is required. For more information on Intertextual, and a full reading group schedule, visit https://www.facebook.com/intertextualartindialogue.
Mojica, Monique. "Stories From the Body: Blood Memory and Organic Texts." Native American Performance and Representation. ed. S.E. Wilmer (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2011)

Monique Mojica (Kuna and Rappahannock) is a playwright, director, and actor based out of Toronto. She is a founding member of Native Earth Performing Arts. In this article, she describes "Blood Memory" as a relational process. She explains how knowledge is carried with her through her DNA, so although she may not have personally had certain experiences, she is able to feel, embody and act on them because they are part of her. "Blood Memory" can be considered a physical manifestation of reclaiming and implementing Indigenous ways of being and knowing in relation to self and to others. Mojica explains,  "As a contemporary Native Theatre Artist I feel it is crucial that we acknowledge our experience as a valid worldview--something that has been consistently denied to us... This is our reality. And that reality is inclusive of worlds that are both seen and unseen"(99).  

Lindsay Lachance is an Anishinaabe PhD candidate at the University of British Columbia and has a Masters in Theatre Theory and Dramaturgy from the University of Ottawa. Her areas of interest include performance aesthetics, the physicalization of spirituality in time and space, and the multiple creation processes of Indigenous dramaturgies.

Panel Conversation with Monika Kin Gagnon, Richard William Hill, Tania Willard and moderated by Catherine M. Soussloff
Saturday, February 27, 1 - 3pm
Audain Gallery 

Monika Kin Gagnon is Professor of Communication Studies at Concordia University. She has published widely on cultural politics, the visual and media arts since the 1980s, including Other Conundrums: Race, Culture and Canadian Art (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2000) and 13 Conversations about Art and Cultural Race Politics (Éditions Artexte, 2002) with Richard Fung. She recently published "Communicating the Intermedia Archive," on Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s unfinished film, White Dust from Mongolia, in Database | Narrative | Archive (2013), a Scalar book co-edited with Matt Soar; and co-edited Reimagining Cinema: Film at Expo 67 with Janine Marchessault (McGill-Queen's UP, 2014). 

Richard William Hill is a curator, critic and art historian. He is a Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Studies at Emily Carr University of Art and Design. His research focuses primarily, but not exclusively, on historical and contemporary art created by Indigenous North American artists. Hill taught full-time in the Art History program at York University, from 2007 to 2015. As a curator at the Art Gallery of Ontario, he oversaw the museum’s first substantial effort to include Indigenous North American art and ideas in permanent collection galleries. Hill’s essays on art have appeared internationally in numerous books, exhibition catalogues and periodicals. 

Tania Willard, Secwepemc Nation, works with the shifting ideas of contemporary and traditional as they relate to cultural arts and productionOften working with bodies of knowledge and skills that are conceptually linked to her interest in intersections between  Aboriginal and other cultures. Willard's curatorial work includes Beat Nation: Art Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture, a national touring exhibition, first presented at the Vancouver Art Gallery in 2011. Her upcoming project, co-curated with Karen Duffek will be a solo exhibition, Unceded Territories: Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun at the Museum of Anthropology in 2016. Willard’s personal curatorial projects include BUSH gallery, a conceptual space for land based art and action led by Indigenous artists.

Catherine M. Soussloff is Professor of Art History, Visual Art & Theory and Associate, Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of British Columbia. She is known for her comparative and historical approaches to the central theoretical concerns of European and North American art and aesthetics, including photography and film, from the Renaissance to the present. Dr. Soussloff has received major awards and fellowships from the Getty Research Institute and Institute for the Humanities at New York University, among others.  Recently appointed as a Visiting Lecturer by the Collège de France, she lectured on the topic of her forthcoming book: Michel Foucault and the Pleasure of Painting.

Support Material


Panel Conversation with Monika Kin Gagnon, Richard William Hill, Tania Willard and moderated by Catherine M. Soussloff
Saturday, February 27, 1 - 3pm
Audain Gallery