In Defiance, In Defense
Small Projects Gallery
10-26 February 2012
For this exhibition at Small Projects, I explore connections between Indigenous history, popular resistance, and the art of social practice. Intertwining these themes with a site-specific installation that relies heavily on printmaking and the tactility of fabric, Nággárvuodas, Bealuštussa asks gallery attendees to connect Indigenous issues in Tromsø with similar global struggles. In this manner, the exhibition draws direct connections between my experiences on Turtle Island with my ongoing travels and collaborations with Indigenous artists throughout the world.
Nággárvuodas, Bealuštussa emerges from the recent conclusion by Norwegian politicians to reverse an earlier decision for Tromsø to join the Sami language area. Moreover, I evoke the Australian Aboriginal Flag for political and aesthetic ends. From these divergent points of origin, I address issues of Indigenous defiance and defense, always paying particular attention to participatory aesthetics. The felt signs which line the main gallery employ written excerpts by Sara Margrethe Oskal, a Sami artist based in Guovdageaidnu.
Nággárvuodas, Bealuštussa asks that exhibition attendees remove signs from the gallery and re-contextualize them in and around Sápmi. Serving as counter-institutional and temporary signage, the practice of giving away the objects is likewise a significant component of the work. A day prior to the exhibition’s opening, I facilitated a community screenprinting workshop in which local youth printed one hundred Sami and English pennants for the exhibition.