Beat Nation: Hip Hop, Art and Aboriginal Culture

The Vancouver Art Gallery’s landmark exhibition on Aboriginal Culture features contemporary Aboriginal artists from across the continent. (Above: Dana Claxton, Baby GirlzGottaMustang, 2008, lightjetC-print. Courtesy of the artist & Winsor Gallery.) (Home Page Header: Skeena Reece wearing her regalia as Raven on the Colonial Fleet)

– From Taste & Sip magazine’s review of the exhibit

Beat Nation presents a generation of artists who juxtapose urban youth culture with Aboriginal identity in fresh and unexpected ways. Drawing on hip hop and other forms of popular culture, artists create new cultural hybrids – in painting, sculpture, installation, performance and video – that reflect the experiences of Aboriginal people today.

-Dustinn Craig, 4wheelwarpony bro team, 2007, production still. Courtesy of the artist, from Ariane Design blog

Aboriginal hip hop draws on the heritage of these nations and over the past decade has become an important voice for urban aboriginal youth.

Vancouver Art Gallery: BeatNation4 -Shawn Hunt, Master of Ceremony, 2011, acrylic on panel.

United by a passion to express their contemporary reality, the artists come from Aleut, Apache, Cree, Haida, Inuit, Lakota, Mi’kmaq, Mohawk, Navajo, Tsimshian, and many other communities. While this exhibition takes its starting point from hip hop, it branches out to include artists who use pop culture, graffiti, fashion and other aspects of urban life in combination with more traditional forms of Aboriginal expression -Exhibit Notes, Vancouver Art Gallery.

-From RPM, show line-up

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