Vernon Ah Kee, "cantchant," 2009
3 channel digital video installation, 6:50 minutes, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa. Photo ©NGC
Organized by the National Gallery of Canada • Curated by Jaimie Isaac
This large video, text, portraiture, and surfboard exhibition is by Australian contemporary artist Vernon Ah Kee. Ah Kee relies on his Aboriginal identity as a framework to produce art; his Indigenous familial identities are intrinsic to his work. Presented alongside Boarder X, cantchant is significantly layered—the surfboards and video connect cultural identities to disputed territory around Australia’s beaches as it relates to ownership, conflict, and land claims.
Ah Kee’s surfboards reflect traditional shield designs in the colours of the Australian flag, and on the flip side provide beautifully drawn portraits of family. The accompanying video shows Aboriginal surfers using the artist’s surfboards in fierce competition.