Introducing the Wood Land School

Wood Land School:
Kahatènhston tsi na’tetiátere ne Iotohrkó: wa tánon Iotohrha, Drawing a Line from January to December
SBC Gallery

SBC Gallery of Contemporary Art announced last month that it will be renamed and operating as the Wood Land School in 2017, unfolding a single exhibition over the course of the year. Wood Land School: Drawing a Line from January to December considers linearity in understanding the history and memory of Indigenous people, identities and ideas.

Beginning in 2011 with the acclaimed Omaskêko Cree artist Duane Linklater, Wood Land School exists without fixed location or form. Indigenous artworks and realities inhabit Indigenous-directed conceptual and physical space. This is a space where complex Indigenous stories to take full precedence, and where non-Indigenous visitors are invited to engage in the understanding of them.

The iteration occurring within the Belgo Building is organized by Duane Linklater, Tanya Lukin Linklater and cheyanne turions with Walter Scott. They write, “The scope of the contexts we operate within and in relation to include the historical, which is akin to theory, and the contemporary, which is akin to practice. Wood Land School aims to be a space for listening, where we can tend to the urgency of current conditions as they unfold–both systemic and material–with an eye to how (and how else) these circumstances can shape our everyday lives.”

The current ‘gesture’ (defined by Wood Land School as “clusters of activity that bring works into and out of the gallery space”) features Alanis Obomsawin’s 1971 video Christmas at Moose Factory. Obomsawin pans over children’s crayon drawings of their lives in winter with narration by a young girl from the community on the shore of James Bay. The texture of crayon, lines for limbs and facial features askew are familiar to anyone, but the stories of seeing a black bear in the backyard may not be. It is tender to watch and listen; a portrait is created of a place that we see with eyes of childlike wonder. In the same way that the cinematic medium is able to move what is still, the experiences had at Moose Factory are able to be felt. Wood Land School is the forum for this embodied perception.

March will see a performance with Anje Loft and Re:Collection Kahnawake, and drawings by Napachie Pootoogook and Brian Jungen.

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