Spectacularization in Contemporary Aboriginal Art | esse arts + opinions

Spectacularization in Contemporary Aboriginal Art

82 - 2018

The large-scale spectacles that were instituted during the nineteenth century (world fairs, circuses, cinema, and so on) took the figure of the Indian as a central character. Today, a number of contemporary Aboriginal artists (Kent Monkman, Edgar Heap of Birds, Robert Houle, Nigit’Stil, David Garneau, and Terrance Houle) are trying to expose what was behind the scenes: these shows took place at the very moment when extremely repressive assimilation policies were being instituted. Thus, what was being put on display far and wide was precisely what every attempt was being made to wipe out.

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