Rande Cook "Beethoven" 2011
Rande Cook "Beethoven" 2011 Alder mask with copper inlay, horse hair and feathers on red cedar panel, 24" x 18"
Ebb & Flow: Sonny Assu + Rande Cook
May 18—September 1, 2012
Join us for a community event to celebrate Ebb and Flow:
Friday, June 1
4:30 pm: talk by artist Rande Cook
Nanaimo Art Gallery, VIU Campus, …
6 pm: First Nations Feast and Celebration
Shq’apthut: Gathering Place
All are welcome. Admission is free.
Presented in partnership with Vancouver Island University’s Shq’apthut: Gathering Place and VIU Office of Aboriginal Education.
Ebb & Flow celebrates the distinctive voices of contemporary Aboriginal artists Sonny Assu and Rande Cook.
Trained in both traditional and contemporary practices, Assu and Cook push boundaries to redefine what society understands and expects of First Nations art and culture. Their work preserves elements of their cultural heritage, and explores new concepts, media and methodologies.
Themes of death and rebirth, displacement and belonging, loss and reclamation, colonialism and self determination, the sacred and the profane, traditional rites and practices, and contemporary popular culture, characterize the powerful works in Ebb & Flow.
Assu merges Northwest Coast Aboriginal iconography with the aesthetics of popular culture through painting, photography, and the found object. In his series of paintings called Chilkat, Assu explores how we dictate our social status, combining references to social media and the traditional Chilkat blanket.
Assu`s photographic series, Artifacts of Authenticity, made in collaboration with artist Eric Deis, documents interventions in a museum collection, a commercial gallery, and a tourist shop. Cuts of cedar found by the artist, become faceless `masks` and take on new meanings as they are inserted into different contexts.
Rande Cook`s photographs, sculpture and mixed media work references the ancient ones, potlatch, plague, reincarnation, substance abuse, residential schools and the Indian Act. Through his work, Cook addresses the need for renewal and reclamation, the growing strength of aboriginal culture, and the importance of sacred traditions, rituals, language, and stories.
Cook`s sculptural work, Totems to High Rises, carved from red cedar, interrogates the nature of wealth in contemporary society. In a series of four photos called `Thank you God,` the artist is pictured wearing a carved wood mask in different locations, including at the Vatican and in Times Square, New York.
Ebb & Flow underscores Nanaimo Art Gallery’s commitment to showcase the diversity of Canadian culture. Developing a meaningful relationship with Aboriginal communities in our region, and providing a venue for First Nations art and visual culture are important elements of the Gallery’s mandate.
Montreal based artist Sonny Assu (Liǥwildaʼx̱w of the We Wai Kai (Cape Mudge) Nation) received his BFA from Emily Carr University in 2002, and has been featured in solo and group exhibitions across Canada and the United States. His work resides in private and public collections including The National Gallery of Canada, UBC Museum of Anthropology, and The Seattle Art Museum.
Victoria based Kwakwaka’wakw artist Rande Cook (Galapa), was born in Alert Bay on Vancouver Island. His cultural heritage lies in the Namgis, Maamtagila, and Mamalilikala tribes. Strongly influenced as a child by his grandfather, Gus Matilpi, Cook has since worked with mentors such as John Livingston for his mastery in wood sculpting, Robert Davidson in metal work, Calvin Hunt for his craftsmanship in wood and most recently with master Valentin Yotkov for his expertise in repousee and chasing.
For more information contact Nanaimo Art Gallery at 250.740.6350 or info @nanaimogallery.ca