athut / Words Bounce

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


52518080 10156977777068431 4150109473718927360 nathut / Words Bounce reading series

Whess Harman, Selina Boan, Christian Vistan, Emma Metcalfe Hurst
Organized by SPIT
March 24, 2 pm*
Sonnet L'Abbé & Fred Wah
March 31, 2 pm 
Join us for two special afternoons of poetry on the occasion of athut / Words Bounce, 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.

These readings will be held in the gallery within Patrick Cruz's installation Step Mother Tongue. Cruz's dynamic installation utilizes painted glyphs and symbols inspired by graffiti, cave drawings, alchemical symbols, and written languages, including the pre-contact Tagalog syllabary Baybayin to engage with cultural and linguistic hybridities.

Whess Harman is mixed race, trans/non-binary queer/2SQ artist from the Carrier Wit'at Nation and a graduate of the Emily Carr University's Bachelor of Fine Arts program. They are currently living and working on the territories of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh nations in the Skwachays Lodge Artist Residency Program.

Selina Boan is a poet currently living on unceded Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh land. In 2017, she won the National Magazine Award for Poetry and recently won Room's 2018 Poetry Contest. Her work has been published widely and was included in the 2018 Best Canadian Poetry Anthology. She is currently at work on a collection of poems exploring her Cree and European heritage.

Christian Vistan is an artist currently based in Nanaimo, on traditional Snuneymuxw territory. His work has been shown nationally in Vancouver, Salt Spring Island, and Winnipeg, as well as internationally in the US, and Philippines. He is currently the Curatorial Intern at Nanaimo Art Gallery.

Emma Metcalfe Hurst hails from Vancouver on Coast Salish land where she writes, makes, organizes, listens, and records. She holds a BFA from Emily Carr University of Art & Design and is currently the Project Coordinator for Recollective: Vancouver Independent Archives Week. From 2016-2017, she held the position of Curatorial Intern at Nanaimo Art Gallery.

Sonnet L'Abbé is a poet living in Nanaimo, where is a professor at Vancouver Island University. She is author of three books of poetry, A Strange Relief, Killarnoe, and Sonnet's Shakespeare (forthcoming, 2019). She was the editor of Best Canadian Poetry 2014, and her chapbook, Anima Canadensis, won the 2017 bp Nichol Chapbook Award.

Fred Wah is a writer and poet living in Vancouver. He has published numerous collections of poetry, fiction, and criticism, most recently Scree: The Collected Earlier Poems, 1962-1991. He has been editorially involved with a number of literary magazines over the years, such as Open Letter and West Coast Line. In 2011, he served as Canada's 5th Parliamentary Poet Laureate, and in 2013, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada.

SPIT is a collaborative project that engages with text, writing, and publishing through writing workshops, site specific events, new collaborations, performances, podcasting, readings and publishing experiments. SPIT is organized together by Emma Metcalfe Hurst and Christian Vistan.



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