Artists: Lori Blondeau & Adrian Stimson
Part of the Complex Social Change Series
January 17 – 12 pm
Art Now Speaker Series – Recital Hall (W570)
January 17 – 2 – 4 pm
Informal Discussion – Room W857
Canadian Idol No More
Racism is embedded in our language and assumptions, part of what we are taught in school, at home, and on the job, and integral to pop culture and advertising. It is pervasive and yet, when confronted with this reality, white people become uncomfortable and defensive. For example, there was a collective gasp when I told my Introduction to Museum Studies class that performance artists Lori Blondeau and Adrian Stimson would be holding a competition in the University of Lethbridge Art Gallery to find Canada’s most racist person.
Museums in Canada have undergone a shift in the last 20 years in terms of how Aboriginal objects are included and presented and in terms of who gets to have a voice in contextualising them. As well, there has been a surge in the representation of a diverse range of Aboriginal artists from coast to coast to coast. However, racism persists and so do the difficulties in addressing the issues involved. Rather than delicately sidling up on tippy-toes, Blondeau and Stimson will address racism head on and clearly state what nice, polite Canadians don’t like to admit: there are plenty of contenders for Canada’s most racist person or institution. This won’t change unless individuals who oppose racism are willing to take action and speak up in a way that engages people and encourages them to participate. Lecturing or confronting people is not an effective method of persuasion, making them shy away from this contentious subject. Instead, Blondeau and Stimson, known for combining humour and playful theatrics with serious subject matter, draw on the glitz and fun of a pop singing competition combined with the gravitas of a court of law to invite people in Lethbridge to participate in the selection of Canada’s top racist as part of the Canadian Idol No More event.
Director/Curator, U of L Art Gallery
The performance is for one night only, Thursday January 16, 2014 at 7 pm in the Main Gallery (W600). Admission is free and all are welcome.
Friday January 17, 2014, Blondeau and Stimson will give a public lecture at noon in the recital hall (level 5, Centre for the Arts) and lead an informal discussion at 2 pm in the Art Ed studio (W857 – level 8 of the Centre for the Arts). Both events are open to all and admission is free.
Canadian Idol No More is part of Complex Social Change: teaching, performing, exhibiting, designing, mapping – an interdisciplinary research program and collaborative partnership involving Bruce MacKay, Louise Barrett, Lisa Doolittle, Emily Luce, Tiffany Muller Myrdahl and Josephine Mills.
About the Artists:
Adrian A. Stimson
Adrian Stimson is a member of the Siksika (Blackfoot) Nation in southern Alberta. He is an interdisciplinary artist, curator and educator with a BFA with distinction from the Alberta College of Art & Design and MFA from the University of Saskatchewan.
As an interdisciplinary artist, Adrian’s work includes paintings, installations, collodion wet plate photography, sculpture and performance. Recent exhibits and performances include, Witnesses at the Belkin Gallery, UBC, Vancouver, Reconsidering Reconciliation, TRU, Kamloops, The Shaman Exterminator, On the Trail of the Woodcraft Indians with the Buffalo Boy Scouts of America, Paved Arts, Saskatoon, Making Treaty 7, Calgary, “Suffer little children…”, ARNICA, Kamloops, Buffalo Boy’s Coal jubilee, House of the Wayward Spirits- ANDPVA, Toronto, White Shame Re-Worked, Grunt Gallery, Vancouver, Holding Our Breath (Canadian Forces Artist Program-Afghanistan tour), Grunt Gallery, Vancouver and Neutral Ground, Regina, Beyond Redemption at the Mendel Art Gallery, Saskatoon, Photo Quai, Musee du quai branly and Unmasking at the Canadian Cultural Centre in Paris, France, “The Life and Times of Buffalo Boy”, The Works, Edmonton, Pink Panther, Open Space, Ft. Simpson, Kentucky Fried Chicken Dance, Two Story Café, Prince Albert, Brave Seduction, Gallery 101, Ottawa and “Buffalo Boy’s You can roller skate in a Buffalo herd”, Harbourfront, Toronto. He is a regular participant at Burning Man and was featured in the 2007 summer issue of Canadian Art: Buffalo Boy at Burning Man and Spring issue of FUSE magazine: Buffalo Boy Then and Now 2009.
Adrian was awarded the Blackfoot Visual Arts Award in 2009, the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2003 and the Alberta Centennial Medal in 2005 for his human rights and diversity activism in various communities. He is represented by the Darrell Bell Gallery in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, where he currently resides.
Lori Blondeau (b. 1964) is a Cree/Saulteaux/Metis artist based in Saskatoon. She holds an MFA from the University of Saskatchewan, and has sat on the Advisory Panel for Visual Arts for the Canada Council for the Arts. She is also a co-founder and the current director of TRIBE, a Canadian aboriginal arts organization. Blondeau’s work, including her stage personas such as the now-famous Belle Sauvage, confronts and co-opts conventional stereotypes of First Nations women.
My work explores the influence of popular media and culture (contemporary and historical) on Aboriginal self-identity, self-image, and self-definition. I am currently exploring the impact of colonization on traditional and contemporary roles and lifestyles of Aboriginal women. I deconstruct the images of the Indian Princess and the squaw and reconstruct an image of absurdity and insert these hybrids into the mainstream. The performance personas I have created refer to the damage of colonialism and to the ironic pleasures of displacement and resistance.