Saturday, May 6, 2017

Art appropriation?

"Toronto gallery cancels show after concerns artist 'bastardizes' Indigenous art"
Outrage over a Toronto artist borrowing from the style of an acclaimed Indigenous painter has prompted a gallery to cancel its plans for an upcoming exhibit.

Visions Gallery had planned to showcase the work of Amanda PL, 29, a local non-Indigenous artist who says she was inspired by the Woodlands style made famous in the '60s by the Anishinabe artist Norval Morrisseau, who focussed on nature, animals, Indigenous spirituality and medicine.

But within hours of the gallery's email announcement promoting the exhibit, there was a backlash, with people alleging that PL had appropriated Indigenous culture and art.

Chippewa artist Jay Soule was among those leading the charge. He argues PL blatantly copied Morrisseau with virtually no regard for the storytelling behind his work.

"What she's doing is essentially cultural genocide, because she's taking his stories and retelling them, which bastardizes it down the road. Other people will see her work and they'll lose the connection between the real stories that are attached to it," said Soule.

PL said she first became inspired by the Woodlands style when she was living in Thunder Bay, Ont., studying to become a visual arts teacher and taking Native studies.

"I just tried to learn all I could about the Aboriginal culture, their teachings, their stories, and I've tried to capture the beauty of the art style and make it my own by drawing upon elements of nature within Canada that have meaning to me," she told CBC Toronto in an interview Friday.

She was surprised by the reaction when her exhibit was announced, especially online.

"A lot of the Aboriginal people had issues with me not being native.… I feel like they think that I'm taking away from the culture, but really I'm not," PL said.

"I think it's a shame to say that an artist can't create something because they're not from that race," she said.

"That's like saying any other culture can't touch something like abstract art unless you're white, or you can't touch cubism art."
Link to more - h/t Twitter


cliff claven said...

Were you aware that art is also a man's name?

edutcher said...

Tonto never minded, but Toronto does.