Step Mother Tongue india ink wp1

athut / Words Bounce

January 25 to March 31, 2019
Join us for the opening on Thursday, January 24 at 7 pm
 
Joi T. Arcand, Patrick Cruz, Susan Hiller
 
Sometimes words are dropped, and sometimes they are thrown; sometimes they bounce away, and sometimes they bounce back. athut / Words Bounce is an exhibition of painting, installation, photography, and video works by three artists who engage languages as they shift, transform, and even disappear, while impacting people and the cultures they belong to. 
 
In this exhibition Joi T. Arcand, Patrick Cruz, and Susan Hiller approach language as both a subject and a means of articulation, amplified through art. Some of the works in athut / Words Bounce see the generative possibilities of hybridized understandings and mistranslations, while others highlight the vital importance of direct language advocacy to cultural resurgence. 
 
Joi T. Arcand is from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation in central Saskatchewan, Treaty 6 Territory, and currently resides in Ottawa, Ontario. Through photographs, sculptural installations and public artworks, Arcand centralises the revitalization of the Nēhiyawēwin ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᐏᐣ (Plains Cree) language in her work. Many of her works project a future where the Nēhiyawēwin ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᐏᐣ is once again dominant in Arcand’s communities and beyond, returning to the fore as a visible feature in the landscape. Arcand is herself in the process of learning Nēhiyawēwin ᓀᐦᐃᔭᐍᐏᐣ, and recent projects focus on the past and present, drawing from family photographs and other collected images along with comments referring to language and culture received from Arcand’s mentors.
 
Toronto based Filipino-Canadian artist Patrick Cruz's work employs a maximalist approach to painting and sculptural installation that engages cultural and linguistic hybridities. Recent projects under the title Step Mother Tongue include immersive floor to ceiling wall paintings of glyphs and symbols inspired by graffiti, cave drawings, alchemical symbols, and written languages, including the pre-contact Tagalog syllabary Baybayin. In athut / Words Bounce Cruz will create a new version of Step Mother Tongue that will include ceramic vessels based on an ancient pottery practice called Pagburnayan from the Northern-West region of the Philippines. Cruz thinks of clay as akin to language—they both possess a physicality that is malleable. For this installation, potters from the Nanaimo area have been commissioned to make vessels, translated from images of Pagburnayan pots, that will then be painted by Cruz. The Nanaimo Step Mother Tongue installation will also be activated during the exhibition with poetry readings, language classes, and other events. 
 
Born in Talahasse Florida, Susan Hiller lives and works in the United Kingdom. Hiller is a highly influential artist who has been practicing for more than 40 years. Her work often engages intersections between language and technology. athut / Words Bounce features Lost and Found (2016) an immersive video installation built around an audio compilation of voices speaking in 23 different languages, including Aramaic, Comanche, Livonian and other endangered idioms. Many of the anecdotes, songs, arguments, memories, and conversations, shared in Lost and Found directly express the value of language.
 
The English title Words Bounce ricocheted from a very precise two word sentence found in a verse novel by Canadian author Anne Carson* The Hul'q’umi'num title, athut, was provided by Gary Manson and Adam Manson, language advocates from the Snuneymuxw Nation. athut is not a translation of Words Bounce, but rather a parallel title responding to the exhibition on its own terms.  
 
Speaking of languages as they transform, evolve, disappear, and rebound, athut / Words Bounce is the final exhibition in a year in which Nanaimo Art Gallery asks the question: how can we speak differently? In Hul’q’umi’num, the language of the Snuneymuxw people: scekwul yuxw ‘alu kws nec’s tu sqwal ct 
 
*Carson, Anne. Autobiography of Red: A Novel in Verse. Toronto: Vintage Canada, 1999.
 
Image: Patrick Cruz, Step Mother Tongue, India ink, 2 channel video, cardboard, acrylic, 2018
 

 

The Edge of the Knife

Monday, March 4 at 7pm | Avalon Cinema

Tickets: $20

Directed by Gwaai Edenshaw and Helen Haig-Brown, The Edge of the Knife tells the story of a young man named Adiits’ii as he transforms into Gaagiixiid/Gaagiid, the Haida Wildman. Filmed on location in stunning Haida Gwaii, The Edge of the Knife is the first feature shot in two dialects of the endangered Haida language—which has only 20 fluent speakers left.

Working in collaboration with Isuma, the team responsible for Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, Edenshaw and Haig-Brown harness raging elements and swirling emotions to craft a riveting dramatization of this classic Haida tale of survival, forgiveness and community.

Presented by Nanaimo Art Gallery, Nanaimo Aboriginal Centre and TheatreOne. Proceeds from this event will go to support the work of our non-profit organizations.

$20.00 buy tickets here

 

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