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Unceded Territories is a major and timely review of the work of Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, spanning thirty years of his painterly and polemical practice. It places the artist’s concerns in dialogue with this moment in our shared histories. An artist of Cowichan and Okanagan descent, Yuxweluptun lives and works on unceded Coast Salish territories in Vancouver, British Columbia. He calls himself a history painter, a monumentalist, a modernist. Impassioned in his commitment to advance First Nations rights to the land and effect change, Yuxweluptun fuses art with political action he paints freedom and equality”.
This retrospective includes brilliant commentary from Michael Turner, Lucy Lippard, Marcia Crosby, Glenn Alteen, a short-story by Jimmie Durham. In an extensive dialogue, curators Karen Duffek and Tania Willard discuss the meaning of Yuxweluptun’s practice and place it in the context of the First Nations struggle for autonomy, justice, and environmental preservation. In a searing and powerful artist’s statement, Yuxweluptun himself explains the essence of his painting and the forces that drive his artistic and political life.
Published to accompany the exhibition at the University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology this volume includes 65 of Yuxweluptun’s paintings from the last three decades and will be a lasting document of his art and activism.
Karen Duffek is the Curator of Contemporary Visual Arts & Pacific Northwest at the University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology (MOA). Her research focuses on MOA’s Northwest Coast Aboriginal collections and the relationship of twentieth-century and contemporary art to cultural practice. Among her exhibitions are Projections: The Paintings of Henry Speck, Udzi'stalis (co-curated with Marcia Crosby, 2012), Peter Morin’s Museum (with Peter Morin, 2011), Border Zones: New Art Across Cultures (2010), Robert Davidson: The Abstract Edge (20042007), and Beyond History (with Tom Hill, 1989). Duffek’s books include Bill Reid and Beyond: Expanding on Modern Native Art (co-edited with Charlotte Townsend-Gault, 2004) and The Transforming Image: Painted Arts of Northwest Coast First Nations (co-authored with Bill McLennan, 2000).
Tania Willard, of the Secwepemc Nation, is an artist and independent curator. She has served as curator-in-residence at the grunt gallery (2008) and the Kamloops Art Gallery (20142015), and as artist-in-residence with Gallery Gachet in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. Willard co-curated Beat Nation: Art, Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture with Kathleen Ritter for the Vancouver Art Gallery (2012), an exhibition that toured throughout Turtle Island (Canada). Willard’s creative work is concerned with intersections between Aboriginal and other cultures. Her most recent public art commission, Rule of the Trees, will be installed in 2016 at the Commercial and Broadway SkyTrain station in Vancouver. Currently working through the conceptual space of BUSH Gallery, she is curating land-based works in her home territory of Secwepemculecw.
Glenn Alteen is a Vancouver-based curator and writer, as well as co-founder and Program Director of the grunt gallery. He has worked extensively with performance art and was co-founder of the LIVE Performance Biennale, and his writings on performance have appeared in numerous books and magazines. Alteen has also curated various community-based projects and has taken part in organizing conferences including INDIANacts: Aboriginal Performance Art (2002) and Live in Public: The Act of Engagement (2007). He is also producer/curator of Al Neil in the UBC grunt Project Ruins in Process: Vancouver Art in the Sixties (alneil.vancouverartinthesixties.com) and co-curator of Ghostkeeper, focused on the performance and media work of Ahasiw Maskegon-Iskwew (ghostkeeper.gruntarchives.org).
Marcia Crosby is a writer who taught literature and Native studies at Vancouver Island University for sixteen years. She currently works as an independent researcher, writer, and curator, and is completing her Ph.D. in art history and cultural studies and theory (University of British Columbia). One of Canada’s foremost art historians, she has written on the work of Bill Reid, Emily Carr, and Rebecca Belmore, including the influential essay Construction of the Imaginary Indian” (1991). Crosby’s recent works extend her curatorial research and writing for her exhibition Nations in Urban Landscapes (1994) toward earlier forms of Indigenous cultural production in public spaces. Her focus on often-ignored Indigenous public cultural practices was also the subject of her virtual exhibit Making Indian Art Modern’” in Ruins in Process: Vancouver Art in the Sixties (2008), as well as the exhibition Projections: The Paintings of Henry Speck, Udzi'stalis (co-curated with Karen Duffek, 2012).
Lucy R. Lippard is a writer, activist, and sometime curator. Since 1966, she has published twenty-four books on contemporary art and cultural studies, most recently Undermining: A Wild Ride through Land Use, Politics, and Art in the Changing West. Lippard has co-founded various artists’ groups and curated more than fifty exhibitions. Contemporary Native art has been a focus for the last thirty years. She lives in Galisteo, New Mexico.
Michael Turner is a Vancouver-based writer of fiction, criticism, and song. His fictions include Hard Core Logo, The Pornographer’s Poem, and 8x10; his essays have appeared in the anthologies Ruins in Process: Vancouver Art in the Sixties, Vancouver Art & Economies, and Intertidal: Vancouver Art and Artists. A frequent collaborator, he has written scripts with Stan Douglas, poems with Geoffrey Farmer, and songs with Kinnie Starr. He blogs at this address: mtwebsit.blogspot.com.