'Brett Graham: Pioneer' opens at the MacKenzie on September 2, 2017

'Brett Graham: Pioneer' opens at the MacKenzie on September 2, 2017

August 23, 2017

 Maori artist Brett Graham examines Canada’s legacy of colonization with Pioneer

REGINA, SK — This fall, the MacKenzie continues its lineup of programming for Transformative Landscapes with Pioneer by New

Zealand artist Brett Graham. Pioneer considers the prairies as an ocean and the tide of settlers as a flood that overwhelmed and

devastated the Plains First Nations. A hybrid sculpture approximating a life-sized prairie grain wagon, the work was inspired by

the artist’s reading of Regina author James Daschuk’s best-selling Clearing the Plains (University of Regina Press), a book which

describes, in chilling detail, the politics of ethnocide by which the Canadian plains were cleared for settlement. The artwork gives

form to the lingering racism and misunderstanding that permeates the national consciousness to this day. Pioneer is a promised

donation by the artist to the MacKenzie’s Permanent Collection.

“Brett’s piece was done in response to James Daschuk’s Clearing the Plains, and the impact of colonization on Indigenous

populations – first through the spread of diseases, whether it was by contact or intentional, then later government policies that were

put in place to eradicate the population of their food sources,” says Michelle LaVallee, the MacKenzie Art Gallery’s Curator. “The

implications of those attitudes and policies resonate today and influence assumptions and values that are meant to positively guide

our society and the actions of those given power over others — but instead — have had devastating eff ects on Indigenous lives. In

the context of Transformative Landscapes and intercultural relations, this exhibition is happening while the country is given pause to

think about these things on the occasion of Canada 150 — as we look back at where we have come from, contemplate what Canada is

today and, most importantly, where it is going.”