indigenous art

Anishinaabe artist’s works are searing


This is Fringe, one of the most powerful images created by Rebecca Belmore, an Anishinaabe multimedia artist named as a winner of this year’s Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts (2013 Awards). Belmore’s use of sculpture, performance, photography and video to explore the treatment of Canada’s First Nations people has made her one of the country’s foremost contemporary artists.

Whether a vigil for missing women in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside or a photograph of a deep scar, healed and adorned with beads, her work is imbued with ritual that plays out on the body, on the land and in the elements. -Awards commentary


This video still is from The Named and the Unnamed (Vigil), performed on a downtown Vancouver street corner in the district where at least 60 women went missing, many of them victims of convicted serial killer Robert Pickton.  A commission of inquiry slammed police for botching investigations into the disappearances, enabling Pickton to prey undetected for years on women who were mostly sex trade workers or homeless.

belmore-victoriousAbove: Victorious.  The seated woman in a dress made of newspapers and honey exemplifies the power of Queen Victoria and the role of the printed word as a vehicle for domination and control.


Belmore’s work is well known internationally, notably from the Venice Biennale’s Canadian Pavilion where she was the first Aboriginal woman to represent Canada.  This four-minute video on Belmore was issued by the Canada Council, which administers the awards.

17 replies »

  1. Thought provoking, to say the least. The first photo is hard to stomach, but I suppose that is the point.


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