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[Artist Talk] Between Savage and Civilized: Negotiating a Space for Indigenous Art in the 21st Century

Brett Graham
August 9, 2014

Residency: July 21 – August 15, 2014
Artist Talk: August 9, 8:00 p.m. // Reception to follow.

Neutral Ground Contemporary Art Forum is pleased to announce an artist residency with international artist Brett Graham.

One of New Zealand’s most accomplished sculptors, Brett Graham (Ngati Koroki Kahukura) is highly regarded for his ability to turn complex historical and cultural ideas into strong sculptural forms. His projects are based on extensive research into white settler and indigenious histories, and often made in collaboration with scholars and other cultural researchers. Brett Graham’s installations are often referred to as “memory sculptures” works that attempt, in an age of cyber-capitalism and media-induced amnesia, to evoke more cogent and embodied reflections on the present and the past.

Extending over a three-week period, this residency in Regina will entail an intensive period of discussions on colonial histories (of both New Zealand and Canada), finding commonalities between these histories, pinpointing and preparing a critical path for the creation of new work, as well as setting up possibilities for communication and exchange. This type of collaboration in many ways is a pioneering response to continuing calls to decolonize history and rethink what are valid and effective modes of historiography for the province of Saskatchewan. It is an experiment that attempts to speak across settler and indigenous perspectives, to return marginalized histories to the field of representation, and to challenge how colonial and indigenious histories might be experienced and communicated.

Brett Graham holds a PHD from University of Auckland, and his work has been included in solo and group exhibitions worldwide, such as the collateral programme of the 2007 Venice Biennale, the 2010 Biennale of Sydney and most recently a 2013 exhibition Sakahn: International Indigenous Art at the National Gallery of Canada. Earlier this summer, Brett Graham participated in the International Studio & Curatorial Program (ISCP) in New York as a part of Creative New Zealands visual arts residency program.

This residency will culminate in the creation of a new work that will be exhibited onsite as part of a future exhibition WANTED for Neutral Ground Contemporary Art Forum and other venues. WANTED addresses the various formal and conceptual issues of space, time, process, and material. The exhibition explores the relationships between consumption, desirable objects and their temporal nature to create something which extends beyond installation and sculpture. The exhibition will open in 2015 with works by international and national artists selected by curator Elizabeth Matheson.

Brett Grahams residency is made possible by the Saskatchewan Arts Board with support from the University of Regina.