Author Archives: Neal Nolan
Challenging Aboriginal cultural borders, ACME Studios announces the erecting of massive Aboriginal public art – a night of 18 open studios, three gallery receptions, live music and celebration all under one roof.
Vancouver, BC – Tuesday, Sept 6th, 2011
Curated by Neal Nolan in Conjunction with artist Sonny Assu’s solo exhibition at The West Vancouver Museum on Sept 14th and ACME Studio building’s full open building crawl of Sept 9th- the artist has partnered with the building’s event and curatorial departments in erecting the 16 ft. x 8 ft. Coke – Salish piece on Hastings street.
|sonnyassu.comRegarded as ‘Vanguard’ for his piece in the Vancouver Art Gallery’s exhibit, How Soon Is Now?, Sonny Assu continues to push the boundaries of contemporary art by challenging the perception of Aboriginal art.|
An interdisciplinary artist, Assu merges Aboriginal iconography with the aesthetics of popular culture to challenge the social and historical values placed upon both. An exploration of his mixed ancestry, his work appropriates or transforms items of consumer and popular culture to trace the lineage of his own personal life. Interested in ideas around Aboriginal issues, branding and new technologies, he works across many boundaries and disciplines and in doing so, reveals a ravishing oeuvre that speaks to many.
Developed and founded in 2009 by David Dupery (The Rickshaw Theater, No Fun City, Narrow Lounge, Rumpus Room ) ACME studios houses over 40 artists and three galleries. Registered (by LGS) as a Non-Profit Society in 2011 The building exists as Vancouver’s largest organized studio block in Vancouver- featuring major interior and exterior curatorial projects over the next two years.
Curated by: Neal E. Nolan
Made possible with the help of:
NK’MIP Wines l Central Bistro l Junebug Enterprises
Digital print on plasticore
collection of the artist, courtesy of the artist and the Equinox gallery.
Curatorial statement by: Neal E. Nolan.
Coke – Salish, featured here, embodies an expansive identity of Aboriginal culture, the term Coast Salish itself applying to a variety of Nations; encompassing the Georgia Basin and Puget Sound including British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon.
Evidence of established Coast Salish settlements were discovered at Xa:ytem (Hatzic Rock) near Mission BC, dating back as early as 9,000–8,000 BCE. A historical legacy to this land’s past is definitely owned by it’s indigenous people and is embodied in the message.
Though all world history holds a narrative of warring over land, the work pays as much attention to the agitated struggle for recognition as it does to a harmonious resolve within a peaceful gesture.
The piece’s strength lies in its inclusiveness, reflecting an entire territory of peoples, at the same time illustrating the contentious history often glossed over by the commercialization and consumption of culture. The term appropriated into iconic corporate signage acknowledges the original image’s connection to a duality of nostalgia connected to a land divided by assimilation and sharing two individual sets of heritage.
As much of our more contemporary cultural identity has been largely connected to corporations and marketing, Sonny presents a reverse appropriation of culture. In this way the concept itself, in the utilization of the appropriated corporate identity, reverses its notion, draws parallels, and reminds us of our past and yet still remains inclusive to all cultures in suggesting the continued enjoyment of the land.
Born in 1975, Interdisciplinary artist Sonny Assu is Laich-kwil-tach (Kwakwaka’wakw) of the Wei Wai Kai First Nation. Graduating from the Emily Carr University in 2002, his work has challenged borders in contemporary Native Art and expanded boundaries previously considered impassable within aboriginal culture.