Greetings from Canada (2016)
// Thursday 27 October – Saturday 12 November 2016
// Artist talk: 12pm, Saturday 29 October
I was biking back from town one day and as I slowed towards the buffalo museum an old native man was watching me. I kept pedaling and went home to drop off my groceries; however after I was done I had a sudden urge to go back to the old man.
When I walked back he saw me coming and stared, then when I stopped in front of him he asked “Are you Indian?”
I replied “no I’m Maori from New Zealand!”
His smile grew so wide that it made his eyes look really little, and after lots of banter and conversation he took me inside the museum. He played me instruments and showed me photos of himself that were in the museum cabinets, showing me how life was here in this land when he was a child. He had a chubby face as a kid.
By the time I left he asked me to visit him again and then he took me out to his car and gifted me a necklace. He said “I’ve never had a Maori granddaughter before. You can call me Mohsum it means grandfather.”
My practice often explores colonial and touristic driven constructions of indigenous communities, giving commentary around misrepresentations as I seek platforms of reimagining indigenous identity.
The works in Greetings from Canada (2016) are representative of stories and relationships that I was able to make in the Rocky Mountain town of Banff. Centered in a valley that has a sleeping buffalo rising from the middle, the narratives shared within the works give commentary on the management of Aboriginal communities, our relationship to nature and cultural appropriation.