Visual Art Exhibit “I do not have my words” Open to Public/Free
September 18 @ 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Curated and organized by the Moose Jaw Museum & Art Gallery with funding assistance from the City of Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan Arts Board, SaskCulture, Saskatchewan Lotteries, and the Canada Council for the Arts. The exhibition “I do not have my words” features printmaking, photography, sculpture and beaded, mixed media works by Indigenous, Saskatchewan artists, Joi Arcand, Catherine Blackburn and Audrey Dreaver. Each artist’s body of works explore language loss and considers how language is connected to one’s cultural identity.
Joi Arcand explores the interruption of intergenerational language-learning, as a result of the residential school system and other colonial attempts to remove Indigenous culture, through the revitalization of the Cree language. Emphasizing the discontinuation of the language within Arcand’s own family by rendering it hyper-visible in location and material, the work further questions how the public presence of language is connected to acknowledging Indigenous peoples. Catherine Blackburn’s art practice is informed by her Dene and European ancestry, considering Canada’s colonial past through her personal relationships and life experiences. The pieces in, I do not have my words, use media, traditional materials, like beading, and artistic processes that connect to the various themes and histories Blackburn explores in the work, including the Dene language. Audrey Dreaver’s prints document her research into her family’s history of Cree language loss and consider how this loss has impacted her cultural identity as a Cree woman. In this exploration, Dreaver poses questions: How did my family come to lose our language? Is your language who you are? Does my inability to speak my language mean that I am less Cree? The artist invites viewers to engage in her exploration and consider if language loss affects identity by breaking continuity with one’s past and culture.