Walter Phillips Gallery to Host Exhibition on Nationhood and Identity

by NationTalk on February 12, 20081039 Views

For immediate release
February 11, 2008

High resolution images available

ANTHEM: Perspectives on Home and Native Land
February 16 to May 11, 2008
Curated by Ryan Rice

Artists: KC Adams, FASTWÜRMS, Cynthia Girard, Dana Inkster, Alisdair MacRae, Shirley Moorhouse, Eric Robertson, Miles Turner

Opening reception and catalogue launch: Saturday, February 16 · 7 to 9 p.m.
Walter Phillips Gallery, The Banff Centre · Information: 403.762.6281
Organized and circulated by Carleton University Art GalleryIn a multicultural country like Canada, notions of national identity are at best fragmented. Differing measures of “belonging” and shared history confront everyone, from descendants of the continent’s first peoples to the most recent immigrants. On February 16, the Walter Phillips Gallery opens ANTHEM: Perspectives on Home and Native Land, an exhibition of work by Canadian artists in response to questions about national identity and nationhood.

Curated by Ryan Rice, the show brings together the work of contemporary artists from different backgrounds, all investigating the symbolism and accepted shared heritage of Canadian identity. Rice began his project with the common denominator of the national anthem, as a symbol of civil liberties, and the varied experiences of Canadians of European descent, Aboriginals, and recent multicultural immigrants within the same “home and native land.”

“The dynamic range of art works exhibited gives evidence of the artists’ varied contributions to a more inclusive national narrative,” Rice writes. “Their creative efforts expose and accept the diverse forms of nationalism that exist across the country, and question a generic and exclusive definition of Canadian identity.”

Winnipeg-based artist KC Adams’s popular photo series Cyborg Hybrids subverts Aboriginal stereotypes. The artist collective FASTWÜRMS’ piece FLAG reworks the recognizable Canadian flag, altering it to recognize the freedom of “others” who live under it. Montreal-based painter Cynthia Girard’s work digs into the collective national identity of the settlers of early New France, while Dana Inkster, originally from Ottawa and now living and working in Lethbridge, has created a series of videos that explore the complexities of adoption and multiculturalism.

In his installation work The African American Spiritual, Alisdair MacRae is inspired by the liberating power of music. Emerging filmmaker and music producer Miles Turner, from Ontario’s Six Nations, has created work about territorial issues confronting Aboriginal people both on and off the reserve. Newfoundland-based Inuk textile artist Shirley Moorhouse has created work that is inspired by Inuit traditions and the collective memory of living off the land, and West Coast artist Eric Robertson’s multi-part sculpture addresses socio-political issues of diversion and defiance.

“Ultimately, ANTHEM is about community, broadening notions of community, and tolerating community’s expansion and contraction by locating and negotiating our relationship to space (native land), place (home), and respecting self,” Rice states.

Free public events that will accompany ANTHEM in Banff include a panel discussion with curator Ryan Rice, writer and historian Marcia Crosby, and artist Dana Inkster, moderated by artist Edward Poitras, on the afternoon of Februrary 16 prior to the opening reception. On February 19, Inkster will screen her latest video project, 24 Days in Brooks, about the lives of African immigrants living and working in the meat-packing town of Brooks, Alberta.

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More information about the Walter Phillips Gallery.


Media Contact
Jill Sawyer
Media and Communications Officer, The Banff Centre

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