Truth to Material

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Truth to Material


September 20 to November 10, 2019
Join us for the opening reception on Thursday, September 19, 7 pm
Krista Belle Stewart is an artist and a member of the Upper Nicola Band of the Syilx/Okanagan Nation, currently based in Berlin. Her work with video, land, performance, photography, textiles, and sound unfolds over long periods of time, drawing out personal and political narratives.

In 2006, she traveled to the Karl May Museum in Radebeul, Germany, where she met with 'The Band of Broken Arrows' one of many groups of German citizens who call themselves 'Indianer' inspired by the fictional novels of author Karl May. Indianer dress up in costume and perform what they imagine to be a North American Indigenous lifestyle. Stewart documented her experience during this trip, but waited to further develop the project.

It has now been thirteen years since Stewart's initial meeting with this community. After returning to Germany as an artist-in-residence at the K├╝nstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin, she reconnected with the group of Indianer she met during her first visit. The number of people in the community has significantly dropped, almost by half. However, the culture of appropriation continues on. This summer, she was invited to participate in a large gathering of nearly 1000 Indianer from all over Europe. Enacting a kind of inverted anthropology, Stewart developed a new body of work revolving around these encounters for her solo exhibition at Nanaimo Art Gallery. While Indianer communities may seem at a distance, this exhibition can also be a point of reflection on the legacies of cultural inequality in British Columbia.

Considering what happens when cultural appropriation becomes tradition, Krista Belle Stewart's project is the third exhibition in a year in which Nanaimo Art Gallery asks the question: what are generations?

The exhibition is accompanied by an essay by Berlin based Canadian writer Mitch Speed.

Image courtesy of Krista Belle Stewart

September   October   November 2019 Mailer - Google Docs

Seraphine, Seraphine Screening and Artist Talk

Saturday, September 21, 2 pm
Vancouver Island Conference Centre, 101 Gordon St., Nanaimo, Dodd Narrows Room A
Free | Everyone welcome
Register required, online or call 250.754.1750

Join artist Krista Belle Stewart for a screening of her video work Seraphine, Seraphine (2014), in which Stewart interweaves a 1967 CBC docu-drama about the first Aboriginal public health nurse in B.C. with excerpts from a personal testimony from the 2013 Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Both parts of this video feature the same person: the artist's mother, Seraphine Stewart. Contrasting the narrative constructed by our national broadcaster nearly 50 years ago with Seraphine's recent testimony as a residential school survivor, Krista Belle Stewart activates the dual role of the artist as both voice and witness. After the screening, Stewart will discuss Seraphine, Seraphine, and other projects.

Image: Krista Belle Stewart, Seraphine, Seraphine, Two-channel video installation, 2014


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