by Adrienne Huard and Lindsay Nixon
Staggering conversations of our near-ending futures due to global warming circulate through mass media, as hipster arts folx use buzz words such as “Anthropocene,” which emerges into the daily vernacular. However, by counteracting the colonial-centric notion of the “Anthropocene,” and placing it in apocalyptic frameworks is necessary to understanding the level of eradication that the western modern world has imposed on non-yt communities. What does it mean for NDN and Black folx, when our communities have already faced an environmental, social, political and cultural apocalypse through western colonial subjugation and warfare on our communities? Are we not already confronted with our own ongoing devastation? By creating, thinking and engaging together, NDN and Black folx look to our futures to uplift each other in solidarity. Creation is a survival mechanism. And though the concept of linear time is a western construct, clinging to the fantasies of a flourishing future is what keeps us going. We create in order to celebrate ourselves in a future imaginary.
ReCollection Kahnawake (with Jonas Gilbert), collaborates with youth from First Nations reserve of the Mohawks of Kahnawá:ke, photographing fashion that represents Haudenosaunee futurisms. Vibrant motifs, elaborate braided hairstyles, intricate jewellery and painted line work decorate faces and bodies, illustrating Indigenous excellence through intergenerational designs and prevailing taste. Their eyes often meet viewers, establishing self-determination as sovereign peoples on unceded Kanien’kahá:ka territory. The photographs mirror fashion spreads you might find in Vogue, however, they refuse the culturally appropriative and exoticized western lens. Rather, ReCollection Kahnawake and Gilbert embed Indigenous representation and manifest an empowered Indigenous youth, steeped in tradition while looking to the future ancestors.
Co-authors, Stacy Lee and Dayna Danger embody sovereign narratives in their photograph series, painting the frame with their naked bodies using time, light and movement – fusing wisps of colour that merge their skin tones into varying shades. Inspired by Colour Field Painting, they invoke emotion through colour and abstraction; the artists reclaim the Modernist movement by physically inserting Black and NDN bodies into the frame. Their thoughtfulness and reciprocity of their collaboration appears in the artworks, as their movements intuitively flow and engage with each other, creating a moment that subverts yt readings of underrepresented bodies. Instead, they reclaim a shared narrative that photography has historically portrayed NDN and Black folx – as subjects in a fleeting past, consumed and fetishized. And together, they gain agency through their entrusting relationship while subverting the colonized gaze.
For its first mentorship project, curatorial collective gijiit facilitated a conversation between creative kinships in Tio’tiá:ke/Mooniyang (Montréal) by working through non-hierarchical models between collaborative partnerships. We recognize the importance of lateral learning and teaching, dissolving western art administrative frameworks in the process. This exhibition honours our varying modes of creative kinship and other survivalist tendencies.