Tania Willard, Secwepemc Nation and settler heritage, works within shifting ideas around contemporary and traditional, often with bodies of knowledge and skills that are linked to the intersections between Indigenous and other cultures. Willard’s curatorial work includes Beat Nation: Art Hip Hop and Aboriginal Culture (2012-2014), co-curated with Kathleen Ritter, Vancouver Art Gallery (touring). Current curatorial contributions include co-curating Exposure: Native Art and Political Ecology for the Museum of Contemporary Native Art, Sante Fe. In 2016, Willard received the Award for Curatorial Excellence in Contemporary Art from the Hnatyshyn Foundation, and a City of Vancouver Book Award for the exhibition catalogue Unceded Territories: Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun. Public art projects include Rule of the Trees (Vancouver), and If the Drumming Stops, with Peter Morin, on the lands of the Papaschase First Nation in Edmonton. Willard was recognized with the Shadbolt Foundation VIVA award for outstanding achievement and commitment in 2020. Her ongoing collaborative project BUSH gallery is a conceptual land-based gallery grounded in Indigenous knowledges and relational art practices. Willard is an Assistant Professor at UBCO in Syilx territories (Kelowna); her current research intersects with language learning and land-based art practices.
ALY DE LA CRUZ YIP, HO TAM, TANIA WILLARD
May 1–June 12, 2021
– May Day – Mayday – Maydaze – features three new print commissions by aly de la cruz yip, Ho Tam, and Tania Willard, organized by Artspeak and Moniker Press. With a focus on print and publishing methods designed to meet urgent needs and modes of distribution, we opted for the effectiveness of risograph printing. The risograph prints and wallpaper are displayed in the window space at Artspeak, while the gallery remains closed to the public. These prints are available for purchase via Artspeak and Moniker Press, with all proceeds going to the DTES Response Fund.
The artists included in this show are known for their consistent engagement with expanded printmaking and publishing techniques. We were drawn to the ways their artistic practices are informed by and firmly grounded in their commitment to organizing in their respective communities. aly de la cruz yip is a member of WePress collective: a group of artists and community organizers who work to promote self-expression by providing workshops on historic and contemporary methods of print and art making for the community of the Downtown Eastside. Ho Tam runs a press and bookshop/gallery, providing a space for artists and cultural producers whose practices frequently question and complicate the idea of the Nation State. Tania Willard runs the collaborative project BUSH Gallery; a conceptual, land-based gallery grounded in Indigenous knowledge and relational art practices.
aly de la cruz yip’s work combines multiple mediums, gravitating towards analogue techniques such as letterpress, blockprinting and silkscreen. de la cruz yip’s work brings together sensory imagery familiar to the neighbourhoods of Chinatown and the Downtown Eastside. Featuring ginkgo leaves, chrysanthemum buds, floating joss paper, and a reclamation of their bat relatives, find home in ritual is reminiscent of a stroll down East Pender Street in early spring.
Ho Tam’s The Greatest Stories Ever Told is an extension of an artist’s book series of the same title. So far, Tam has produced different variations of this book in 14 different languages. The collages therein utilizes images taken from banknotes. Removing these symbols of significance from their intended context as the design of national currencies, Tam brings into question ideological narratives of the Nation State. Which stories and historical figures are perpetuated, circulated and given value, and how can we reconfigure what constitutes value?
Tania Willard’s Memorandum of Understanding is a continuation of a query around land and value, from a series of work Snowbanks and other Investments(2020). Memorandum of Understanding pairs legalese with representations of land to consider the way bureaucratic processes and language assert land rights. The legalese of colonial institutions is a firm reminder of the different understandings underpinning our relationships to land.
An edition of 100, these prints are available for purchase via Artspeak and Moniker Press, with all proceeds going to the DTES Response Fund.
– Bopha Chhay and Erica Wilk
CAROLINE MONNET, DEVIN TROY STROTHER, LAWRENCE PAUL YUXWELUPTUN
February 8–March 29, 2014
Barn Swallows brings together three artists whose works combine the vocabulary of popular and traditional visual-cultures with the tropes of modernist abstraction to create unique hybrids forms. Each artist uses this strategy for a different purpose, as the basis for formalist exploration, to consider representation’s role in the political tensions of modernity, or to reflect on the power dynamics at play in the portrayal of race and gender in art history and popular culture.
Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun’s recent ovoid paintings and sculptures complement his more familiar figurative tableaux of the past thirty years. While the idealized Northwest-Coast formline shapes are freed from their traditional depictive role, the titles nonetheless root these works in the artist’s broader concern with representation, the landscape and First Nations political struggles.
By contrast, Caroline Monnet’s Anomalia collage and silkscreen series approaches abstraction by splicing together found images of urban development, resource extraction and Hollywood depictions of First Nations culture, dissolving the originals into a fragmentary field of overlapping facets. These fields are, in turn, cropped into the shapes of silhouettes of animal and human figures—each image in the series offering a different view on the collision of nature and culture in recent history.
Devin Troy Strother’s high-relief assemblages and paintings centre around caricatures of black figures in sometimes gory, sexualized scenes on top of abstract backgrounds, which poke fun at the pretensions of formalism. Sardonic titles like A Black Joan Jonas in “Nigga I’m a Coyote” highlight the entangled histories of primitivism and abstraction within avant-garde art, asking, in the process, who has the right to use certain kinds of language and certain kinds of history.
March 1, 2014
Artist and curator Tania Willard will deliver a talk in response to Artspeak’s current exhibition Barn Swallows.
Title: Aesthetics Behaving Badly
Artist: Tania Willard
Designer: Tania Willard
Font: Labour Union
Printer: The Hive Printing, Vancouver
Year Published: 2022
Intentionally undersigned and meant to look computer designed, these graphics draw on the democratization of art on the internet, but also the idea of aesthetics as Western European sanctity being continually eroded by glitch feminism and ‘amateurs’.
The landscape—crudely symbolic—appears as in a “Image not found” graphic.
The phrase “Aesthetics Behaving Badly” relates to Walter Mignolo’s “Epistemic Disobedience and the Decolonial Option: A Manifesto.” The phrase is also a nod to Jonathan A. Neufeld’s concept of “Aesthetic Disobedience,” where he discusses artistic transgression as not being dissimilar to acts of civil disobedience. Neufeld argues for the necessity to break from entrenched ideas and norms of the artworld to reorient our personal and collective commitments.
T-shirt Edition: 50
T-shirt Price: $25
Long-sleeve Edition: 50
Long-sleeve Price: $35
Artist: aly de la cruz yip, Ho Tam, Tania Willard
Publisher: Artspeak, Moniker Press
Printer: Erica Wilk, Moniker Press
Year published: 2021
Process: Risograph printed on 65# Natural Cover with medium blue, kelly green, yellow, bright red, green, purple, fluoro orange and pink rice bran inks
Dimensions: 279 x 431 mm
Weight: 4.5g each
Cost: $15 each; $40 for set of three
Proceeds to support a DTES-based charity
‘The Greatest Stories Ever Told’ is a collection of stories written in the style of poetry, a fable, or a nursery rhyme. The stories range from melodrama to political satire, and are inspired by collages made up of images found on international banknotes. This print designed for – May Day – is a selection of the images from these stories.
The images found on banknotes often depict important historical figures, symbols, landscape, architecture, fauna and flora as relating to the pride and legacy of the respective countries. By extracting these images I am interested in disrupting their original context. Placing them in the same space side by side, allows us to remove the material boundaries of the banknotes, and to examine the wider power structures around us, and to reconsider and question the ideological narratives of the Nation States.
HOTAM PRESS is a vanity press established by the artist Ho Tam. His self-important projects include three book series: THE GREATEST STORIES EVER TOLD, POSER and HOTAM. Recently, Hotam Press has ambitiously opened its physical bookshop/gallery space in Vancouver, Canada where print-based and original artwork by artists are exhibited regularly. Other collaborative projects by Hotam Press with other artists include XXXZINES and 88BOOKS.
aly dela cruz yip
a moiré pattern to make bad energy and spirits dizzy,
maybe not the time
when hybridity doesn’t feel harmonious
it’s time to go
image description: unlit abstracted joss papers (no gold) cascade and circle through the air, five cartoonish bats soar towards an unknown common centre, a few from behind and in-between ginkgo leaves in the two bottom corners. there are a few chrysanthemum buds floating amongst the leaves, all before a backdrop of a chaotic grid referencing ilokano inabel.
‘Memorandum of understanding’ extends some of the thinking around land and value from a previous series of work, Snowbanks and other Investments (2020). This work considers bureaucratic processes and language in generative ways that pair legalese with representations of land.